Tips for Making Jewelry Wire Work Links for Polymer Clay Disc Beads

Polymer Clay Disc Bead

“Would love to see the wire working how-to.” ~Joyce-M

Polymer clay disc beads are often drilled though the center. This can pose some challenges in how to string them. One way to deal with this design challenge, is to use wire to create a link.

For the disc bead shown in the photo above, I used a length of 20 gauge black steel wire obtained from the hardware store. It is the kind of wire that a guy might have in his shop for fixing the fence or cinching together a big bundle of sticks or something. You know the super handy stuff that is inexpensive and comes on a small spool at the hardware store.

A while back, I wrote an article about creative shopping at hardware stores like Home Depot. You can read it here: Cheap Jewelry Making Supplies

When making a wire wrapped link with a loop on each side (like the one in the photo above), keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use a long enough piece of wire so that you can create the loops as well the wraps, with lots of wire left over. This will make it easier to get nice tight and even wraps. Plus it will make it so that you end up with the same number of wraps on each side. The excess wire can be trimmed once you are finished wrapping.
  • Slide the bead to the center of your cut piece of wire length, and use round nose pliers to make the loops on each side before making the tight wraps. Then make a wrap or two on one side and then do the same on the other. Keep switching from side to side when wrapping. This will ensure that both sides have an even number of wraps and that the bead is centered. Then trim off the wire tails with a flush cutter as close as possible and tuck in the ends with your flat nose pliers. This is way easier than wrapping one side and then trying to match the other side. Trust me… I’ve had problems with this!

I will show you how to make a few different types of wraps in a video tutorial since so many of you expressed an interest in this topic. What are some other ways that you have come up with for stringing your polymer clay disc beads?

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Ritzs, 02 September, 2009

    I cant wait to see how you do them, I have just striped electric cable to get the copper wire so now i have a good stock

  2. aims, 02 September, 2009

    Isn’t it amazing how innovative jewelry makers are! They will use anything to create something beautiful!

    I’m interested in wirewrapping pieces – like creating a bezel or something like that.

    btw Cindy – thank you for your lovely comment over on mine. You made me feel great.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 02 September, 2009

    @Ritzs: My parents just cleaned out their shed so I’ve got a good stock of copper wire too!

    @aims: Crafty people are very innovative! I’m glad to hear you’re doing alright. You are an important part of this community! :-)

  4. Freda, 02 September, 2009

    You have a great Home Depot. Mine doesn’t have the small copper wire and I’ll bet they don’t have this black wire. They suggested I go to Joann’s.
    When you put a piece like this up, I always want to see the whole piece.

  5. Catalina, 02 September, 2009

    I’m lucky to have married an electrician! He came home one day and was telling me how he had to lift this cable that was about 10″ in diameter! He was the only one who could lift it up to a guy on a ladder up about 20 feet in the air!.

    He brought me a 4″inch piece which had a diameter of an inch and about 20 copper wires inside. I told him I wanted some more! He said only a small scrape because copper is expensive and people have been know to steal more than a scrape and have gotten into a lot of trouble. So, he got me a piece about 12″ long and I have yet to do anything with it. By the way the cable he was talking about had 10 or 12 of those 1″ inch pieces bound together in one big cable!! That one inch piece weights about 3lbs. So, can you imagine how heavy that cable was? That 12″ piece could be used to knock someone out like a club! You couldn’t even bend it.

    Now, I will strip the rubber off and get it ready for some wire jewelry!!

  6. Jocelyn, 03 September, 2009

    Agree with Aims, would love to see some instructions on how to create bezels, especially with all those faux stone lessons in our future.

  7. Joceyln, 04 September, 2009

    Cindy – Just getting ready to start the color section of your bead making course. What I would have paid to have these tutorials to have started with at the beginning!!! When I think of all the hours I wasted trying to figure out how these techniques and tools worked…. from books (ugh! always too short and not enough pictures) or from TV (too fast, too much left out), it almost makes me want to cry. LOL! — For someone just starting, wow. Talk about a jump start into being able to create beautiful objects. Going to be able to test out this with a friend of mine soon. She loved the stuff I showed her, and being another photographer, loved the idea of creating beaded slip knots to be able to adjust her camera equipment. So, for her birthday in Sept, her husband is giving her membership to your site and the bead course. Will be fabulous to watch someone artistic start from scratch with your courses, blog, and tuts and see what she does.

    The drill bit section was particularly notable. Never had thought of or seen someone turn these into tools. For me, the use of power tools will be a little risky with the hands, so this technique opens the door for safely adjusting bead holes without a hole in the hand via the Dremel. Just took a good sized chunk out of my thumb yesterday wiping a kitchen knife clean while slicing my tiny yellow plum tomatoes for drying (yum, so sweet) so caution is something I really need to apply when I start with the process again this winter. Definitely hauling out all my old bottles of red nail polish and marking the tissue blades right end up before I set to work too.

    Another tip I am going to start using religiously is tearing the clay in half, then rolling through the pasta machine. Always folded and put the folded end in first, but, thinking back, I think using that method is bad, bad, bad. Introduces way to much air into the clay, and your way is just as fast. Actually, it’s fun, LOL! I like tearing it, and looking at the inside, comparing it to the surface. — Well, time for bed. Thanks to you, the bead courses and your site, today was exhilarating. Fondly always.

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