Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Soldering Block Basics

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Here at WUB we are big metalwork enthusiasts, and we offer a broad variety of classes on the topic in the hopes of inspiring both those new to jewelry-making and those who are wizened veterans of the trade. As a result, we often get questions from our customers who need help setting up a jewelry-making workspace at home. We love to share our trade secrets with them, letting them know about unconventional short-cuts and tips that can help them advance their skills and enjoy the creative process.

So, in an effort to share this kind of inside knowledge with all of our customers we are starting a new series in our blog that will offer all the information you will need to help you choose the right tools for your studio! This week we are featuring soldering blocks that are best for beginners.

The Magnesia Block



  • Lightweight, smaller in size than other block surfaces, convenient to use.
  • Non-Asbestos, clean, long-lasting surface with very little dust.
  • Can withstand temperatures up to 2000 degrees.
  • Has a smooth surface for fine work such as filigree.
  • Inexpensive to purchase and replace.
  • Non-asbestos, fireproof fibrous material that is soft enough to be pinned into.

The Fire Brick: Economical, and Good All-Around Block

Typically $5-$8

  • Good all-purpose soldering surface that is economical to use.
  • Long lasting and will withstand temperatures over 2000 degrees.
  • Easy to control your heat and not as “reflective” as some surfaces.
  • Soft enough to be pinned into.
  • Full size block offers a larger work area.

(A note on this block: though we carry it in store we are not able to sell it online because we can’t guarantee any certain size or shape)

Heetrix :Hard Solderite Surface


  • Durable and Asbestos-free.
  • Smooth, clean surface with very little dust.
  • Fairly hard so as not to flake or crumble, and will not accept pins.
  • Highly reflective surface–your work heats more quickly, saving fuel.  For beginners, heat control may take a little practice in order to avoid overheating/melting your piece.
  • Clean, long-lasting surface with very little dust.
  • Can withstand temperatures up to 1700 degrees.

If you have questions of your own or any tools you are curious about, let us know and we will feature it in a future blog!

Taking Control of the Mess

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

“Creating art can sometimes be a messy job.”

-Eric Carl-

If you are a Type A sort of person, when you start a project you probably make a minimal mess and then compulsively clean it up as soon as you are done. For the rest of us, keeping a sense of order takes a more conscious effort (we are easily distracted). Often this means the “craft room” takes a hit–and ends up looking like the victim of a natural disaster. Take this photo we found online for example:

It definitely evokes that same overwhelmed feeling that takes over at the end of a project doesn’t it? That moment when you’re suddenly aware of the chaos you’ve created. But fear not! There are a lot of ways to wrangle in the mess and make your creative space a more inspiring environment. Here are a couple of articles that can help you get started:

TLC: How to Organize a Craft Room

DIY DISH: “Green” Craft Room Organization

Here at Wired Up Beads, we are familiar with the concept of “wrangling the mess”. With classes, new products, and staff projects in the works there is always something new going on and that means there is always something to organize! With the launch of our new website these organization tasks have become even more important, and we’ve gotten a whole new system going. Our most recent additions to the website and to our own organization routine are the Best Craft Organizer storage solutions. They are helping us manage our mess, and we are so excited about them that we decided to offer them to our customers as well.

(WUB Tip: Right now all our Storage products are 25% off!)


What do you think readers? Are you ready to get your creative space under control?


Gems of Inspiration

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

If any of you have ordered online from us recently, you’ve probably noticed the colorful index-sized cards placed in your package. If you haven’t yet, be on the lookout! These cards are little treasures designed to inspire and instruct about all kinds of topics related to jewelry-making. They are all a part of the Creative Gems – A Treasury of Ideas collection.

Designed to enhance your skills and inspire your imagination, this series will include topics such as:

• Work with wire to create free-form designs

• Use shape as a catalyst for design inspiration

• Create custom ear wires to enhance your earring designs

• Increase your color confidence

• Gain mastery of your tools

And many many more!

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned jewelry maker, this series will earn a place of value on your jeweler’s bench. We are also now introducing a special collectors file box (pictured above), designed to house all of your collector cards. At your workspace or on the go, keep your Creative Gems organized and on hand for creative inspiration.

Starting your collection of Creative Gems is easy! The cards are free with any order from Wired Up  Beads, and we will be sending out a new one every 3-4 weeks. To get your special collectors file box simply make an order of USD $30.00 or more, put the collector’s box in your shopping cart, and we will ship it with your order for free! (Limit one per customer!)

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Have you started your collection yet? Let us know what you think about the cards, and if you have any suggestions for what topics you would like us to cover.

Stamping Inspiration!

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Stamping is one of those fundamental building blocks of metalworking that can be intimidating. It all seems simple from afar, but once you have that hammer and stamp in hand you start to realize it isn’t as easy as it seems: your letters are all wonky, you can only get half a leaf to imprint, and you hit your thumb too many times to count. Don’t give up, we’ve all been there! We have a few helpful hints to make your next stamping project a success.

These are some of our favorite stamping tools:

(1) Thumb-Saver, $18.95; (2) 40 Hole Stamp Stand, $9.50;(3) Bench Block Helper, $29.75; (4) Small Economy Disc Cutters, $51.95; (5) Nickel Silver Discs, $10.50; (6) Leaflet Stamp, $9.25; (7) 1 lb. Brass Hammer, $24.99; (8) Nail Head Rivets, $3.00; (9) Sleeping in the Clover Stamp, $9.25; (10) Red Brass Sheet Metal, $6.25; (11) Circle with Lines Stamp, $9.25.

We have also been really inspired by the projects in this book:


There are some basic guidelines for stamping that are helpful to know:

  1. Always practice your design on scrap metal first.
  2. Hold your stamp as straight as possible, otherwise you may not get a complete image.
  3. Hit your stamp firmly–a heavier hammer can help you do this without straining yourself. Our 1 lb Brass Hammer works well for this type of job.
  4. If you are stamping a word, it helps to use masking tape or a sticky note to line your letters up against.
  5. Sharpie can be removed from metal with steel wool or during the  pickling process, so you can use one to outline your design.

It takes a while to get used to the process, but with a little practice you’ll be a pro in no time!

Below are some photographs from a Staff Development we did on stamping–there are only 3 or so of us that would be considered stamping “experts”–the rest of us are novices. We had a great time though, and our pieces didn’t turn out half bad!

So get out there and try some stamping, we know you’ll come up with some great projects!




The Art of Gift Giving

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

” Something handmade is so much more meaningful”

–Beth Wert–

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means that children everywhere, from little kids to adults, are shopping for their moms.

You can make her something that is beautiful and more meaningful than picking up something generic at the store. Don’t forget to check out our wide range of products, they are sure to inspire something your mom will love!

(1) Vintaj Chain $6/ft. (2) English Meadow Glass Beads, $7. (3) Sterling Headpins, $8.90/pkg. (4) Turquoise Nouveau Button, $3. (5) 12  g Aluminum Wire, $7.50. (6) Vintage Silver Watch Face, $7.50. (7) Purple Hydrangea Micro Suede, .67/yd. (8) Sterling 24 mm Ear Wire, $1.32/pair. (9) Hill Tribe Shining Heart, $4. (10) Book-Mixed Metals, $22.95. (11) Wild Flowers Fastenables, $6. (12) Made with Love Charm, $9.45. (13) Wubbers Looping Pliers, $28.95.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our free tutorials, we have some really fun designs posted and the videos and step-by-step instructions will ensure you get a professional-looking final product. You can access that part of our website by clicking on the link below, or by clicking the “Tutorials” tab on our homepage.

Wired Up Beads Free Tutorials

Do you have any gift-giving suggestions to offer up? We would love to hear them, so feel free to leave a comment or shoot us an email so we can share your tips!