Today we are going to be troubleshooting loops. What is the perfect loop? If it’s not perfect, how do I fix it?
Before we get started, make sure you watch to the end of the video where I will discuss ways to correct the imperfect loops because, you will make them – we all do. I do recommend you watch the video for this one, but I’ll give you my best tips below, just in case.
What is a Perfect Loop?
- It’s perfectly round. If it’s not perfectly round, it won’t look neat and tidy.
- It’s centred on the wire. If it’s not centred, your piece will not hang right.
- It is the correct size. If your loops are different sizes, it won’t look neat, but it also will affect the length of your piece. For example, if you make earrings and your loops are different sizes, one earring could hang lower than the other.
Here are my tips for making the perfect loop.
Tip 1 – Mark Your Pliers
If you are making a lot of loops and you need them to be the same size, it’s a good idea to mark your pliers with a marker where you are going to make each loop.
Some people mark their pliers in several places. You can do that but if you’re making one size loop for a project, I would keep it simple. You can remove the marker with a bit of window cleaner and remark if you need to change where the mark is.
Decide which side of the mark you are going to use. For example, my marker leaves a mark which is about 2mm wide. If is I use the side closest to the tip for one loop, then the side farthest from the tip for the other, my loops will be different sizes.
Tip 2 - Make a Right-Angled Bend
The bend will ensure that your loop is centred on the wire.
There are several schools of thought here – some people prefer to make the bend before making the loop and some prefer to make it after. Personally, I’m in the before camp for one reason – you get a nice crisp bend. If I try and bend the wire after I’ve made the loop, I’m never happy with it. Having a nice sharp bend makes the loop hang perfectly.
That doesn’t mean that I never do it – sometimes a project requires that you make the bend after you’ve made the loop and that’s OK.
Tip 3 - Measure Before Cutting
Measuring the wire every time will ensure each loop uses the same amount of wire, therefore making them the right size if you have used the same spot on your pliers.
There are several ways you can measure your wire.
Firstly, you can use a ruler. After you’ve bent your wire, lay the wire down and line up the bend with the 0 (or 1). You can mark where you want to cut.
If you struggle with the ruler, you can make this little tool from a piece of plastic. All I’ve done here is cut a 1cm square out of the corner of the plastic.
If you want to figure out where to cut your wire, you can make one loop the right size, then mark where it hits the tail and then pull it back as straight as you can, so that you can measure it. Now you will know exactly how big the loop is that you make when using the cut length of wire on the mark. You can actually do this before you cut the wire and just mark where it crosses over.
Another way you can measure your wire is to use a bead.
Personally, I don’t like this method because the length of the cut wire depends on where you place your bead. For example, if I have a hard 90-degree bend and put my bead on, the length of the cut will be longer than if I use a lesser bend.
Tip 4 - Use a Flush CutThe flush cut will ensure that the tip of the wire sits nicely against the tail. This is vital if you want perfect loops. I’ve talked about using the flush side of your cutters endlessly, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. If you use the side of your cutters with the divot, your cut will be pointed. If you use the flush side of your cutters, the cut will be straight. In order for the tip of the wire to sit perfectly against the tail, it needs to be a straight flush cut.
Tip 5 - Tip of the Wire is Flush With the Pliers
Ensure that the tip of the wire is flush with the pliers. This will ensure that the tip is bent around. If your wire is sticking up past the pliers, the tip of the wire will not sit perfectly against the tail.
When you put your wire inside the jaws of your pliers, you want to make sure that it’s not sticking up above the pliers. You can check this by running your finger over the top.
Tip 6 - Turn as Many Times as You Need To
Don’t try and make the loop in one go. You can’t move your hand around that far. When you turn your hand, just release a little and then turn the pliers again. Do this as many times as you need to so that the tip touches the tail.
Let’s talk about what can go wrong and how to fix it.
Loop Is Not Straight
This one is easy, just take the loop in your chain nose pliers and straighten it.
Loop Is Not Centred
There are times when you want a non-centred loop, for example, you might want a P loop on a memory wire bracelet, like this one.
But what if you’ve made a loop and it’s not centred.
To fix this, hold the loop in your chain nose pliers with the jaws at the bottom of the loop. Holding the tail right where it comes out of the pliers between your finger and thumb, place your fingernail hard up against the pliers. Bend the wire towards the tip of the pliers.
Teardrop Shaped Loops
This happens with your wire is not flush with the round nose pliers.
To fix this you can pull the loop back a bit and if necessary, trim off the very tip of the wire, then re-bend the loop.
Loop Crossed Over
This doesn’t happen very often. This means also that your wire has not been flush with the round nose pliers.
To fix this, you bend it out slightly so that you can get in nice and close with the flush cutters. Then, using the flush side of your cutters, trim off the excess. Use the chain nose pliers again to squeeze it shut.
Tip 1 - Mark your pliers.
Tip 2 - Make a right-angle bend.
Tip 3 - Measure before cutting.
Tip 4 - Use a flush cut.
Tip 5 - Ensure the tip of the wire is flush with the pliers.
Tip 6 - Turn your hand as many times as you need to.
Jewellery I’m Wearing
In this week's video, I'm wearing my Summer Forever Turquoise Necklace.
The earrings that I'm wearing are the lower most dangle (just the part with the turquoise bead) added to an earhook.
I really hope that this tutorial has helped you on your loop making journey, taking your jewellery making to the next level.
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