Folksy Ltd

Wire help newbi

(KellzCreations) #1

Hi people . I usually buy in clasps . Head pins . Etc but i want to make my own using sterling silver . And other metals. I know i will need to practice and the price of sterling wire is high . So was thinking i need to buy silver plated wire first to practice on . But in confised about copper brass and other wires and if i need to seal and treat them . Or can you buy wires that are already treated sealed and ready to go? Any adivise on if this is a more cost effective way to create clasps . wire wraping and head pins .and where and what wires are the best to get … . Basically any tips and advice on using wire would be much appreciated thankyou so much …

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(Samantha Stanley) #2

OK-Lots of stuff here!

It is perfectly possible to make your own findings out of sterling silver. I do it all the time. You’ll need a blow torch (a chef’s one is fine if you don’t want to spend much money) and sterling silver wire. Heat the end with a soft blue flame that is just turning yellow at the tip and gradually the silver will start to glow and finally it will “ball up” Drop it into water to cool it and you have a headpin. You will then need to soak it in warm citric acid to remove the black coating that has appeared and give it a polish before you use it.

You can’t do this with plated wire because the plating will peel back and you will end up with a pin with a silver shaft and a brass ball (not a good look).

Fine silver is much more expensive that sterling. I don’t regard sterling as that expensive. And it is easier to work with because it is harder and keeps it’s shape.

You can make an eye-pin from plated wire which will do for a headpin. Loop the end over using round nosed pliers and cut of the excess.

There is no need to seal sterling silver wire. It’s fine to use as it is. Manufacturers seal copper and brass wire because it tarnishes so easily and they want it to keep it’s finish. There is no need to do so for allergy or hygiene reasons because elements which cause allergies are banned under EU law (nickel).

Hope this helps-there is a lot to learn in jewellery making and I am definitely still learning myself :wink:

Love Sam x

(Samantha Stanley) #3

To give you an idea of what you can do without even using soldering tools and blow torches, look at this bangle

Sam x

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(Joy Salt) #4


I don’t work with wire but if I wanted to… would just like to say how incredibly helpful your post must be to someone who does and it all goes to prove what has been said a lot in the last couple of day, what a superbly friendly and helpful place this forum is. I think your post should get a special “Helpful” badge

(Samantha Stanley) #5

Aww thanks @JOYSofGLASS! That’s the best thing about Folksy. We’re all happy to help and not about competing all the time. :blush:

(Stephanie Guy) #6

I thought you were asking for help with wine. Was about to volunteer my services…:joy:

(KellzCreations) #7

Thankyou . So if i was to buy brass or copper wire i wouldnt need to do anything with it … ??? Just create create create …

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(KellzCreations) #8

What is anodizes colour copper wire .

(Samantha Stanley) #9

I ought to know what anodised means but I don’t off-hand @SashaGarrett could tell you I’m sure. Copper and brass wires are often sold with a permanent coloured coating fused to the outside, which you can use to artistic effect. I’ve got some in seafoam , but there is quite a wide range of colours including the normal metallic gold, platinum or silver. They are just colours though-not a metal plate.

If you want to keep a permanent shiny copper coloured finish on a piece of copper plate or wire, it is usually advisable to laquer it because it will oxidize. The oxide initially looks dark, but if the process continues long enough you can get some bright greens. If any metal oxidizes you can easily remove the tarnish/oxide using silver or brass polish. It’s not compulsory to coat it. Laquer or varnish is easily available from craft shops, but I don’t tend to buy it because I only use sterling silver.

Sam x

(KellzCreations) #10

Thankyou . Still confused though . I. Compleatly wishi g i listened in science … i want to create some rustic . Brassy looking peices … but nor have to do anything to the wire . So there fore wanted to buy wire that will stay the way i have purchased it colour wise … so im felling baffled and diss heartend that it seems i may not be as easy as this

(Sasha Garrett) #11

Anodised wire has been oxidised on the surface to give it a colour and stop it tarnishing - normally aluminium wires but it can be done to others. If you are not careful this finish (or indeed any colour finish eg enamelled wire) can be damaged with tools so that the metal shows through - this can be avoided by using nylon jaws on your pliers or wrapping masking tape around metal ones. For a large selection of colour coated copper wires have a look at for a wire that looks like brass and you wouldn’t need to coat try they also have copper coloured copper wire and antique brass colour copper wire which wouldn’t need anything doing to the wire once you have finished making a piece.
You can buy uncoated copper and brass wire (sometimes called raw wire) this doesn’t have a coating on it so will tarnish unless you lacquer or wax it, I buy this sort of wire from my local hardware shop. However you can achieve some interesting colours by heating raw copper wire with your blow torch - this would then need to be lacquered or waxed to stop any further tarnishing. I use rennaisance wax (available from amazon) on my copper cuffs but clear nail polish works as well. If you heat colour coated wires you can damage the colour coating so that is not advisable.

@SamanthaStanley you can speed up the process of getting copper to go green by coating it in urine…

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(KellzCreations) #12

Inurine … wtf … lol . Ummm very helpfull reply though . Thankyou so much … really apreciate ur time and kindness

(Samantha Stanley) #14

Yuk-Male urine I expect if I remember my Anglo-Saxon history right!

Sam x

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(Samantha Stanley) #15

Don’t worry! These links will help you. You can get artistic wire from other suppliers, but CJ Beaders have reasonable delivery prices.

You can’t forge these into head-pins because of the coating, but you can bend and twist them into clasp shapes, earring-wires and eyepins using round-nosed pliers, which you can get on the same site.

Have fun playing with it!

Love Sam x

(Sasha Garrett) #16

My victorian book of patinas doesn’t specify. The urine sounds rather yuk but at least its not toxic like most of the others, I’ve yet to be tempted to try any of them.

(Samantha Stanley) #17

Female urine is acidic, so it has the tendency to remove rather than create patina.

The Saxons used male urine to bring out the pattern on their pattern welded steel blades, which is invisible until the hot blade is quenched in the bucket of urine. Urine had lots of uses back in dark ages England. Fullers used it to bleach and dye woolen yarns and cloth and it is also a great fertiliser for fruiting plants. Some old gardeners swear by weeing on their tomatoes! The Saxon lords (landlords-lol) used to collect it by holding regular drinking sessions in their great halls, which provided them with plenty of urine to sell.

I agree with you about the Victorians. Almost everything they used was poisonous in some degree, even chemicals they used to “sterilize” babies bottles. I’ve forgotten precisely which chemical it was, but I remember being shocked.

Love Sam x

(Sasha Garrett) #18

@SamanthaStanley I’ve dug a little further. Patina is formed on copper under basic conditions, ammonia will give you the blue colour and best kept away from acids as you say. Verdigris is formed under acidic conditions often using acetic or sulphuric acid to give CuOAc2 or a more green colour (acid rain on a copper roof). So using male urine should lead to a blue colour on copper whilst female urine would give green.
I’m still not inclined to give it a go with actual urine but maybe over the summer when I can do it out side I’ll rootle around and find some other chemicals to give it a go.

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(KellzCreations) #19

Right … i am so excited … i just found loads of electrical wire . Copper . So much … eeekkk . But it smells … all coppery obviously . Lol . I want to know if i make clasps . Jumprings head pin etc … and want them to stay shiny do i laquer them or seal wire before i make the findings or after .?? So confused .

(Samantha Stanley) #20

That is very interesting @SashaGarrett! And explains why they did not treat steel blades with female urine. The result would have been an acid salt which would have caused the blade to rust much faster than if it remained untreated.

As you say though-not nice to use urine in crafting. Anything you made would be easy to smell but difficult to sell…:wink:

Thanks again!
Sam x

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