Top 5 Design Must Haves with Sara Ellis

It's never too early to start thinking about the holidays and gift giving. If you're looking for the perfect gift for the jewelry maker in your life or if you're treating yourself to new tools for the holidays these are my Top 5 Must Haves for every jewelry maker!  

Wire for Wrapping!

Wire comes in so many colors and sizes, it's hard to know where to start. A great rule of thumb is, stock up on the basics. These four wire sizes are the most used from my personal stash and you can't go wrong with silver and gold. Grab these wires in both colors and you're ready to wire wrap anything! 

18 gauge - This is a great sturdy wire that is great for making components and armatures. This thick wire requires very little work hardening but isn't too thick to work with comfortably. 

20 gauge - This is probably the most common wire size for wire workers. This is a nice strong gauge that is perfect for making your own ear wires and jump rings. It's also sturdy enough to make earring and necklace components. 

22 gauge - This is my "go to" wire for almost everything. I use 22 gauge wire for making my own eye pins and head pins and any other wire wrapping. It's a nice small gauge that doesn't overpower your designs but is still sturdy and dependable. 

24 gauge - This is a great little wire that is the perfect size for wire wrapping smaller beads. It's sturdy but soft enough to create beautiful, intricate wire designs. This gauge wire is often overlooked but I find myself using it more often than not so I'm always sure to have plenty 24 gauge on hand when working with pearls and gemstones that often have smaller holes. 

Work Hardening 

Work hardening is extra insurance for your wire jewelry designs. There's nothing worse than creating a beautiful component out of wire to only have it lose it's shape with everyday wear. It's important to invest in the right tools to keep this from happening to your customer's jewelry, as well as your own personal designs. 

I use my nylon hammer and block every day to work harden ear wires, jump rings, wire components and more! The nylon hammer hardens the wire without creating marks on the surface of the wire. I'm confident in wearing my wire designs out in the real world with these essential "safety measures". 

Tools!!! Travel ready? Yes, please! 

You can't confidently make beautiful jewelry without a set of really good tools. Investing in a full set of tools is essential! These are the most used items in your jewelry arsenal and they need to be durable as well as comfortable. Luckily for us, Beadalon has an amazing little tool set that fits the bill. Not only are these great tools a beautiful shimmering purple color but they also come in a handy travel case that you can toss in your bag for beading on the go! This set includes all the standard tools : Chain Nose Pliers, Round Nose Pliers, Bent Chain Nose Pliers, Flat Nose Pliers and Cutter Tool.

Wire Shaping 

Creating wire components in fun shapes doesn't have to be hard! With just a couple of great tools, you can make perfect hoops, tear drops, wire bails, jump rings and more! I reach for these three tools all the time.

Bail Making Pliers 

Whether I am creating a wire wrapped bail at the top of a pendant, need perfect loops or jump rings or I am creating fun "bubble" shapes for my jewelry designs, I reach for either the Small Bail Making Pliers or the Large Bail Making Pliers. The Small Bail Making Pliers have 2mm and 4mm ends and the Large Bail Making Pliers have 5mm and 8mm ends.

Artistic Wire Mandrel Set -

This is one of my favorite tools in my arsenal. How many single tools can you say will make up to 46 different sized shapes? This mandrel set can! The easy to hold handle comes with four different shaped, stepped mandrels in round, square, triangle and oval. You can use each shape to create bails, cones, pendants, components, chain links and more.

Essential Extras

Last but definitely not least in my Top 5 Must Haves are two tools that I cannot live without! No tool arsenal is complete without a Flush Cutter and a pair of Nylon Jaw Pliers. 

Nylon Jaw Pliers - 

This tool is designed for shaping and sculpting Artistic and German Style Wire. The nylon jaws protect the surface of the wire, while straightening and gently work hardening. If you have seen my "create your own head pin" trick then you know just how essential this tool is! 

Designer Flush Cutter -

Sometimes a standard cutter tool just won't do. That's when I reach for my Designer Flush Cutter. This high quality, Italian cutter creates a flush cut every single time. 

Why do I need a flush cut? Having a flush end on the wire helps the wire sit perfectly against other wire or component surfaces. There's no need to worry about sharp points or burs left behind on ear wires when using the Designer Flush Cutter. The flush end is ready for easy smoothing and rounding.

Whether you are new to jewelry making or a seasoned professional, these Top 5 Must Haves are essential beading and jewelry making tools and accessories that will help you make beautiful, artistic, one of a kind pieces or recreate all the beautiful jewelry designs and tutorials that you'll find here at Jesse James Beads!



Happy Beading,

Sara Ellis

& Your Friends At Jesse James Beads


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