Tips for Working with Copper By Oksana Truhan

By on August 1, 2017
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by Judy Ellis,

Wire Jewelry Tip for August 1st, 2017

Tips for Working with Copper

by Oksana Truhan


Raw copper wire is my favorite metal to work with. I prefer copper because I can so easily vary its flexibility or temper. That is, I can easily make it soft when I need to, when I want to weave a complex pattern.

I use a flame for softening the wire, which is called annealing. It’s necessary to heat the wire to a red color.

Wire Advice

After heating, the copper darkens. To remove this oxidization, add about a spoonful of citric acid to a glass of water).

Wire Advice

Heat the solution with the wire for a few minutes on the stove.

Wire Advice

The copper will come out perfectly clean.


However, sometimes we need to make the copper hard again for things such as earring wires or clasps.

To work harden the wire, pull it through a cloth, or twist it. Or, you can hammer it with a nylon hammer to keep from marring it. Or flatten it with a regular hammer.

Wire Advice Wire Advice

Happy Wrapping!


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One Comment

  1. avatar

    Carol L Eagan

    August 1, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Great tip for cleaning copper! If I have a piece of mixed metals, copper being one metal, what will citric acid do to gold or sterling silver? I always hate when my copper oxidizes and tumbling it doesn’t seem to clean it like it does for silver.