If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know how much I love working with copper wire. My first source is the garage. My spouse has always been very supportive of my jewelry work and me nosing around his stashes for wire and tools. Even designing earring displays for me. I love him! But I digress…
The other source is the hardware store…particularly Ace Hardware. They usually have copper wire in all the different gauges I use. Also, a great variety of annealed steel wire. My favorite ‘look’ for copper is an antique patina…just love the warm glow it gives to pieces. I used to apply a Liver of Sulphur patina after I finished jewelry construction, then lots of scrubbing to remove the darkest parts and expose the highlights of the metal. Not sure when it hit me, but I started opening up the wire package and removing the whole spool of wire to dunk into the LOS solution first. It’s a lot less work to finish and I don’t have to worry about getting LOS on stones, pearls, or other beads.
Each pre-treated spool is put into its own baggie, labeled with the wire gauge, and ready to use. I can also control the amount of patina I want. The thicker wire on the right has been further prepped by a quick swipe with 000 steel wool to give it a spotty effect…some light, some darker.
Here’s a pair of earrings and ear wires made today…
Annealed steel wire is another story…it comes in the same type of spooled package as the copper, but is coated with a black powder to keep it from rusting. Way too messy to use as is. I didn’t include a photo of my hands but believe me, it’s messy! I first cut off a length of wire I think I’ll need for some work. Then give it a good scrubbing to get off the black and expose the lovely dark gray wire underneath. In order to keep the wire from rusting, I apply a thin coating of Renaissance Wax with my fingers. Let dry, then buff with a piece of paper towel. Ready to use.
I used it to wire wrap some agates into a remade chain in this necklace. The smaller agate pebbles are knotted on caramel colored waxed linen cord.
While I never use the steel wire for ear wires, it is a good match with oxidized sterling silver.
Loved knotting these agate beads today…a kind of “in the zone” activity…so I used up the leftover strand in a Half and Half necklace.
Half beads, Half chain. Oh, and a few pyrites thrown in the mix.
You can wear it with the chain in front or the agates in front
or just throw it around your neck and wear it wherever it lands!
Hi, My name is Lynda.
Exploring the wide world of jewelry making in my retirement from teaching. I'm grateful to be a part of this worldwide community of jewelry bloggers, where I receive encouragement, inspiration, and sometimes...a kick in the pants to take a risk!
Fresh Baked Designs jewelry is available locally in San Diego.
Just click on the link in the menu bar above.