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The Absolute Beginners Guide: Making Wire Jewelry
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Don’t miss the fourth book in the successful Absolute Beginners Guide series, Making Wire Jewelry! This user-friendly wireworking primer takes readers through the basics of wire types, tools, findings and more. Then it's on to progressive, fun-to-make projects designed to teach fundamental techniques and build confidence every step of the way.
96 pages • 300 color photos
Price: $21.95
Product Number: 64353
ISBN: 9780871164353
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The Absolute Beginners Series from Kalmbach Books is geared towards absolute beginners who are good visual learners. The steps are extensively explained and photographed.

This book, The Absolute Beginners Guide: Making Wire Jewelry is for novices who want to try making their own jewelry for the first time. There is no soldering and very little special equipment needed to make classics like drop earrings or wire chokers. Since it is a beginner's book, it's too basic for people with more experience, but might be good as a guide if you're teaching someone basics.

The introduction covers the tools and materials, all photographed and explained. You'll learn what different kinds of pliers are used, get ideas for mandrels, and learn about hammers and bench blocks. The author gives tips for working on a budget when you first get started using alternative tools. There is a brief section that explains tempering and work hardening wire. It also talks about beads and findings.

The techniques are taught in the projects, which are all very wearable. Picking the beads and metals helps you design pieces to suit your personality from the start. Each of the projects lists on top of the page the skills you'll learn doing it.

Following the projects you'll learn how to:

•Make loops for eye pins

•Open and close jump rings

•Make eye pin connectors

•Shape wire with a ball tip hammer

•Make wrapped loops

•Make tight spirals

•Make spiral components

•Make open spirals

•Make shaped components like S curves and U curves

•Make jump rings

•Make figure 8 links

•Make double spiral components

•Make clover leaf components

•Make a pin

•Make a spiral around a bead

•Design your own simple decorative headpins

•Make heart and hook clasp

•Make secure earring wires

•Make chains

•Wrap a wire with a finer gauge wire

•Make coil beads

•Make a frame

•Twist wires

•Make coil ends and a coil bail for cord

One of the final projects is a charm bracelet that uses the techniques you learned in the book.

This is just a great book for people just starting out. The clear photographs and text make it easy to follow. While most of the projects are feminine, with the right cord, beads and metal, the coil ends and coil bail and the coil bead are very wearable by young men as well. I used the coil ends and bail project to make a drilled dice necklace for myself and my son wants the necklace!

If you are looking for a good book for beginning to make wire jewelry, this is a good choice. It's not intimidating and very well explained.

-Shala Kerrigan, BellaOnline

Confession time. I do some wire work here and there and have been for several years. In a book titled The Absolute Beginners Guide: Making Wire Jewelry, I honestly did not think I would learn anything new.

I was wrong.

Martine has some very interesting tips that I wish I had thought of years ago.

However, let’s go back to the beginning. The premise of this book is a person with absolutely zero wire working skills can pick up a few basic tools, some wire, a few beads, plus this book, and make wire jewelry. I read this book cover to cover and can honestly say that yes, this is true. The photos are some of the best I’ve seen when it comes to showing the process of wire working. The instructions are concise. The projects ordered from super basic to what Callaghan calls a “Masterpiece Charm Bracelet” in which you make charms using the all techniques you have learned in the book.

There are helpful descriptions and photos of tools needed and tools that are optional, an explanation of wire types, beads and findings. Did you know that the word “findings” in the jewelry world came from the practice of goldsmiths making them from the scraps of metal found on their workbench at the end of the day? I didn’t! I always wondered why they were called that as it seemed a strange word for them.

The book contains 25 main projects each with alternative ideas and tips sprinkled throughout. After the masterpiece charm bracelet, there are 3 more projects (for a total of 28) that feel like “bonus” projects since they are small and come after the masterpiece charm bracelet.

If you work through the book from beginning to end, there is no reason you couldn’t be making wonderful wire jewelry by the end of the book. But it’s set up so you can create a successful piece of jewelry even if you don’t get past the 1st project.

If you are an experienced wireworker, this book is probably not for you. If you are interested in it, you might want to visit your local bookstore or maybe see if they will get it at your library so you can preview it before spending money on it.

-Glass Addictions, Jen Cameron

This book's cover states it contains "everything you need to know to get started," and that's the absolute truth. Martine Callaghan provides us with a thorough introduction to metal wire types, gauge, temper (resistance) and shapes, and wire's various uses in jewelry. She also discusses tools and workspaces, as well as various beads and findings.

The projects start off easy and progress as the beginner learns and masters various techniques, though none of them are overly challenging. In short, perfect for beginners. The designs are varied and beautiful, with over 28 projects that include designs for drop earrings, various charm, bead and jump ring bracelets, necklaces (I personally love "Cleopatra's circlet"), pendants, chokers and brooches. Of special interest to me were the making of jump rings - a definite money-saving tip - as well as links, earring wires and rings.

Though geared for the beginner, even a pro will find useful information in this publication, as well as plenty of inspiration for creative designs. Beautiful illustrations, clear directions make this a must for anyone branching into wire jewelry and jewelry design.

-Linda Morelli,
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