Daily Wire Tip Sept. 22: Non-Tarnish Wire and Children’s Jewelry

By on September 21, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
September 22, 2010

Question:

Would non-tarnish wire be a good wire to use for kids’ rings? Also, what would be a good price to charge for the ring?

-PJ in Louisville, Kentucky

Answer:

Well PJ, there are a couple kinds of “non-tarnish” wire. If you are using craft wire from a hobby store, sure – why not? As for the price, that really depends on the economy in your area. Rings made for children are often lost or misplaced within a few weeks, and making inexpensive tokens for a parent to quiet or reward a child is a great sales item – if you can make a profit by doing so. By this I mean that personally I cannot see the sense in spending 30 minutes and $3.00 to make a ring using Swarovski crystals and argentium (non-tarnish silver) and sell it for $10. If it can be made of the same materials in say 15 minutes and sold for $10, ok.

When using craft wire for children’s products I believe it is important to keep in mind what your goal is as a wire jewelry artist; are you creating and selling to make serious and continuous money, or as a way to release your creative energies and receive a monetary profit as supplemental income?

Also it’s important that children’s products follow the new laws regarding the use of certain materials in some states, such as California and lead content of beads. Use common sense too, as little sparkly things often want to be tasted.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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7 Comments

  1. avatar

    mary

    September 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Many quick wrapped rings can be made using a variety of wire materials, some beads for bling and not cost you much in materials to make. Even the adjustable friendship ring can be done and sold for a child when made out of something other than your argentium or gold-filled good stuff. Give some thought to going thru your scrap box for wires to reincorporate into a child’s ring. Even a silver plated craft wire will work, it is entirely up to you.
    I keep a small basket filled with an assortment of lower end priced quickie rings for children made in an array of copper, brass and silver plated wire for around $3.00 that take no time to make and little in supply costs, especially if I am recycling wires from the scrap bins.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      September 22, 2010 at 10:40 am

      Thanks Mary! Good advice about using scrap wire and ‘run away’ beads.

  2. avatar

    John

    September 22, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I started making a childs rings this year. I use SS wire and a small cube swaroski crystal. It takes about 5 minutes to make and no more than $2 worth of material. I sell them for $10. To my surprise ladies want them as pinky rings. So now I have to make larger sizes. I sold 8 to one customer at our last craft show. The other nice thing about the simple design is that they can be stretched about a full size on the spot. The customers love to see you custom making it for them as they wait.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      September 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

      Awesome John! Yes, people love to see the ‘artist’ at work and will often buy whatever you are in the process of, because it adds to their ‘story’ : ) Thanks for sharing!

  3. avatar

    Alex

    September 27, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Well, Dale, I worked in Environmental Education once, back in the late ’80’s and ’90’s. My take home was about $100.00 US a week! (Room and board provided, sort of…). We had groups of school kids come stay with us for 3 days to a week. I managed to augment my income by making rings for the kids. I used Sterling (Argentium wasn’t around then), and made a single swirl for “bling”, or 2 swirls if they wanted them. I used 3 inches of wire to make a ring. 20 ga. Sterling in that day was $1.00/ft., and gold filled was around $2.00/ft. I was able to make one of these simple rings in about 5 minutes, maybe less – never timed myself. I could charge $1.00 for a ring and make money (4″ of silver at $.33 per ring, 5 minutes of my time – 6″ of silver for the larger ring, add a dollar), but I charged $2.00 for a ring with a single swirl, and $3.00 for a double swirl. I quite often made as much as $200.00 per week at this. Thankfully, the director didn’t mind, and the parents and teachers loved watching me make them.
    Nowadays, when I do shows, I still make rings like these for kids. Silver has gone up, so my prices have about doubled, but I still can make money chatting up kids and making stuff for them on the spot. A couple of shows we have done, this was most of the income!
    I will make rings with small stones (they cost more), with beads I get at local stores on closeout.
    I know that many artists (I don’t consider myself an artist, but a Craftsman) think this beneath them, but it beats starving. At many shows, people are reluctant to drop money on something for themselves, but we all love to please our children.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      September 27, 2010 at 9:29 am

      Alex, you are absolutely correct, and as everyone should, have made and continue to make decisions that ‘work’ for you according to the situation presented. Thanks!

  4. avatar

    walter daniels

    December 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Alex, Whether you know it or not, by engaging the parents as you make a ring for the child, you build trust. That means as they watch you work (the children), parents are looking at your other work. Many times they may find something they like/want, and decide to buy.
    Engaging with people, is not “time-wasting,” but advertising. The more they like you, the better chance they will buy eventually. Better yet, they tell their friends about you.

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