Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Left Handed Loop Tutorial

Loops and wrapped loops are something quite a few beginning jewelers struggle with. The headpins purchased at most craft departments are steel and don't bend easily, making them think they are doing something wrong or just aren't very good at jewelers making. A nice loop does take a little practice and armed with a little how to and the proper tools it can be done quite easily.

To get started you will need wire or purchased head pins and a pair of round nose pliers

or forming pliers

and a pair of chain nose pliers.

flush cutter

and optional crimping plier

These days they have a one step looper tool -

but it won't make wrapped loops, those you still have to make yourself and I'm going to give you a quick tour of how I go about making them.

To make a simple loop drop a bead onto your head pin and using your thumb bend the wire over the top of the bead in an upside down L. The bead being on the straight portion. Grab the wire between the jaws of the pliers and roll.

Making a loop on a Head pin, WindDancer Studios, free tutorial
Using a head pin.

Continue rolling until it looks like a lollipop.
Trim the excess.

To make a link you'll do the same but loop both ends. Generally when making links I'll slide quite a few beads onto the wire and work from the roll. This saves time and wire.

Wind Dancer Studios, free tutorial, simple loop link
Using round nose pliers to make a simple loop link

Wind Dancer Studios, free tutorial, simple loop link
Using Forming Pliers to make a link.

To make a wrapped loop you'll do pretty much the same thing but you need to leave a space next to the bead for your wraps.

Wind Dancer Studios, free tutorial, wrapped loop link
Making a Wrapped Loop Link

This time we'll place our pliers next to the bead and rock it to the side. The tip of your plier leaves a little space between the bead and the bend.

Wrap the wire around the tips of your plier until you have your lollipop but don't cut the tail.

Grab the tail with your chain nose pliers and wrap it around the space beneath the loop. Wrap as straight across as you can and fill the space.

Trim the excess and tuck the end in close to the wraps with your chain nose pliers.

Sometimes wraps can be a little uneven or the tail just doesn't want to tuck all the way in.  A helpful hint in these cases is to use your crimping pliers and very gently squeeze around the wraps and tail end to even them out and tuck the tail.

Can you spot the wonky links?
Got going too fast on those....now I have to fix them.

The links I found for the pliers had great pictures that showed the pliers tips so you know what you're looking for. I also turned myself into a contortionist so you might have a better view of the plier tips as I worked. There are a full range of product price points and you should purchase what you are comfortable spending as you will get what you pay for when it comes to pliers. I have some really nice very expensive pliers that I absolutely love, I have some mid range pliers that are very nice and fit my hand beautifully and I have regular hardware store pliers that I've owned for many many years, they all do the job I want of them. Treat your toys and tools with respect and they'll last a long time.

I thought you might like also like to see a video of a right hander so you can see the motions. I often use both hands switching back and forth without thought so I thought this might help to see it both ways.

I hope you find this helpful or know of someone who might.

Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you next time!

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