Sure you can buy components like toggles, clasps and ear wires. But if you really want to make truly handmade jewelry, then making your own components is the way to go.  You can customize your jewelry and make it distinctive.

If you want to hone your wire work skills to perfection for custom components, Lisa Niven Kelly's Make Your Own Wirework Findings class is definitely a good one to take.

Even you are experienced, there are always new tips and tricks you can learn from different instructors. I know I did.  Sometimes, especially with self-learners, you pick up incorrect habits that are worth breaking if you are wish to do better at wire work.

Like all Craftsy classes, once enrolled, you can watch in whenever you want and as many times needed to understand the techniques being taught.  Note that this coming Thursday through to Monday is their big Black Friday sale where every class is under $17.99!

Lesson 1
Here is where she shares what the top five wire work tools are. Note also she only uses round wire for her lessons.   I agree with her emphasis on practice, practice, practice! She demonstrates using different metals - sterling silver, copper and fine silver. But as you all know, always practice with copper before moving on to more expensive metals.

Lesson 2
This covers the wire work basics for perfect spirals and  loop making - regular loops as well as wrapped ones and spirals. She covers tips, beginner traps to avoid and problem solving solutions.  Who knew using vernier calipers can help you mark your round nose pliers for consistent sized loop making?  Her clear instructions on fool-proof loop making is the best I have ever seen.

She also thoroughly covers how to twist wire using a variable speed drill. Great tips on how to prepare the wire as well as good safety tip with the drill before you release the twisted wire.

Lesson 3
This lesson covers coiling wire and jump ring making using a variety of tools. The instructor carefully explains how to do this manually.  A good lesson because it makes you appreciate the feel and look of the wire as you do so.  She then covers the variable drill method for coiling wire.  She also demonstrates how to use a ring clamp (optional) to make coiling easier and error free.  Fast too!

Did you know it is  also possible to make coils on a tapered round nose pliers if that is the only tool you have?

Lesson 4
Lisa covers headpin making from the basic ones to decorative examples.  She covers quite a few - paddle headpins, diamonds, triple loop "flowers", funky clusters etc.  Great tip on working from the spool so you can determine the exact length of headpins you want.

She does demonstrate how to make balled headpins using a micro torch - the best demonstration I have seen.  She even includes a few ways to harden fine silver balled headpins.

 I particularly love her set of safety tips which some instructors don't mention like tying back long hair and also wearing natural fiber clothes. Note, she doesn't go into how to use a micro torch. So she, like me, also recommends Kathy Richbourg's FREE  Micro Torch Basics class.

Lesson 5
Classic Shepherd's hook ear wire making is covered here with loads of variations. She does not cover hoops though.

This balled ear wire is Lisa's favorite :

Balled ear wire

Lesson 6
Hook clasp making can just be as creative and useful as ear wires.  These can be used for necklaces and bracelets. Like the previous class the instructor teaches numerous variations including single and double hooks. A little more demanding for beginners as 16 or 18 G wire is best for clasps.  I like how she often works off the spool so there is no wastage - a good tip when you are using precious metals!

This was my favorite :

Lesson 7
A basic toggle clasp making clasp class using stronger 16 G wire. Again with tons of variations.  I particular loved her inspirational bracelet which is made up of several coiled wire toggles!

My favorite section was her metal stamped and textures washers as toggles.

The matching T bars are covered at the end of the lesson. She also demonstrates how to make the T bars the correct size for the toggle.

Lesson 8
This lesson is so inspirational as Lisa teaches how to make sculptural wire toggles.  Fun way to make a standout toggle clasp.  The designs look so much better when the metal is patinated. And beads can be added for further embellishment.

Lesson 9
This is the finishing step for those who like to add depth to the work by antiquing the pieces.  She demonstrates two different products for patina - one is hydrochloric acid based and the other is liver of sulfur. She explains why she uses each for different pieces or metals.

Just one thing I should add, wear an apron as well as gloves!  You do not want to ruin your clothes if a drop of the acid should accidentally land on you.

This lesson also includes a great section on polishing products.

This class is highly recommended. The instructor is thorough and concise in her teaching. It is so useful for all jewelry makers, no matter your experience. Everyone needs components no matter what technique you use - clay, beading etc. If you've never been happy with how your work looks, this class is for you.

It's the sort of class I wish I could have taken when I first started out in jewelry making. Even with my experience, I discovered so many useful tips and tricks. Yes, even those first few classes  aimed at beginners!

If you want a chance to win a free access to Lisa Niven Kelly's Make Your Own Wirework Findings class (and ask her any question about wire work),  please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.  The class is currently on sale too.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, November 28, 2016. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!


I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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