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Basic Wire Skills - Single Eye Pins
"In his studios he was engrossed --- quiet and distant to the extent that, although I kept my distance, at times I felt like an intruder. He would look away from his work only to locate a heavier gauge wire or to reach for a stronger pair of snips. If our eyes met, he wasn't always responsive. He would look away and go on with his work. If he got tired or lost his train of thought while working on one project, he would quickly move to another that had been interrupted before. He was soon absorbed in the delayed project, picking it up with fresh vigor".  Calder at Home by Pedro Guerrero
   Please don't underestimate the importance of the eye pin. Look through my gallery and notice how often eye pins are used. Even the bangles are essentially made on an eye pin. If you are using sumptuous  beads with a lot of detail, too many fancy dips and curls with the wire will overpower the eye. The quality of your work will be influenced by your ability to make good basic links such as eye pins. For your convenience, please click on the images below to see an enlarged view.

What You Need:

  • 12" to 24" of 16 gauge copper or silver wire
  • Flush or semi-flush wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
Click on thumbnails below to see an enlargement. 
Step 1.
      To begin, snip off 12" to 24" of 16 gauge wire to make a number of eye pins. If you are working with a really long piece of wire it can get unwieldy. Straighten the wire by running it through your fingers. Now, with your flush cutters, cut a bit off the end of your wire to achieve a clean, blunt cut. Safety Concern: Place your  finger above the top of the cutters to prevent the little flying missile from finding your eyes, or someone else's. Don't create another problem, however, by sticking your finger between the blades! The above photo is a little deceiving - my finger is just out of the way of being sliced.
Step 2.
      With your round nose pliers, place the wire between the jaws. Where you place the wire - up or down the jaw - will determine the size of the eye of your eye pin. Make sure that the end of the wire is just barely peeking out of the jaws on the right side of your pliers before you begin to bend.
Step 3.
      Rotate your pliers away from your body and with the thumb of your other hand press down on the wire. When you can go no further, release the wire, reposition your pliers and close the gap.
      The image at the right shows you what your developing eye pin hopefully looks like. Are you with me?
Step 4.
      Grasp the loop at the joint with the tip of your chain nose pliers. Position your hands in the same manner as seen in the photo (lefties reverse). Rotate your pliers towards your body with the index finger of your other hand pressing down on the neck of the eye pin near the joint.
Step 5.
      Place the lower prong of your round nose pliers inside the eye. Make sure the wire wraps snuggly around the prong. With your thumb pressing against the neck, rotate your pliers away from your body until the eye "sits on top" of the neck. Straighten the neck with your flat nose pliers if necessary. Congratulations, you have made an eye pin!

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