Wire Jewelry: What Supplies Do I Need?

Besides wire, all you need is jewelry pliers and findings. You may also want a jig, anvil, and small hammer for hammered wire. A wire jig can be helpful in shaping certain pieces.


Wire Thin strands of metal wire provide a stringing material that is both strong and stiff enough to add structure to a beaded project. Wire is sold in different sizes which are called gauges, with smaller numbers being thicker.
Memory Wire
Memory Wire Memory wire holds its circular shape. Cut a length of it, string on some beads, and bend the ends in a loop. It should stay on your neck or wrist without a clasp. Comes in sizes to fit your neck, wrist, or even finger.
Chain A strand of metal links. Chain comes in a huge variety of styles and metals, can can be used as either a component or entirety of a jewelry design.


Make sure you buy pliers from a beading store or mail order beading source, as the ones sold in hardware stores are not fine enough for jewelry making.

Round Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers Pliers with round ends that are good for making loops. Along with chain nose pliers and wire cutters, these make up your basic wirework toolkit.
Chain Nose Pliers
Chain Nose Pliers Chain-nows pliers are rounded on the outside but have flat inside edges. They are good for gripping wire or a jump ring, as opposed to round-nose pliers, which are better for making loops.
Needle Nose Pliers
Needle Nose Pliers Also known as long nose or pinched nose pliers because of their appearance, they often have wire cutters built into them. They're usually made of steel and have rubber handles you can easily grip. When shopping for pliers, be sure to get jewelry pliers rather than electrical or hardware tools.
Wire Cutters
Wire Cutters A tool used to cut metal wire or beading wire. Diagonal wire cutters should cut flush. Be sure to buy yours at a craft or bead shop: hardware store cutters and pliers are usually too large and imprecise for jewelry making.

Other Tools

Jig A board with pegs in it that is useful for bending wire into specific shapes that can be replicated. They can be made out of wood, or configurable metal ones can be purchased. photo credit
Anvil Hammered wire jewelry is made with a jeweler's hammer (called a chasing hammer) and a small jeweler's anvil.
Chasing Hammer
Chasing Hammer A light hammer with a large, slightly rounded striking area. Used for hardening wire or creating a hammered wire look.


Half-drilled bead
Half-drilled bead Beads with a hole that goes only half-way through, instead of all the way through like a normal bead. There are many findings that are made to take a half-drilled beads, like ring settings and earring posts. You can also use them to finish memory wire bracelets--an end cap. They are affixed with bead glue.
Eyepins Eyepins are just like a headpins except instead of a head there is a loop. You can make these yourself out of wire - just cut a length and make a loop in one end. But if you want them super-straight you'll have to buy them.
Headpins Headpins look like small thin nails. Put a few beads on a head pin, bend a loop in the top, and you have a dangle which can be made into an earring with the simple addition of an earwire.
Jump Ring
Jump Ring Used to connect jewelry parts, like attaching a clasp to a necklace. Jump rings are a simple wire loop. To open them, push one end forward and one end back. If you enlarge the circle by prying the ends farther apart you will weaken the metal. Split rings are more secure but bulkier.
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