Wire Wrapping Tools - A Beginners List to Jewelry Making

One of my current favorite “me time” hobbies is wire wrapping jewelry. It’s been a while but I’m finally starting to feel (hope!) I’m breaking through the beginner territory a little. I also notice it’s giving me a little self-confidence boost as I’m feeling really proud of what I’ve been able to create. I thought I’d begin sharing my jewelry making journey as I go. Hopefully a few interested moms will pickup the hobby and enjoy it as much as I do. To get things going I’ve created this article outlining the basic wire wrapping tools and materials you’ll need to get started in the world of jewelry making.

As mentioned, I’m still new at this so I’m still discovering new tools, wires, and materials. Fortunately I’ve got past the difficult foundation phase so hopefully my research will save you little time and get you into the wire wrapping fun sooner! In this article I’ve tried to put things in order of importance. If you’re still testing out the hobby seeing if it’s for you, I recommend getting the cheapest most basic things first and upgrading later. In my experience there is plenty of expensive tools out there but they aren’t totally necessary to get the job done. I’ve fallen into the over investing pitfall with other hobbies numerous times myself only to find I wasn’t as interested as I thought. So take your time so as to avoid more unwanted garage sale inventory 🙂

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Wire Wrapping Tools – The Essential List

Let’s start with what you absolutely can’t do without… the wire. Artistic wire is a good start and is readily available at your local craft store or Amazon. Believe it or not, it comes in lots of colors other than just the typical silver, gold, & copper. There are several brands out there but I’ve only used the Artistic wire myself. You can get sample packs with a selection of colors which is really nice if you want to experiment with a large color palette. For wrapping you’ll want to get at least one larger gauge wire which actually has a smaller number like 16 – 20 gauge. Then you’ll want some smaller gauge wire for weaving like 24 – 28 gauge. Even if you’re doing more wrapping or links you will need a little for wrapping and securing larger wires.

Artistic Wire 26 Gauge Buy-the-Dozen - Wrapping Tools

Artistic Wire 20 Gauge Buy-the-Dozen - Wrapping Tools

Pliers are indispensable. The three most important types are chain nose pliers (sometimes called tweezer nose or needle nose), round nose pliers, and flush cutters. You can get these as an inexpensive set at your local craft store or Amazon. Personally, I use the Beadalon 3-Piece Tool Kit. Also important is a set of nylon jaw pliers for straightening wire. I use the Beadalon Nylon Jaw Pliers.

Beadalon 3 Piece Tool Kit - Wire Wrapping Tools

Beadalon Nylon Jaw Pliers - Wire Wrapping Tools

Make sure to have a good ruler that shows both inches and centimeters and a Sharpie marker.

Westcott Ruler - Wire Wrapping Tools

Sharpie Marker - Wire Wrapping Tools

Find all kinds of smooth round objects to bend wire around like the sharpie, pens, pencils, plastic bottles, wood dowels, etc. You can get special mandrels for this but money could be better spent on other things. Free items laying around your house will work nicely for now.

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Wire Wrapping Tools – Essential Quicklist

  • Artistic wire: 16 – 20 gauge & 24 – 28 gauge
  • Pliers: chain nose, round nose, nylon jaw, & flush cutters
  • Ruler that shows inches & centimeters
  • Sharpie marker
  • Mandrels (or just bend your wire around a pen or other round items)

The wire wrapping tools article is continued below…
Wire Wrapping Tools - A Beginners Guide to Jewelry Making

Wire Wrapping Tools – Additional Tools & Upgrades

If you decide that you’re enjoying the hobby then here is some additional tools to add or upgrade your collection:

Artistic wire usually has an anti-tarnish coating so if you’d like to antique your jewelry piece choose raw or natural copper, brass, or silver filled dead-soft wire.  You can get this at Etsy, Rio Grande, or I get mine at Rings and Things. You can tarnish Sterling Silver dead soft wire and it is readily available (though it is rather expensive). Don’t practice with this since cheaper wires are available.

To tarnish the wire you will need:

My favorite new tool is my Xuron brand 9200 Tapered Head Micro-Shear Flush Cutter. I think these are as good as other cutters twice their price. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THESE! I also can’t wait to get the Xuron 450 Tweezer Nose Plier!!!

Beads & Cabochons for your Wire Wrapped Jewelry

You will probably want to collect beads and cabochon’s for your jewelry. Fire Mountain Gems has a good selection of mixes to start off with as well as plenty of higher quality choices that might be better then your local craft store. Etsy is another good choice. I’m sure you’ll also find plenty of items around the house that can be turned into beautiful pieces. I’ve used river rocks and polished beach glass. You can raid your kids forgotten rock, marble, or seashell collection.

This will get you started in your wire working adventure! Please feel free to share your favorite wire wrapping tools or items you’ve wire wrapped in the comments below. I could always use some fresh ideas 🙂

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