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What To Do If Your Tools Mark Your Jewelry Wire

Two people have asked me what they could do about the tool marks on  jewelry wire. Well, I reassured them that with practice, there will be fewer marks.

Over manipulating the wire will result in the marks. It happens to most of us. That's why we practice with cheaper copper wire first before committing to the more expensive metals like silver or gold.

But there are a few things you can do if you are still getting those marks :

1. Make sure there are no burs
Examine your tools closely - use a magnifying glass if necessary. If there are burs, then you have to file those away.

2. Coat your tools
Tool Magic is a rubber coating product on the market which you can purchase from a number of jewelry supply sites. Some artisans swear by it. Judy Markwell's The Magic of Tool Magic tutorial from the Beading Emporium has all the tips and tricks about using this flexible rubber coating. When it's time to reapply, you just peel the old stuff off your tools.

Fire Mountain Gems also has a brief tutorial. Their suggestion of using a tool rack or a coffee mug as a holder for the drying step strikes me as a no-hassle way.

Vicki on the Artisan Beaders blog also shows how to apply but she also suggested turning the jar upside down what to do to make the stuff last longer before it thickens. (Update : post is no longer available)

3. Use your nylon jawed pliers more
I don't use Tool Magic. But I try and use my nylon jawed pliers instead of my chain nose or broad nose pliers as much as possible to grasp my work in progress. I`ve used them to make flat spirals or scrolls although it`s sometimes not easy to hold them firm enough.

I even use it to open up ear wire loops as I have two of these pliers. The nylon parts do not mar the wire and they can be eventually changed when they wear out. I think the nylon parts will probably outlast rubber coatings which have to be reapplied on a regular basis if you use your tools a lot.

Update :  I have since bought Tool Magic and it's super. I use it mainly on my chain maille tools as shown in this chain maille book review.

Other tool tips :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 


  1. I've been struggling with this lately, but I think it is because my tools are getting older. I need to invest in nylon jaw tools. Thanks for the article.

  2. Great tips Pearl! I'd never heard of a tool coating product but what a great idea!

  3. Tool magic is a great option but it is not easily available (atleast in India). So when working with fine wire I mostly use my hands or use pliers with very little pressure. I used to struggle in the beginning but I think I have improved now

  4. I've had this problem, too. I have one toothed plier and one half dead flat nose one. When I do chainmaille, I wrap a small bit of duct tape around the toothed pliers. Works like a charm. And I've also dipped the tips of the toothed pliers in clear fingernail polish. It fills in the grooved just enough that they are still effective but much less likely to leave marks.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your tips Shaylynn! Anodized aluminum jump rings for chain maille are so easily nicked. Pearl

  6. Tool Magic is fine and does act as a cushion, preventing the marks that metal on metal can cause. My gripes are that it doesn't last very long, both as a coating on my pliers and in the jar. I will have to check out Vicki's link as I have recently thrown out an extremely thick jar of Tool Magic and it was over half-full. :(

    I do have a pair of nylon head flat pliers which I use for forming spirals and, yes, they do tend to slip a bit more than the rubbery coating of Tool Magic...but I find that the rubbery coating seems to start coming apart after doing one project. Maybe I'm not applying it properly, I'll check out Vicki's link and see what I can learn. Thanks.

  7. I finally found the tool magic when I was out of town and really do like it. I use my tools so much, I wear it off and have to do it often. I do not know why all the craft stores do not carry it. I found mine at a Joann's. They also have a lot of additional tools,hammers, awls and things that are so helpful in jewelry making.

  8. Glad you managed to get some. Yes, the coating doesn't last long but it is easy enough to re-dip!

  9. I use electrical tape. Works just as well


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