Archive for May, 2011

Men Don’t Get All the Fun…

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

In respect to Father’s Day coming up in June we are featuring some of our quality power tools in our latest news letter.  But like we said “men don’t get all the fun”, especially around the Wired Up Beads office.  Currently we have eight women on staff, each one with the ability to create beautiful jewelry. When picturing that, most people would envision a lot of giggling, dainty beads, and delicate findings. Don’t get us wrong—there is plenty of that to go around.  But more frequently you’ll find us wielding a hammer, firing up a torch, or brandishing a jeweler’s saw. Perhaps this is due to a general sense of rebellion against the stereotype of a group of jewelry-making women, but more likely its because its just plain fun!

Below is a collection of some of our favorite “big” tools. Now we know that some of these can be intimidating to a new jeweler, so feel free to check out our tool tips listed at the end of this post. We also use these tools in quite a few of our WUB University classes, so if you feel more comfortable trying them out with supervision come check out a class!

(1) Jumbo Torch, $39.95; (2) Power Punch Pliers, $34.95; (3) Brass Hammer, $24.99; (4) Drill Press, $99.95; (5) Oval Bracelet Mandrel, $44.95; (6) Metal Cutting Shears, $14.95; (7) Industrial Tube Wringer, $24.95; (8) Jeweler’s Saw, $11.50.

Tutorials and Tips:

Click Here to view our Jumbo Torch Tutorial

Click here to learn about the Power Punch Pliers

Try out this project using the Metal Cutting Shears

Whats your favorite power tool to use when you make jewelry?


Wacky, Wonky, and a little Wild

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

If you’ve been making jewelry for very long, then we would bet you have something in your stash that you would categorize as “ugly” jewelry. A failed project, a half-attempt in a new medium, a piece from your early days that now seems childish. We all have them! When we started talking about doing a blog on rejected jewelry pieces we asked everyone on staff to bring something, and every single person came up with not just one, but several pieces!

Jewelry making is a creative art form, and like any other art form there is a learning curve. It is rare that someone creates magnificent, award-worthy jewelry every time, or right away. There are some pictures in here that represent the “learning days” of some WUB staff members. They are a representation of the concept that sometimes what you picture in your head isn’t what you get in reality.

There is also a personal sense of taste to account for. What one person may view as rubbish the next may see as charming. So, perhaps there is a piece pictured here that you think is great, or maybe a friend has told you how much they love a piece that you had discounted as a flop. We all see the world differently, and can see beauty where others don’t.

So, embrace your “ugly” jewelry! Its all part of the process.


Texturing it up!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Texturing is one of our favorite methods for adding dimension and character to our jewelry here at Wired Up Beads. If you ever happen to stop by the studio when we have a metal-working class or project in the works you might want to bring some earplugs, because we don’t hold back when it comes to using our favorite texturing tools! Last week’s staff development was a fun morning of creating earrings from copper and experimenting with various texturing techniques. Below you can see some of the fun designs the staff came up with!



There are many ways to take your jewelry to the next level with texturing. Whether you are using a simple chasing hammer technique or engaging in “guerilla” texturing, you are sure to add an element of authenticity to your work and have a blast doing it! Take the earring below for example. It was textured using the Crosshatch/Stars Texturing Hammer–you can see the raw quality the texture gives to the earring to complete the overall look.












Another hammer that provides a similar texture is the Euro Tool Texturing Hammer with 9 Faces. It has the cross-hatch design and 8 other fun texturing faces!










Below is a fun charm-style earring design. This look was created using a standard dome-faced chasing hammer. This texture can be re-created by using the small end of your hammer at an angle, hammering lightly until you achieve the desired level of texture. This is an excellent way to add clean and simple texture to a piece. We have two chasing hammers that we just love here at Wired Up Beads. One is our standard Dome-Face Chasing Hammer, which you will find in our classroom at all times, and the other is our Fretz Chasing Hammer, a top-of-the-line hammer that produces bench-jeweler level results.










This last earring design shows a different approach to texturing that provides a smooth, linear finish. This design was created using the striped side of one of Euro Tool’s two-sided texturing hammers. The hammers are the Dimpled/ Narrow Stripe and the Checkered/Wide Stripe. This style of texturing lends itself well to creating a unique, fluid dimensionality in your work.












When you are in the mood for an experiment, try your hand at “guerilla” texturing. This method doesn’t require a special hammer or stamp to complete, you find your texture in the world around you! One of our favorites is concrete–you just take your metal outside and use the concrete as your texturing surface. You would be surprised at what a unique and interesting texture you can get with this technique. You can check out our full line of texturing hammers by clicking this link: Wired Up Beads: Hammers.

What are your favorite ways to texture a piece? We want to hear your tips and tricks!