It Doesn’t Always Pay To Do-It-Yourself & The Quest For The Perfect Spiral

Sometimes it’s easy to know when to call in a professional. Like when the washing machine makes those really violent noises and dances all over the laundry room and then just stops doing anything.  Or when there’s a humongous wasp’s nest in one of your bushes. Nothing wrong with turning the job over to someone else.

When it comes to making jewelry, I used as many “crutches” as I could until I became proficient at something. Such as jump rings…or clasps. But now, I feel like I’m “giving in” if I don’t at least attempt to make my own findings. (Findings, for those not fluent in jewelry-ese, are the bits and pieces that help make beads and baubles into bracelets, and earrings, and more. These include clasps, jump rings, tiny spacer beads, crimp beads, toggles, ear wires and more.)

Purple Shimmer Spiral Tee Shirt Pendant

A different type of spiral is used with this pendant

But here’s the biggest dilemma of all – jewelry making is my hobby, not my job. I have limited time to “play” with all my pretty beads and shiny silver wire. Should I devote my play time to making things I can purchase from someone else – at a reasonable cost?

More and more, I think not. I just need to factor in the price for those findings in my final piece. For me, my time is better spent (i.e.: a much happier Bobbi) designing and creating finished pieces of jewelry.

Though I do make some exceptions. One being spiral clasps. I am a spiral-a-holic. Totally transfixed by winding that silver wire round and round and round to form that perfect spiral. (Which I am still working on, by the way. Perfection not yet obtained.)

And I am looking for other spiral-a-holics to join my cult.

If you’ve got the tools, give it a try. Here are the basics of making a spiral.

Tools: Round nose pliers

Tools of the Trade

Chain nose or flat nose pliers

A few inches or  round silver coated or plain copper wire (you’re just practicing….okay to use the cheap stuff)

How To:  (1) straighten the wire by running your fingers over it a few times. This also helps to work harden the wire.

(2) grasp the edge of the wire in the round nose pliers, near the very top (the skinny end), but not at the very top

(3) roll the pliers slowly down and away from you

NOTE: do not attempt to complete the circle by over rotating your wrist. Can be painful and cause problems for you later                           in life.

(4) When you’ve rotated your wrist as far as you can go comfortably, slide the pliers out and re-grasp the partial circle, and                          complete the circle so that the end of the wire just touches the long wire.

(5) remove the round nose pliers, and pick up your chain nose or flat nose pliers.

(6) hold the chain nose pliers in your dominant hand. grasp the circle firmly in its jaws. (I’d say about 1/4″ from the top of                           the jaws.

(7) take your other hand and gently push the long wire up around the circle. You should only do this for about 1/4 turn or                          less around the circle.

(8) reposition the pliers to allow you to wrap more wire for another 1/4 turn or so

Repeat, repeat, repeat until you an inch or so left.

A sweet little spiral swan

From here, you have lots of possibilities. If you form another loop – in the opposite direction of your spiralled wire – you

create a “swan”….which can become an earring or part of a clasp.

Just keep practicing. And join me in paying homage to the lovely spiral.


2 comments on “It Doesn’t Always Pay To Do-It-Yourself & The Quest For The Perfect Spiral

  1. I LOVE your blog!
    Sometimes I get a feeling of deja vu when I read your posts – either you can read my mind or you are incredibly like me! Jewelry Making is my hobby too and technical writing is my job. Recently, even I’ve been thinking of making my own findings – your spiral tutorial came at the right time! I will try my hand at them soon.
    Do keep writing- I enjoy your posts immensely 🙂

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