Today we’re going to talk about a little known trick that will help you finish your weaving wires cleanly. Every time.
Most wire weaving tutorials instruct you to trim your weaving wire when you reach the end of a weave. But that doesn’t work very well, does it? Even the best flush cutters will leave a sharp bit of wire sticking up out of your weave.
So, then you’re told to tuck that sharp point in somewhere in the weave where it won’t catch on anything. But again, that doesn’t always work. As long as the end of your weaving wire is exposed above the surface of the weave, it’s a liability. It can catch on hair or clothing. It can irritate delicate skin. And it can even unravel, which could potentially weaken the structural integrity of the entire piece.
So, how can we solve this problem, once and for all? The answer to that question is surprisingly simple. We’re going to work with the natural properties of our wire to achieve a clean and smooth finish on weaves. Instead of trimming those wire tails off, we’re going to break them instead.
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The Secret to Finishing Weaving Wires Cleanly
Trimming wire tails with wire cutters will always leave a tiny bit of wire sticking up out of the weave. It’s pretty much inevitable. You can minimize the problem to some degree by using a pair of good quality flush cutters. But you’ll never eliminate that problem entirely. Not by using a tool, that is.
A better way to finish your weaving wires neatly is to use your wire’s tendency to break to your advantage. The beauty of this trick is that it works on any weave, or even on coils. And it works for pretty much any small gauge wire that you’ll use for weaving or for securing light-weight beads.
Here’s how to break your weaving wire tails:
Make sure your weave is nice and compact. Then grip the wire tail firmly about a half inch above the surface of the weave.
While pulling the wire tail taught, gently swirl it around in a circle. Make sure you keep even tension on the wire the whole time.
This will cause the wire to work harden just at the point were the wire passes between two core wires. And as you know, wire will only work harden to a certain point before it becomes brittle and breaks.
As you swirl the tail in a circle, you’ll actually be able to feel the wire reach its breaking point. And when it does break, it nearly always does so just beneath the surface of your weave.
That means no more sharp pointy bits sticking up out of your weaves. Yes!
Seven Helpful Tips to Get the Most Out of This Wire Finishing Technique
- This technique works best on small wire gauges (24ga and lighter)
- Even tension is the key. If you relax your grip while work hardening the wire, it could break above the surface of the weave. And then you’ll have a sharp pointy bit sticking up out of your weave. Just like when you trim wire tails using your wire cutters.
- Always break your weaving wires off between two core wires if you can.
- If your weave spans four or more core wires, break the tails off in the center of the weave. Between core wires 2 & 3, for instance.
- Always look for a point in the weave where the wire is wrapped completely around a single core wire. That’s the most secure place to break your weaving wires.
- When breaking off tails on a coiled wire, it’s not always possible to do so between two core wires. In that case, use the thumbnail on your free hand to firmly press the weaving wire against the core wire. Then swirl the wire tail as instructed above. This will help the broken end of the wire conform to the shape of the core wire.
- Pair this technique with the seamless wire splice to achieve nearly invisible splices.
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Thanks for joining me today. I hope this simple wire finishing technique spares you some frustration down the road. There’s nothing more annoying than having a piece returned for a refund or repair because a stray bit of weaving wire popped up out of the weave.
Want to learn more techniques like this one? I like to share useful wire weaving tips and tricks on my social media channels, and we have some great conversations about wire jewelry on Instagram. So be sure to connect with me @door44studios on Instagram, and Facebook to keep up with what’s happening behind Door 44.
Until next time, go make something beautiful!