- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Bezels
- Tube Set Charm by Kim St. Jean
- Prong Basket Pendant by Kim St. Jean
- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Cold Connections
- New DVD Series – Stone Setting with Wire
- NEW DVD Series: Introduction to Stone Setting by Kim St. Jean
- Featured Tool: Bracelet Bending Plier
- NEW Dvd by Eva Sherman
- Fun, Fast Fold Forming DVD Series
- Double Band Ear Cuff from Alex Simkin
Daily Wire Tip: Methods for Holding Wire Bundles Together
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
What are some ways you hold together bundles of wire when you are working on them?
-Kirsten in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hi Kirsten, there are a variety of techniques that can be used to help hold your wire bundles together. Personally, I prefer to use a tape that does not leave a lot of sticky residue after it has been removed. White quilter’s tape is my favorite because it can be purchased in a quarter inch width. There is one negative issue that can occur with white quilter’s tape: if the tape is old or has been stored in high heat it will become extremely sticky and need to be thrown away. For this reason when I am purchasing it, I take the tape to the check-out register and open it in front of the salesperson. If it has gone bad, I do not purchase it. Please be aware that quilter’s tape also comes in a green color that I do not recommend, because it has a lot more adhesive on it.
In my classrooms, I see a wide variety of tapes. For example, I had a student who once brought me some acid-free tape that is designed for use in scrapbooks, and another student had a small roll of pinstripe tape (used when customizing motor vehicles) both tapes performed very well. However, those who have tried using a paper masking tape were disappointed, because it sticks so tightly to itself that it is difficult to remove from a wire bundle.
Large, wide bundles of heavy-gauge wire stay together nicely by using painter’s tape. The Blue style has less adhesive than the Lavender, so in areas with high humidity I recommend the latter. Painter’s tape comes in several widths. One of my students prefers the wider version, and uses a sharp, thin blade (like an X-acto knife) to cut strips down the width of the tape while it is on its roll, so she can easily tear off the perfect size as she needs it.
A Helping Hand (weighted metal stand with an alligator clip attached) can be a useful accessory when you need to hold something small together and up, off your workspace. However, it can also be difficult to control, because you have to work with and around the unit, where it stands. In the past, other pattern authors have suggested using coated telephone wire to temporarily wrap wire jewelry bundles together, but to me this seems redundant and a waste of precious time. I have had a few students who like to use little Clamps with rubber heads to hold their wire bundles together. They do so with success; however, to me, the additional weight of having things hanging from my bundles is very cumbersome, and can bend the bundle.
When I have forgotten my tape, I have used many different substitutes! For example, grip or electrical tape (not recommended unless in a pinch, because plastic tapes stretch) and once, in an area with extremely high humidity, my class and I used strips cut off fabric-style band-aids! Whatever works for some may not work well for others, Kirsten. Experiment to find the product and procedure that works best for you!
I’d like to ask my fellow wire artists, do you have a suggestion for Kirsten? Thanks so much for sharing!
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong
Have a Question? Click Here to Submit Your Question