CONNECTING JEWELRY COMPONENTS
Free instructions for making Figure 8 Connectors out of jewelry wire using common jewelry making hand tools:
We discuss the figure 8 connector many times in this web site. The reason is simple -- we use the figure 8, or a similar connector that we call a modified figure 8 connector, frequently. It can be used to connect a clasp to a chain. It can be used to connect an earring body to an ear wire finding. Frequently we use a figure 8 connector as a way to connect two loops, that would be otherwise impractical to connect, for a variety of reasons including a size mismatch. We also use a figure 8 connector as shown above-right to connect two loops and change the orientation of the loops that are connected. This approach is frequently used when connecting an earring body to an ear wire as shown at left. Using the figure 8 connector allows us to change the orientation of the earring body, so that in this case it will hang parallel to the wearer's ear. Please select here to view our free You Tube video on making jump rings and figure 8 connectors. Instructions for making a figure 8 connector begin below.
Jewelry Making Supplies Required:
• 18 or 20 Gauge jewelry wire
Jewelry Making Tools Required:
• Round nose pliers
• Nylon jaw pliers
• Flush cutter
• Chain nose or bent chain nose pliers
• Step jaw pliers
Jewelry Making Skills Required:
• Ability to cut jewelry wire using flush cutter jewelry tool.
• Ability to make a "p" loop in jewelry wire using round nose pliers jewelry tools.
• Ability to open and close loops in jewelry wire using chain nose pliers jewelry tools.
• Ability to straighten jewelry wire using nylon jaw pliers jewelry tool.
• Ability to make a figure 8 connector using common jewelry tools described below.
Step-by-step instructions for making figure 8 connectors using the above set of jewelry tools:
Step 1: Select a piece of jewelry wire at least 1 1/2" long. Make a regular "P" loop in one end of this wire using your round nose pliers jewelry tool.
Step 2: Hold this loop and straighten the jewelry wire using your nylon jaw pliers.
Step 3: Now using your round nose pliers again, grip the jewelry wire as shown below. Try to grip the jewelry wire at the same point in your pliers as you used when you made your first loop in step 1.
Step 4: Using your thumb, push the jewelry wire up and over the jaw of your pliers making a second loop in the wire.
Step 5: Now re-position the jewelry wire in the jaws of your pliers so that you can tightly finish this second loop. Your jewelry wire should be in the position shown below-left. Pull the jewelry wire so that the second loop in the wire rests tightly against the jaws of your pliers making it a round loop.
Step 6: Remove the jewelry wire from your pliers and using your flush cutter jewelry tool cut the wire at the point where the wire tail crosses the figure 8 connector.
Step 7: Using your bent chain nose pliers close this final loop and you have a completed figure 8 connector.
Many times you will find that you need to make a lot of figure 8 connectors. Below we will discuss the technique for making many figure 8 connectors while economizing on jewelry wire.
Step-by-step instructions for making multiple Figure 8 Connectors using common jewelry tools:
In the above page, we discussed how to make a single figure 8 connector. On this page, we will discuss how to make a lot of figure 8 connectors while conserving your wire.
Step 1: Straighten a segment of jewelry wire at least 1 inch long. Be certain that you have a flush cut on the end of the wire. See the picture below-left.
Step 2: Grasp near the end of the jewelry wire with your Fine Step Jaw Pliers jewelry tool. See the picture below-center.
Step 3: Make a loop in the end of the jewelry wire. This is a two or three step process. You will need to twist the pliers to make a partial loop, then re-orientate the wire so that you can complete the loop. In the picture below-right, you can see that we need to squeeze and twist the pliers one more time until the loop is fully closed.
Step 4: Remove your jewelry wire from your pliers. You loop should appear as shown below-left.
Step 5: Now we need to make the second loop in the figure 8 connector. You can use your step jaw pliers, but perhaps the easiest way is to grasp the jewelry wire as near the first loop as possible with your round nose pliers. First, insert your round nose pliers into the initial loop so that you can see where on the round nose pliers you need to grip the jewelry wire so that both loops will be the same size. Then grip the jewelry wire at that point as shown below-center.
Step 6: Complete the second loop as shown below-right. This is a two or three step process as you will need to do about 1/2 a loop, then re-orientate the jewelry wire on your pliers so that you can fully complete the loop. After you have reoriented the wire, push the jewelry wire the rest of the way around the jaws of your pliers. When completed it will appear as shown.
Step 7: Remove the jewelry wire from the jaws of your pliers and it should appear as shown below-left.
Step 8: Now you need to cut the excess wire with your flush cutter. Position the flat side of your flush cutter as shown below-center and cut the wire at that point.
Step 9: Your finished figure 8 connector should appear as shown below-right.
Step 10: Because the cut of the jewelry wire in step 8 left a sharp end on the wire on your spool, in order to be ready to make your next figure 8 connector, you need to cut about 1/16 inch of wire off the end of the wire. Make the cut with the flat side of your flush cutter toward the spool of wire. Now you are ready to go back to step 1 and make your next figure 8 connector.
In some applications we need a connector similar to the figure 8 connector so that we can connect two loops that we would otherwise be unable to connect, but we do not want to change the orientation of the components being connected. For these situations we use a modified figure 8 connector made as described below.
Step-by-step instructions for making an Modified Figure 8 Connector using common jewelry tools:
The modified figure 8 connector is an important connector used to connect two loops without changing the orientation of the two components (as would occur if a regular figure 8 were used.) This component is important in connecting earring bodies to ear wires and in connecting two closed loops to one-another. The modified figure 8 connector appears as shown right. Instructions for making this connector begin below.
Step 1: Select a piece of jewelry wire at least 1 1/2 inches long. Using your round nose pliers, make a "P" loop in the end of the wire.
Step 2: Convert this "P" loop to an eye loop.
Step 3: Grasp the eye loop with your bent chain nose pliers and bend the wire tail about 90 degrees in the plane perpendicular to the loop that you just made. When completed the jewelry wire should appear as shown below-right.
Step 4: Using your round nose pliers grasp the wire tail near the 90 degree bend and make a loop in the wire. This will probably be a two step process as you will probably need to release your grip on the jewelry wire component and re-grip so that you can complete the loop without your pliers getting in the way. When completed the wire should appear as shown below-left.
Step 5: Cut the excess jewelry wire with your flush cutter jewelry tool.
Step 6: Close the final loop with your bent chain nose pliers jewelry tool and you have a completed modified figure 8 connector.
An alternative approach to making a modified figure 8 connector involves making a regular figure 8 connector and grasping each loop in a different pair of bent chain nose pliers. Once you are holding both loops tightly then twist one of the loops so that it ends up perpendicular to the other.
Making a Wrapped Figure 8 Connector out of jewelry wire using common jewelry tools:
Above we discussed making a conventional figure 8 connector. We also discussed making a modified figure 8 connector. Both of these connectors had open loops on either end. The connector that we will make here has loops that are wrapped closed and are therefore stronger. This type of connector would be appropriate to use for a jewelry component that required additional strength like a watchband. You can view a wrapped figure 8 connector at right. The steps involved to make this wrapped figure 8 connector are described below:
Step 1: Cut and straighten a piece of 20 gauge jewelry wire that is about 2 1/2 inches long. Soft jewelry wire will work, but 1/2 hard wire tends to work better if it is available.
Step 2: Using your round nose pliers make a loop in this jewelry wire segment about 3/4" from one end. The loop needs to be a complete loop as shown below-left.
Step 3: Again using your round nose pliers jewelry tool, make a second loop in the jewelry wire, adjacent to the first loop, but in the opposite direction. When done, your jewelry wire should be in a figure 8 shape with about 3/4" of excess wire on either side of the middle of the figure 8 as shown below center-left.
Step 4: At this point, you can open one side of the figure 8 using your bent chain nose pliers and slide one of the components you intend to connect into position as shown below, center-right. Now you are ready to wrap that end of the figure 8 connector closed.
Step 5: To wrap one side of the figure 8 connector closed, hold the figure 8 loop in your bent chain nose pliers and wrap the wire tail 180 degrees. In the picture shown above far-right, the short end of the wire is the end that was wrapped 180 degrees.
Step 6: Now connect the opposite end of the figure 8 to the other component that you want to connect as you did in step 4 and wrap that side of the wire 180 degrees as you did in step 5. Both sides of the figure 8 will now have about 1/2" of excess wire.
Step 7: Cut the excess wire on either side, leaving between 1/8" and 1/16" of excess wire on either end. This excess wire will be squeezed flat to complete the wrap.
Step 8: To complete the wrapped figure 8 connector, use your bent chain nose pliers to grasp one side of the figure 8 connector and using a second pair of bent chain nose pliers squeeze the cut end of the wire on that side of the figure 8 flat. Perform this same squeeze using two pair of bent chain nose pliers on the opposite side of the figure 8. This will complete your wrapped figure 8 connector as shown at right between the watch face and the heavy silver chain. The picture at left shows how two wrapped figure 8 connectors were used to make a watch band from a bracelet length segment of silver commercial chain. To complete this watch, the commercial chain bracelet was cut in the middle with sufficient links removed so that the overall length of the watch band with watch was 7 1/2" our target length. (Your target length could be different based upon the circumference of the intended wearer's wrist.) Because the figure 8 connector was wrapped closed, this watch band will be very strong.