Jewelry Making with Beads and Wire -- What a Beginner Needs to Know          Page 6

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Jewelry Making -- How to Open and Close Loops

Open Jump Ring Jewelry Making FindingFrequently when jewelry making, you will find that you need to connect two jewelry components.  One easy way to connect jewelry wire components is via an open jump ring.  A jump ring is a circle of wire.  You can an enlarged view of one jump ring at right.  The jump ring shown here is an "open" jump ring because it has an opening that will allow us to connect wire components to this jump ring.  The process for connecting items to a jump ring requires us to open the jump ring, make the connection and then close the jump ring.  Opening a jump ring must be performed in a way that will preserve the shape of the jump ring so that it can be closed and will have essentially the same shape.  In the following paragraphs we describe how to open and close a jump ring. 

Opening a jump ring can be performed with one pair of chain nose pliers and some strong fingernails, or it can be performed with two pair of chain nose pliers.  In the pictures below we will show how to connect a wire component to a jump ring with two pair of chain nose pliers.  The first step in connecting a wire component to a jump ring is to grip the jump ring with both pair of pliers.  Grip the jump ring with the pliers on either side of the opening of the jump ring.  See below-left.  To open the ring, twist one pair of the pliers up and the second pair of pliers down.  See below, center-left.  With the jump ring opened, connect your wire component as shown below, center-right.  Once the connection is made then re-grip the jump ring as shown below-right. 

Grip Twist to Open Connect Re-Grip

Close the jump ring by twisting the pliers in the opposite direction that you used to open the jump ring.  To make the closed jump ring as perfect as possible, grip the jump ring in the jaws of your bent closing pliers.  Position the opening in the jump rings against one jaw of the pliers as shown below-center, then squeeze gently to ensure that the jump ring is closed properly.  Many people like to squeeze the jump ring enough so that it is slightly oblong and no longer perfectly round.  An oblong jump ring, with the opening of the jump ring on the short axis of the oval shape will naturally cause the jump ring to orientate itself so that the connected wire components will align themselves on the long axis and will therefore not pull against the opening of the jump ring.  You can view an oblong jump ring below-right. 

Twist to Close Squeeze to Finish Connected Components

Closing a loop with Bent Closing Pliers Jewelry Making TechniqueThe tool that was used above to help in closing the jump ring is called bent closing pliers.  These pliers have grooves or notches carved in the jaws of the pliers to help hold the wire firmly without allowing it to slip.  You can view our recommended bent closing pliers here (Item 4005).  Bent closing pliers are not a mandatory tool, but you will find that almost every professional jewelry maker will have at least one pair.  Please select here to view our free instructions on how to use bent closing pliers to close gaps in loops.  Figure 8 Connector Jewelry Wire Finding

Please note that this same approach will apply to any open loop, whether it is on a jump ring, or the beginning or ending loop in a wire component made on one of our WigJig tools, or to a loop in a figure 8 connector or alternate figure 8 connector.  For beginners who may not be familiar with a figure 8 connector, you can view one at right.

Finally, you can view our free instructions for making an open jump ring here.  You can view our instructions for making a figure 8 connector starting here.  

Our free jewelry making instructions continue on the next web page with a discussion of how to make a bead dangle. 

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This WigJig jewelry making project is provided as part of WigJig University - College of Jewelry Designs.  We try to provide interesting jewelry projects using beads, jewelry wire and other jewelry supplies.  We hope that these pictures will provide you enough information for you to learn these jewelry making skills.  We have tried in these pages to discuss the skills necessary for making jewelry in the detail that beginners need. We also suggest that beginners to making jewelry might need to visit the WigJig University College of Jewelry Techniques for additional information about some of the skills and techniques shown. 

 Most, but not all of the jewelry supplies shown here can be purchased in our WigJig store.  We try to have a complete selection of jewelry supplies in our store including chain, wire, glass beads, findings, watches, tools, etc.