While working with the jewelry supplies I have, I came to a realization. It was something I already knew, but it just hit home how much I honestly detest jump rings hahaa. Like, I see a tutorial, and when it uses jump rings I instantly go “OK I can do this instead of using jump rings because like hell I am going to try and open and close those”. I tinkered with chain mail a year ago or so, and it was just really, really difficult for me to tell when a ring was closed or not. I couuuuuld get a jump ring opener, but honestly, I like the decorative twist my work around adds, and it is doable just with the wire you’re using (or, adding some extra wire to your piece). I will say that it adds a bit more length to whatever you’re making than a jump ring would, depending on how many wraps you make, but it’s just soooo much easier for me than jump rings so the pros outweigh the cons. Of course, it comes down to your personal preference: Just figured I’d share my methods for attaching pieces together without jump rings, so here we go~
Both methods have the same process: Making a wrapped loop at the end of the piece. The variations on these are, either making the wrapped loop attached to the piece with a piece of unfinished wire, or just taking a small piece of wire, and making a wire wrapped loop dangle as its own component, attaching it to the charm or beads you want to attach. Doing this has a few, easy steps:
Cut a small piece of wire, the longer the better, in case you make a mistake and have to snip some off. I don’t measure…anything, really, so just eyeball measure as much as you think you need.
Take your flat nose, or chain nose pliers. Bend the wire, so it’s shaped like an “L”.
Take your round nose pliers. Put them at where you made the bend, then curve the wire around the pliers, and have it cross over the wire so it’s shaping an “X” but with a circle at the bottom of it (That circle at the bottom is the loop you just made). I guess it can be considered a teardrop with an “X” at the top of it, too.
Make 2 or 3 wraps, depending on how many wraps you want to add to your piece. Keep in mind that the more wraps you make, the longer the dangle will become. You can also just make a loop without wrapping, once again it’s all up to you and your preference.
Take the other end of the wire, which has remained straight the entire time and make a loop with it. If you’re adding a charm, or beads, then add those first, then make your loop locking the charm or bead inside. Note: Try to keep your beads or charms in place with your other hand, because it likes to move around! Make a loop big enough to accommodate your charms or beads, but also one that’s the size you want. This is the trickiest part, and took me the longest to master.
If you’ve added a charm or bead, and want it to face a certain way (like, so the charm isn’t dangling sideways and not visible when you’re wearing a necklace or something) take some flat nose pliers, or chain nose pliers, and adjust the loop until the charm or beads are facing the way you want them. With thinner gauges of wire, you can use your hands to adjust, and hey, if you have Superman hand strength, perhaps you can even adjust thicker gauges of wire! Just be careful to not do this too much, because there is the possibility of breaking the wire. Also do it gently, so you don’t mark the wire with your pliers.
That’s all there really is to it – I use this all the time, and I’m telling you that is just saves me from so much stress when it comes to putting finishing touches on my pieces. I’ve used this to attach earrings to ear wires, add charms to necklaces, and even to make the eye part of a hook and eye clasp. And, you can also do the flip side of this: Making a loop on your necklace or bracelet, then connecting a handmade clasp with the method above. Personally, I find it flows a lot nicer than throwing a jump ring on, because it looks like another part of the piece if you proportion it right, and all it takes is practice and some wire. Granted, opening and closing jump rings does too, but pshaw I can’t be bothered with that 😄
What about you, have you found alternative ways to do popular jewelry techniques? Do you find them better, worse, the same as the traditional method? I’m starting to play around with doing a lot of traditional techniques a “non-traditional” way, and I have been liking my way of doing things 😄 not that the normal way is bad or anything, it’s just fun to experiment, and learn that way for me.