Letters in Wire 1

 

Making most letters out of wire is relatively easy although a few of the letters are more difficult to make.  The problem with is in how those letters can be successfully integrated into jewelry.  This series of web pages will describe the techniques to make letters approximately 1" tall using our WigJig Delphi jewelry making tool and some Super Pegs.

 Making letters in the larger gauges of wire (16 gauge) is more difficult than when using the smaller gauges of wire (18 or 20 gauge) but the larger the wire the more survivable the letters will be.  For this reason, we suggest that you practice making these letters in 20 gauge practice wire and use either 18 or preferably 16 gauge wire for your finished product. 

In most cases, the best way to incorporate these letters into jewelry is as a "pendant" in a necklace.  The letters can be made to hang from the top of the letter.  Beads can be added to the bottom of the letter to add weight.  The additional weight will help the relatively light wire letters to hang properly.
 

Letters Jewelry Making Project

Wire Letters

Letter Grid

Jewelry Supplies:

  • 5 inches of 16, 18 or 20 gauge wire (preferably 1/2 hard) per letter

Tools Required:

  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Flush Cutter
  • Bent Chain Nose Pliers
  • WigJig Delphi, or Centaur
  • Two3/16", two  5/16" Super Pegs and one 5/8" Super Peg (sold as part of the Large Round Super Pegs)
  • Fine Step Jaw Pliers (Optional)
  • Nylon Jaw Pliers (recommended)
  • 30 minutes of free time

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

  • Use of a WigJig to make wire components.

 

The peg patterns for making letters are rather straightforward.  Remember to use the diagonal axis of the jig and use a 5x5 matrix of holes as the basis for your letters. This will allow you to make consistently shaped letters exactly 1 inch tall.  Use a 5/8" Super Peg for large rounded letters like the O, Q, and G and use 5/16" Super Pegs for letters like a B, R and S that require a rounded shape that is 1/2 of the height of the letter.  Finally you can use either 3/16" Super Pegs for letters like W or M, or you can use regular metal pegs to allow you to make a rounded W or an angular W. 

For those wire workers who want a little help in developing the patterns for letters and need step-by-step instructions on how to make each letter, we have an online book that provides these instructions.  You can view this online book here.

The following web page will provide samples of these letters made using the instructions from the online book.

Wire Letters

 

 

Letter Grid

 

 

   

 

Making letters is half of the battle.  The other half is what you do with them after you've made them.  In most cases, letters made in wire are not strong enough to be used as a jewelry component by themselves.  The letters will be more permanent if they are glued to a metal backing.  The metal backing provides the strength to make sure that the letters retain their shape. 

While using a metal sheet for backing is recommended, in the case of some custom jewelry applications, using a metal sheet may not be practical.  Where this is the case, we recommend making a custom hanger for your letters converting a letter into a pendant. 

 

 

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