Making an eyepin is one of those basics that every wire work jewelry maker just has to know.
What is it? Simply put, it's a piece of wire with a loop on the end of it. This loop (or eye) does 2 things: it stops a bead from falling off the end of the wire, and it allows you to link or hang other things onto it.
18 or 20 gauge wire
chain-nosed or flat-nosed pliers
Step 1: Using your round-nosed pliers, grab the end of your wire. Rub your thumb against the jaw of the pliers where the wire is. You should just barely be able to feel the wire with your thumb.
Step 2: Leaning the pliers against the forefinger of your non-dominant hand, grab the length of wire with your thumb (same hand). Use your thumb to bend the wire around the round nose pliers to from a loop. Reposition the wire in the jaw of the pliers as needed.
Step 3: Now that you have the loop, you need to make a bend in the wire so that the loop sits nice and pretty on top of the wire. Insert the tip of your round-nosed pliers into your finished loop so that the two sides of the pliers meet at the spot where you need to make the bend. Now bend the wire back against the pliers with your thumb. I've heard people refer to this action as "breaking the neck".
Step 4: Use your chain-nosed or round-nosed pliers to straighten the loop if necessary
The finished eyepin! See how the loop sits nice and pretty on top of the straight piece of wire? Sort of like a lollipop.
Practice makes perfect! The first time you try to make an eyepin, it will not look like this. More than likely, it will be an ugly misshapen thing. Don't get discouraged. Just keep practicing.
Use cheapie wire like copper or craft wire to practice with. You do not want to wast your expensive sterling until you become good at rounding the loops properly.
Always remember to use a light touch when gripping the wire with your round-nosed pliers so you don't mar it too much.
A tip so serious it gets its own section:
Always bend the wire by using your FINGERS (usually the thumb) to press the wires against the or around the jaw of the pliers, rather than bend with the pliers.
Why? If you use the pliers to do your bending, you'll get more plier-jaw shaped dents than are necessary. Try to keep the pliers as stationary as possible and you'll get better results. This is true not just for making loops, but for manipulating the wire in any way.
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