Sunday, May 17, 2009

Finishing Neatly - My #1 TIP!!!

Oooh, I'll bet I got your attention with that one! Since details are what makes a piece (IMHO!!) I'm ALL ABOUT a neat finish on handmade items. I've seen people ask for critiques and complain that their wire jewelry isn't selling. Most of the time when I look at it,the major critique that I could offer is that they need practice in finishing.
Neat and intentional finishes are absolutely imperative! It is a bonus if it only takes seconds. So in the interest of creating those neat finishes in wirework, I'm going to offer my number one tip for creating a neat finish. This is an excerpt taken from my Winter Wreath Earring and Variations Tutorial. I actually love this tutorial, and teach it often - it features a simple earring style with lots of punch. But the real value is in the basic tips and technique, which make it infinitely versatile!

Here we go:
These next few steps are the method I use to get my wrap ends neat, and practically invisible. It virtually eliminates the issue of ends showing OR snagging - meaning that finding a 'no-show' place to tuck them in is a thing of the past!!!!!!!
Using chain nose pliers, flatten the end of the wire as shown. Use just enough force to flatten without too much spreading.
Create a long point on the tail by cutting a small diagonal with your flush cutters - on ONLY one side. Try to make the cut from one end of the flattened area to the other.
TIP: For this process, a short, almost horizontal cut is not useful. That's what leaves those gaps between wraps and beads!
IMPORTANT: If the pointed side is away from to the existing wraps, then the end result is almost like a flush cut, once everything is pressed down. If the point is reversed, or next to the wraps, as shown here - then it creates a more flush, but slightly conical ending that will 'disappear' into bead holes.
Lightly secure or 'tuck' the tail down onto the core wire with the chain nose pliers. Make sure the point is pressed down. Using a light pressure, rotate the pliers a few times around the wrap. I call this the 'Twist 'n Crimp' move. It doesn't take much force - just lightly skim the metal with the pliers as you rotate them. Repeat as necessary. The wrap should still be able to rotate on the core. This process is called 'burnishing'.
Because the tail was flattened, it will lie very close to the core. Because it was cut diagonally, there will not be a noticeable gap between the wrap and the subsequent work.

There you have it!

WinterWreathEarrings12Sometimes it can be difficult to tuck in that final end. Use the help of an extra set of pliers. I like bent chain nose pliers for this, because they hold the work securely, but offer more room to maneuver.
TIP:Try to stay away from your round nose pliers for this job, or any job that requires holding the wire firmly. Using them is the reason that most loops have divots and tool marks.

Hope this has been helpful, or at least enlightening. I know it seems like me being nit-picky to some folks - I hope it isn't the same ones who ask me how I get my work so neat and precise.

Be careful what you wish for, it might be far more detailed than than you thought!

Be gentle with yourselves,


Shuku on May 17, 2009 at 9:48 PM said...

Thank you so much Perri, this is exactly one of the headaches I've been trying to solve when it comes to finishing off work nicely (I'm nit-picky. I -really- hate badly finished work, including my own.) It's a wonderful tip!


Taka jest Poranna on May 17, 2009 at 11:17 PM said...

I used to have that problem, let me highlight "used to", because thanks to YOU, I don't have such a problem any more! thank you, thank you, thank you!!!:o)

Lou's addictions on May 18, 2009 at 12:28 AM said...

What an awesome tip, I love to see neatly finished work but could never figure out how to do it. Thank you for sharing some of your wisdom.

heartdancr on May 18, 2009 at 7:47 AM said...

that is an awesome tip! Thanks so much for sharing. It never occured to me that something like that would make a difference. Thanks!

Kathleen Krucoff on May 18, 2009 at 9:27 AM said...

Great tip Perri! Yes you got my attention. Thanks for sharing.

Perri on May 18, 2009 at 11:21 AM said...

You ladies are entirely welcome! I have my 'AHA!' moments - only fair to pass them on!

Mary Anne Gruen on May 18, 2009 at 1:09 PM said...

Really really great tip! Thank you so much! It's the little things.

SCJ Jewelry Design on May 18, 2009 at 3:20 PM said...

Wonderful tip! Thank you so much for sharing it here!

Shay Stone on May 18, 2009 at 11:38 PM said...

What great advice Perri. It makes me so happy to see artists sharing with one another and it's truly a superb way to finish a piece. I'll be doing it myself:)

mrs beadsley on May 20, 2009 at 2:27 PM said...

As always, a great tip......and really wonderfully illustrated! Thanks for being the generous being that you are! I really appreciate it Dah-ling!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Perry! Great tip. How kind of you to share. I'll put it to good use.

taueret on May 22, 2009 at 9:25 PM said...

thanks for calling my attention to the tutorial! I would love to see pics, or better yet a video of the moment where you actually tuck the end away. I wonder if the practice wire I am using is a lot stiffer than the silver you no doubt refer to?

Sheree on May 23, 2009 at 2:48 AM said...

Such a great tip, Perri! Makes perfect sense, thanks so much!!

Sparklyscotty on May 26, 2009 at 12:12 AM said...

I just found your blog, and your work is amazing! Can I interview you for The Jewelry Report

You can reach me at angel (at)

Jane Of Handmade Jewelry Club on June 10, 2009 at 7:47 AM said...

Hi, i enjoy reading your tutorial and would like to invite you to post your free and paid tutorials at, a social networking site for members to learn and share DIY Lessons. Hope it will take a look.

Anonymous said...

Thank you...this makes perfect sense.


WillowWalker on June 15, 2009 at 8:40 PM said...

Thanks for such a wonderful tip. I look forward to using it!

marymaryquitecontrary on July 22, 2009 at 3:33 AM said...

I am so happy I found you. This is a great tip. Can I ask you which brand of cutters would you recommend? I do not sell jewellry; I make for myself and my two daughters but still want to make it as perfect as is possible.

Perri on July 22, 2009 at 10:46 PM said...

I'm so happy that you folks got some useful info from this :^))
I AM a bit of a stickler on this stuff - but how many times have you seen just a gorgeous piece and then shook your head at the finish on it? Too many, I'll wager.

MaryMary - I've always wanted as neat a finish on my work as was possible - long before I started offering anything for sale. I am proud that you consider this useful. :^))
I personally use Lindstrom RX tools, but that is because I have to baby an old wrist break that involved the bones in my hand, too. My Lindstrom cutters are the super Flush variety. The only criticism I have about them is the cutting edge is a bit delicate and dulls more easily than my old cutters. I only use them for fine wire - smaller than 22g. The price on these is a bit steep for tight budgets - but I found the balance of necessary comfort and money an even trade.

I still use my old ergonomic flush cutters when needed - they hold a sharp edge well, and fit my hand comfortably. They are made in Italy by C.H.P. - many stores carry them - they have red and black curved handles. The price is really reasonable, too. I like the narrow shap points on these that allow you to get into lots of tight spaces, and are sharp to the absolute tips.
Hope this helps you!


Audrey on April 8, 2010 at 3:39 PM said...

HI Perri,
Finally!! The solution I've been looking for but never thought of on my own. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tip!

DocHolley on March 8, 2011 at 9:39 AM said...

Thank you for sharing this great tip !

Julia Hay on May 3, 2013 at 2:53 AM said...

Wonderful tip. Thank you so much. I will try it out on my next wire wrapping adventure. I might be able to get neat wraps after all.


Post a Comment


Shaktipaj Designs Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template