Saturday, February 16, 2013

FREE Tutorial: Spring Links

"Spring Links" are bold, chunky wire links that look great with rustic beads and pendants like my handmade ceramic pieces pictured above. I like using spring links because they're quick and easy to make and add a lot of length to necklaces and bracelets without using too much wire.
I used three feet of 14-gauge round, dead-soft copper wire to make my links as pictured, but you could use 18, 16, or 12-gauge wire in the color of your choice—silver, gold-filled, copper or brass. These links even look good in colored craft wire.
To begin, clean three to four feet of wire using 0000-steel wool or a polishing cloth. Flush-cutting the wire is not necessary at this stage. Begin to form a coil of wire on a tool such as round-nose pliers or—my personal favorite—Wubbers Large Round Mandrels. Note in the picture above that the long end of the wire is coming over to the right of the cut end of the wire. This is very important, because it will cause you to form the coil to the right, or toward the box-joint on the tool:
As you can see in the picture below, forming the coil to the right causes it to "grow" to the left, or toward the tip of the tool. You could coil any length of wire you choose this way, and never run out of mandrel to form the coil:
The last half-inch or so of straight wire will have to be pressed down firmly against the mandrel using either flat-nose or chain-nose pliers:
Next, flush-cut one wire end using large, heavy-duty cutters such as the Tronex (number 5612) flush cutter shown below:
Use your chain-nose pliers to help count off six links in the coil, and then crank the wire back as shown below:
Flush-cut this short length of coil, as indicated below:
Use chain-nose pliers to bend up one loop on each end of the short coil, as shown:
Continue flush-cutting short coils off the long coil, and bend up a loop on each end to make lots of spring links:
Option: Hammer the rounded edge of each loop on your spring links to add some character:
Notice that some spring links have loops that are on the same plain (bottom link shown below) and some are at right angles to each other. There's a use for each type of spring link, and it really depends on how you wish to design your jewelry:
Variations on this link include:
Making coils of different diameters
Making coils longer or shorter
Using different gauges of wire
Using different metal colors; i.e. copper, silver, gold-filled or brass
I hope you've enjoyed this free tutorial! If you like having your instructions on video, I offer four very popular instructional DVDs in my etsy store. You can read more about them here.
Happy wrapping,Sharilyn


Jordana said...

Thanks for this nice little tutorial! The versatility is huge. I've got several of your publications, including Wire Art Jewelry, and my favoriate, Contemporary Copper Jewelry. Thank you for all you do :)

Ashar Gems said...

Great directions and very good looking link(s).

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Leslie Lim said...

I would like to share it with all my friends and hope they will like it too.


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