Wire Riveting Introduction | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Wire Riveting IntroVid #217: “I’d like to know if you’d do a tutorial on how to use rivets for cold connections in polymer clay.” ~Anne-R

With the trend toward mixed media jewelry being so Hot, Hot, Hot… it’s about time that I demonstrate how to add cold connection rivets to your polymer clay projects. It’s an easy and fun industrial looking technique, that can be done with any kind of wire.

Besides, several of you have been asking for this…

Will we be seeing a video on riveting soon, I hope? ~Becky-C

I also like the look of the rivets with polymer clay beads. I have looked everywhere I can think of on how to do rivets in pc, but can’t find anything. Sure would like to know how its done. ~Jay-W

Please add me to the list of those requesting a future video on riveting. ~Jocelyn-C

Thank you for your informative videos. They are so easy to follow, and you are speaking so clearly that I almost forgett it isn’t my language! I’m – like many others in this forum – looking forwards to the Fridays and I would love to learn how to riveting too. From Norway, an entusiastic supporter. ~Synnove-O

So… coming up tomorrow (Friday August 19th 2011) in the Vol-039-3 members video at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library, I’ll introduce you all to how to make your own stunning mixed media jewelry pieces using the Wire Riveting Technique.


Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.


Supplies & Tools: Video-039-3 Wire Riveting Introduction:

  • Various items to be riveted together. These items will need to have a hole either punched or drilled into them, so keep that in mind. For my demo, I used a UV Resin Coated shape cut out of the Art Sheet Technique; a handmade Niobium Earwire with a small loop in it; and a hammered copper disk. You can layer and attach anything that has a hole in it including polymer clay beads and sheets, metal, filigree, fabric, papers, wood, glass, stone, etc. etc. Let you imagination run wild with this one.
  • Heavy gauge soft metal wire. Any soft metal such as copper, silver, gold and aluminum will work. As well, you can use any gauge, although it is the heavier gauges such as 16g,14g,12g, or 10g that are easiest to work with. I use 12g copper electrical wire in the video –  the same as what we used in the Hammered Bookmark Tutorial.
  • Vise.
  • Ball Pein Hammer (the round ball side of a chasing hammer), or a Riveting Hammer.
  • Flush Cutters.
  • Regular playing cards… you’ll see in the video (optional ;-).
  • Fine-line Sharpie (optional).
  • Drill Bit… the same size as your wire’s diameter and made for the material you are drilling.
  • Metal Hole Punch (optional). I used a Euro Power Punch made by Eurotools.
  • Metal files flat and round (optional). I didn’t need these in my demo, but they come in handy should you need to file the hole in your object a little larger or to smooth any rough edges the metal may have.

The full version of the Vol-039-3 Wire Riveting video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday Aug 19, 2011. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Click Video Play Button

The full version of the “Wire Riveting Intro” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-039 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Can’t wait to see more wire work, but love everything you show us. Just wanted you to know have just had a stall at Xmas fayre and sold a few of my clay necklaces. Wow I was so excited. My daughter wore one of my lentil pendants at a body shop party and I couldn’t believe it I got over 20 orders, all thanks to your wonderful videos. So I will be happy whatever you do. Thanks Cindy I could not have done it without you. ~Josie-T

I have had a high interest in wire wrapping and wire jewelry making in general lately. I have looked at tutorials online, but they are written tutorials and I am a visual person, so I learn best by seeing it being done. With that said I would love to see some tutorial’s on wire wrapping and will find time to include it in my day ;) Even if I have to wait until 11pm to do it. Which, I seem to do half the time anyway :) I just wanted to say Thank You Cindy for all the tutorial Video’s. Before watching your tutorial’s I had some supplies but never really did anything with it. You gave me the confidence to start again and keep going :) I love your teaching style and have learned so much from you. I have learned much more from you than any of the books I have. Thanks Again :) ~Jennifer-B

As one of those “midnight-owl” people, I’ve watched many of your lessons fresh off the internet! I agree with everyone about the value of this wire links tutorial … may not be as glamorous, but it allows us to further figure out how to put beads and items together into a final piece. I’m still learning, and it’s great to now be able to add these kinds of tips/details to an idea, knowing that you can make it work. Or choose between a few ways of finishing and pick a method that works best. I couldn’t do that a year ago… have learned sooo much from joining (for less than the cost of a single lesson elsewhere!!). ~DJ

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Riveting Video Intro video tutorial:

  • See several examples of pendants and earrings using a variety of polymer clay techniques and mixed media materials riveted together using this cool technique.
  • Discussion of the tools, materials and techniques needed to create gorgeous industrial style mixed media jewelry designs.
  • Learn the tricks to making the perfect rivet… it’s easier than you may think. But you gotta know the tricks!
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with your own unique Wire Rivet jewelry designs.

The full version of the “Wire Riveting Intro” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-039 Back Issue Package.


  1. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 18 August, 2011

    Yay! I am itching to see this one! I just love metals and PC together and can’t get enough of instructions on how to do techniques in both, as they go so very well together! Thanks, Cindy, for answering some pleas!

  2. pollyanna, 18 August, 2011

    This will be so handy to know. I have several pieces I don’t know how to put together and this may be the answer. Yippeeee !!!

  3. pattw35, 18 August, 2011

    Again -you are a mind reader. I saw the wire magazine that you have, and was LUSTING 0ver the rivets !!! haha – So just can’t wait til tomorrow for the full tute. You are always expanding our knowledge of how to use PC -a big thank you for that. This is the reason , among many, that you have such a great following.

  4. Claycass, 18 August, 2011

    I have been interested in this process with polymer clay. I have been wondering how the artist avoids breaking the clay when hammering. Can’t wait to see the video.

  5. Cherie, 18 August, 2011

    I’m so excited about this video. I’ve been wanting to learn riveting for ever so long; was actually looking at going to a class. What gorgeous pieces you’ve created Cindy. My favorite is the pendant with the copper sheet and flower. I sort of know how to do the fold forming technique but would love a video from you; you make everything so much easier to follow and simpler.

  6. Linda K., 18 August, 2011

    Gee whiz, I didn’t even realize that I wanted to know how to do riveting! This is going to be a very interesting tut…it will be another skill that I’m sure I’ll be pleased to have.

  7. Lupe Meter, 18 August, 2011

    So excited to see this, Cindy! I have been wanting to learn riveting for a long time too! I also like the look of rivets with polymer clay. Can’t wait!

  8. Elaine Faulks, 18 August, 2011

    “Grommets last time now rivets this week” my sister said.

    “Hope this Cindy gal is not expecting you to go down to the shipyard to learn, among all those hunky guys stripped to the waist and gleaming with sweat as they wield their mighty hammers!!!”
    ” Mmm I don’t know though, could be a whole new learning experience.”
    (Very naughty my sister) She will have to become one of Cindy’s gals to find out. (I am not going to tell her:)

  9. Elizabeth S., 18 August, 2011

    Been waitin’ for this one. As usual the sample pieces are to die for. So beautiful!

  10. Cassie C, 18 August, 2011

    Ahhhh…Cindy. You keep opening up whole new worlds for me. Looking forward to learning riveting.

  11. Elizabeth K., 19 August, 2011

    Hi Cindy and all, Wow this Video about the rivets is really something.Here I am lucky enough to be watching it 5 minutes after it comes onto my Computer, at 5 15 Friday afternoon our time. Lucky me. I loved watching it even if I never made any.
    Just love all the hardwae used to do it.
    Dont think I would ever have a power punch, but loved watching how you used it.
    I will have to devise something similar to do this.
    Not sure how I would be able to finish the front rivet. If I had a Polymer clay piece like yours, I think I can see myself breaking that. How come you did that without breaking your poly underneath?
    I do have a Ball Pein Hammer.
    Anyway it was certainly interesting to watch. thanks for your great work in making this video, it is always appreciated.
    Elizabeth K. XX

  12. Silverleaf, 19 August, 2011

    Like Linda K, I had no idea I wanted to try riveting until I saw this! It looks really cool – I think I’ll save this for when I’m having one of those days where I’m too tired to be really inspired to do clay work. I can do the planning and designing when I’m feeling well, and then just drill and rivet when I’m not so well. Awesome.

    @Elizabeth K.: I guess that the clay can handle the tiny gentle taps, especially if it’s strengthened with resin.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 19 August, 2011

    Thank you girls! It is an empowering thing to do a metalwork technique like wire riveting as a lady. Especially if you are from a generation where it is more of a guy thing than a girl thing to work with metal and tools like this.

    @Elizabeth K., Claycass and anyone else that was worried about breaking their clay with the hammer:

    Rivets have a look to them that seems like they were created with brute force, but in actuality they are formed using quite simple methods (as you saw in the video) and using a very light tapping motion. You will see when you try this yourself, that if you are using just tiny gentle taps, that there never really is a risk of breaking your clay pieces. If you are having a hard time controlling your hammer, then get a tiny hammer. Like I said, it isn’t about strength, it is about spreading that rivet.

    @Elaine Faulks: I’m sorry Elaine, but as you can see in the video, the gleaming hunky men from the shipyard are just not going to be necessary for you to learn riveting. LOL But if you want to head on down there and show them a thing or two, no one here will stop you! ;-)

    @Silverleaf: That is an excellent idea! I know that many of you have health and wellness challenges, so having some techniques you can do when you are not feeling as well or as creative, are a great way to still feel productive without having to put pressure on yourself to be artistic. There are many processes in jewelry making like stringing, or making jump rings, that can have a similar effect.

  14. cara letho, 19 August, 2011

    Brilliant! The card trick is fantastic- no doubt about it Cindy- you always make it seem easy and attack it from a sensible, logical angle. Thank you

  15. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 19 August, 2011

    Tee-hee, Cindy, you gave away where you got your copper disk. I love this idea and intend to try riveting this weekend. Now, how about that copper-folding tute, lol? Love that look.

  16. Claycass, 19 August, 2011

    So my largest concern was hitting the clay. I guess I need to just try it and tap lightly and avoid hitting the clay with a bang. LOL!

  17. Tina A, 19 August, 2011

    Thank you ! This is just what I have been looking for, I am also very happy you showed us how to work around the concave copper surface, brilliant !

  18. Lupe Meter, 19 August, 2011

    You make it look so easy, Cindy! I would have never thought of using a card…thank you for that little trick! Probably a silly question, but where do you buy the wire for riveting, is it the same as wire that you use for jewelry? When I think of riveting, I think of nails, sturdy. So, I know it is a dumb question…best to purchase it at a hardware store? Sorry, this riveting is all new to me…maybe I am making it more complicated than it is. Afterall, you make it look so easy!

  19. pollyanna, 19 August, 2011

    Great tute as usual. This is a fantastic way to get some of my pieces together and make them look modern. Don’t know how you do it but, thanks for teaching us so many helpful ways of working our art.

  20. Cherie, 19 August, 2011

    Awesome tutorial! Love the card trick. Where would concave metal pieces be available; I know you can cut and make them yourself too. I don’t have a vise yet. The jewelry pieces in the video are just so beautiful!!

  21. Cindy Lietz, 19 August, 2011

    @Lupe Meter: You don’t need any special wire or anything Lupe, it can be from the hardware store or jewelry wire. The softer the metal, the easier to do, but it doesn’t really matter that much. If you have some wire from the Bookmark tutorial, that will work just fine. Try not to over think this one too much. It is really quite a simple thing to do.

    @Cherie (& Loretta): Like I said in the video, I just used some 1 cent pieces of copper from my purse. If you hammer them only from one side with a ball pein hammer, they will eventually become domed, even without dapping tools. You could also look for some large metal bead caps, if you didn’t want to make them yourself. You don’t have to use metal at all if you don’t want to though. Just layering polymer pieces will work too.

  22. Linda K., 19 August, 2011

    @Cherie: If you’re looking for ready-made metal shapes, Michaels has them with the dapping supplies…right next to the metal wire.

  23. Kathy G, 19 August, 2011

    another great tute!!!!! have a great weekend, Cindy and Doug!

  24. Loretta Carstensen, 19 August, 2011

    Thanks for the great tips. Can’t wait to try this one. Just have to find out where to get some of those copper domed discs you were using. :)

  25. pattw35, 19 August, 2011

    You made this look so easy -who would have thunk it? Seriously, your explanation made so much sense. I have hammer – will travel. tee hee. The card trick is so worthwhile. Again another top of the world tip. Thanks

  26. Linda K., 19 August, 2011

    Even if I never get around to trying this technique, it was so much fun to watch…kind of like watching an episode of “How It’s Made.” Cindy, your tricks for doing things always amaze me.

    I will try it, though, because I already have everything but the hole puncher. I recently saw someone punch a hole using a nail and hammer and a piece of wood under the metal. Wouldn’t you know, DH is taking a nap, so I can’t do it now!

  27. Cherie, 19 August, 2011

    @ Cindy – Where is the Euro power punch tool available? I was looking for a site in Canada, shipping is so expensive. Is it easy on the hands? I like that is has different size punches.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 20 August, 2011

    @Cherie: I ordered mine online at Rings and Things, when I ordered my Silver Grommets. You could try Capilano Rock and Gem (Vancouver). They carry a lot of EuroTools and have a web site at capilanorock.ca but you will likely have to call them to find out if they have the EuroPunch.

    @Carol Cooper: Are you looking in the electical department where the keep the huge rolls for wiring your house? Grounding wire comes bare and often there are 5 or 6 perfectly sized wires twisted into a cable. If you can’t find that type, there is usually electrical wire that has a plastic coating that can easily be stripped off. Otherwise you can order the heavier gauges of wire online in many places. I just did a quick Google search and found this place that has a huge variety of wire in many sizes at what looks like great prices. You may want to check it out:


    @Elaine Faulks: :-D

    @Lawrence: Etched metal is definitely something I would like to teach sometime! Need to learn more about it first though. You are so right about metal be a great compliment to polymer clay.

    @Teresa D:Finally… I was wondering when someone was going to talk about how riveting this video was (LOL). I absolutely LOVE it when you guys get playful with your comments. Penny for you thoughts, anyone? ;-)

  29. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 21 August, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Stripping Plastic Off Copper Electrical Wire: I also like Metalliferous online for all kinds of metals. They have all types and sizes of wire, disks, channel bracelets, findings, tools, books and more; just about everything we could want! I think they have a $25 minimum to order, though, but it wouldn’t be hard to get to that amount with all the stuff they have!

  30. Cherie, 19 August, 2011

    @ Linda – Thanks . Will check it out at Michaels next week. I want to see if they have any more of the Accents clay available. The last time I checked they only had 3 colors.

  31. Catalina, 19 August, 2011

    This so going to be soooo cool!! I’m babysitting my friends 12 week old puppy. I hope he will like the hear some pounding!! :)

    I got some copper wire that I think might be 10 gauge. It’s pretty thick but manageable. This idea will work great for making rivots for jewelry boxes. I’m glad I got the weekend off! Does anyone know where I can get puppy ear plugs? ;-)

  32. Carol Cooper, 19 August, 2011

    Hi Cindy – I absolutely loved this tutorial. I think that it was one of my favourites.

    I’m wondering if the discs that you found in the bottom of your purse and that only cost you a penny each, are in fact, pennies. A tutorial on how you flattened and then domed them would be awesome.

    I have been looking for heavier guage wire for awhile now and can’t find it in any of the hardware stores in my area – tried the usual, Home Depot, Lowes, Canadian Tire. Is there a supplier that you could recommend?

    Thanks again Cindy. I love visting with you every week.

  33. Elaine Faulks, 19 August, 2011

    Real neat technique Cindy and there’s me thinking I had to use brute force and a 20lb hammer! But no, Cindy says I can use my smallest hammer to tap tap away in a ladylike manner!!
    (I will feel like one of those little elves who helped the old shoemaker in the fairy tale). Now if only we had a Michaels down the road I could get all those cool tools and supplies, but I will have to improvise.
    First, to raid “his” jar of foreign coins and borrow some to turn into man-type jewelry. Yippee Cindy,I feel like a kid again, please keep those cool ideas flowing:} They Rock

  34. Lawrence S, 19 August, 2011

    Thanks for an outstanding video Cindy. I have been playing around with metals for a while as they complement polymer so well and really enjoy your ideas on this. How about copper/metal etching in the future ?

  35. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 20 August, 2011

    @Lawrence: Ooooh, good idea, Lawrence! I could go for that, too. Just been reading a little bit about that.

  36. Teresa D, 20 August, 2011

    Thank you Cindy for that awesome tute it kept me riveted to my seat. I see we will all get our 2 cents out of this and more. (hee hee hee)

  37. DJ, 20 August, 2011

    This is just fabulous…from beautiful sample pieces to a bright and shiny new tool! I could have some fun with that Euro punch, will have to put that on my never ending tool supply list. It’s so great to have another metal technique to consider when putting things together – I really love the look and simplicity of this one!! This has been time well “spent”, can’t wait to forge ahead. ;0)

  38. Cheryl Baird-Trotter, 20 August, 2011

    Thanks for the ‘riveting’ tutorial. I saw a necklace with rivets and wanted to make it. I asked my husband if his rivet gun would work!!?? Needless to say I went no further. Now I can make that necklace.

  39. Anna Sabina, 22 August, 2011

    in the video you said you should hear the metal hitting metal when tapping with the hammer. And, if you hear a “soft sound” it was not being done correctly. Just wondering if the soft sound happens when you hit your fingers with the hammer?

  40. Pam, 22 August, 2011

    Cindy, you’re so funny! I’m going to go ‘pick up’ my copper discs! Great idea, thanks again!!

  41. Catalina, 24 August, 2011

    @Pam: This is a fun tute! I hear you can get a whole roll of copper discs for like – .50 cents ;-) what a great deal!!

  42. pollyanna, 24 August, 2011

    @Catalina: lol….made me lol!!!

  43. Linda K., 25 August, 2011

    I hammered a copper disc the other day and it was so much fun! As I was first flattening it, it looked like it had a mica-shift design on it. That went away after I used the ball end of the hammer.

    A few days ago I said that I had seen a video of someone punching a hole in a flat piece of metal with a hammer and nail. Well, I tried that with my newly-hammered disc and I couldn’t get the nail to go all the way through, although it did make a bulge on the back. DH said he could get the nail to go all the way through, but I told him not to bother…if I can’t do it myself, what good is it, LOL. I guess I’ll go to Michaels with my 40% off coupon and buy a metal puncher.

  44. Cynthia S, 25 August, 2011

    cindy, please tell us how you shaped your penny for the riveting. thank you

  45. Cindy Lietz, 25 August, 2011

    @Anna Sabina: LOL that’s funny Anna. No… hitting your fingers isn’t the soft sound I was talking about… ouch! I was referring more to the kind of thud sound you get when you’re hitting the stacked layers, or if the rivet is more at an angle at the back rather than straight up and down. If everything is aligned properly and you are actually hitting the rivet rather than anything else (including fingers), then it should have a ping kind of sound, of metal hitting metal rather than a thud.

    @Linda K.: Your nail was probably not sharp enough to pierce your metal easily. I forgot to mention it in the video, but an awl also works really well for putting a hole in metal, if you didn’t want to get a metal punch. But now that I have the Europunch I am truly in love with how easy it is. BTW, we just went down to Shipwreck Beads in Lacey WA, (the worlds largest selection of beads in one store) and I picked up a smaller EuroTools hand punch as well with a 1.5mm hole. That is even a smaller hole than what the Euro Power Punch will do. Now I’ll be punching holes in anything that moves! Nothing beats having great tools!

    @Cynthia S: I actually domed that disk just by tapping on one side of it with a ballpein hammer. I showed how to do this in the hammered metal bezels tutorial. Click the link by my name for more info.

  46. Linda K., 27 August, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Hammered Metal Bezels Tutorial: You’re so right, Cindy. I pushed the hole through with my needle tool. I wouldn’t want to hammer on my needle tool, though, because I’d hate to ruin it. Once I got the hole all the way through, I realized that the back of the hole needed to be filed…but when i filed it, I filed off the copper coating from the edge of my disc on the back. So I need a metal punch. I want a metal punch. I WILL get a metal punch, LOL. I love my gadgets!

  47. Kim H, 29 September, 2011

    I am looking for some information on making buttons and specifically the shanks. I was thinking of making them out of wire with round nose pliers. There also seems to be quite a selection of shanks online. I have never made buttons before and looking to you for your expertise! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  48. Linda K., 30 September, 2011

    Kim, Cindy did a great tutorial in Volume 27, called “Embedded Links.” This shows the method you need for making wire shanks for your buttons.

  49. Linda K., 30 September, 2011

    Oops, I guess I ran out of time when I tried to add to my post above. Anyway, Cindy did another tutorial in Volume 22, called Polymer Clay Buttons. Although the buttons she made in that tutorial don’t have shanks, she does give some excellent tips on making your buttons strong and how to shape them.

  50. Lawrence, 30 September, 2011

    Kim I have been using a neat trick for my button shanks for the past three years, especially when I don’t want holes to spoil the button fronts.
    Cindy uses it in last weeks video 040-3 Purse Shaped Charms so I hope you are a video library member and can check it out.

Copyright © Polymer Clay Tutor Bead and Jewelry Making Tutorials