▪ Jewelry Q & A ▪

As a wire and metal art jewelry artist and instructor, I get tons of questions. Many come from students asking me to clarify a particular skill or technique we covered in a class or workshop. Some questions come from other jewelry artists.

In all these instances I'm happy to share my experiences. However, I frequently get similar types of questions and, with a busy schedule, I needed a more efficient way to handle this important aspect of my business. So...I've created this forum of sorts where you — students, customers and other wire and metal art jewelry enthusiasts — can ask your questions and I will give my best responses right here.

But I want to make this an even better resource for everyone. So, if you're a wire or metal jewelry artisan yourself and you see a question in which you've found a better or more effective solution, then I'd love to see your comments as well.

First, see if your question falls into one of the following general categories. Then, just follow the link to the appropriate page. If you feel your wire or metal jewelry question is not suited to any of these categories, then just ask it right on this page!



Have a question about making wire jewelry?

Confused or unsure about a wire or metal art jewelry technique? Stuck on a project and need a little guidance? If you have a question that you think does not fit any of the categories listed above, then ask it right here and let's see if we can get you back on track.

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Other Questions Asked by Visitors

Click below to see questions and responses from other visitors to this page...

quartz tumbling?  
What's the best method on a rotary tumbler to polish quartz (rough) from grit/ two polishing. I used ceramic media all the way through and all it did was …

Self healing sound absorbing work mats 
I have seen several videos where the artist is using what she called a self healing, noise dampening rubber mat on her work surface. Does anyone know what …

Is it ok to tumble a bezel settign prior to setting the stone? 
I will soon be entering the world of setting some stones in bezels for pendants earrings and such and was wondering if I should complete the piece first …

An "in-gauging" question 
First off I want to thank you for your site! So much info available for free. Unfortunately, in my journey to learn metal work I have not always found …

Tumbling ear nuts 
Do you know of an easy way to contain ear nuts in the tumbler so that they are easy to find after finished tumbling? Searching through the shot for hours …

Lacquered 
Hello Stacy, I really enjoyed your site with all the creative work that you do. In reading some of your step in the process I see you use lacquer, is this …

Compounds 
Do you use compounds in your polishing process? If so, which ones works for you. I am a newbie to working with metals and always looking for information …

Etching Fine Silver (.999) 
Hi Stacy...I just stumbled upon your site, and I love it! I mostly work with fine silver sheet and wire. I love that I don't need to polish it as much …

Tip for cutting sheet metal 
Hi Stacy, Just wanted to give a tip. I aquired an old fashioned industrial paper cutter like they used in office & schools, one with the wooden base …

Wire Coiling 
Hi Stacy, How do you know how much wire to coil to make an inch of coil when doing bangle designs? Michelle Stacy's Answer: You know, that's …

Dapping Metal or Wood 
Hi Stacy, Can you give me some beginner info on a dapping block wood vs metal. How to judge which size on the block to use. Thanks I appreciate any guidance …

Corrugated Designs 
Hi Stacy I wanted to know what gauge silver and copper do you use for your corrugated earrings? Are the metals work hardened first? They look like they …

Silver Filled Wire 
Hi Stacy! Have you seen or used this new silver filled wire? It is suppose to be a less expensive alternative to sterling, and perform like sterling. …

Finest Gauge Wire for Tumbling? 
Hi, I just found your website and am excited to find such thorough tutorials and information! My question is regarding the tumbler(s) you use, and …

Stainless Steel Wire (surgical steel) 
Hi Stacy! What is your opinion on using stainless steel wire? Do you know the strength of it, how pliable it is or how well it fires and oxidizes? Thanks! …

Etching on Brass 
Hi Stacy, Can you etch on brass with the same chemical and instructions as you list for copper? Thank you Deb Mae Stacy's Answer: Hi Deb! Brass …

Cutting Jumprings 
Hi Stacy, I'm a relatively new jewelry maker. I'm interested in so many facets of jewelry making that I'm going broke with tools. I enjoyed your …

Etching Copper and Brass 
Hi Stacy, I was wondering if it ok to use black StazOn ink, or will only the red work? Thank you for your time, Judy Stacy's Answer: Thanks for …

Bangle cores 
Hi Stacy - what gauge wire do you use for the core of your bangles like 'In a coil' & what's the minimum gauge suitable for cores? Stacy's Answer: …

Etching printed text on to copper or brass 
I want to use print that is white text on black fill done on a laser printer. Do you know what kind of paper I should print the text on? I've read that …

Smaller dapping dies for bead caps 
hi! I bought a lovely and really inexpensive dapping block from you. It's great for medallions and larger pieces, but I also want bead caps. And you …

Earwire Gauge Questions 
When making ear wires like on your amethyst hoop earrings, what gauge do you use? 18 or 19 is too thick to go through my ears or hurts when i wear that. …

Making Large "S" Link Components 
Hi Stacy, Do you have any tips on making the large "S" links like the ones you used in your "LeCarnivale" and keeping the curves consistent? Is there …

Question about Bench Block 
Stacy, First, thanks for the wire jewelry Q & A! I'm new to working with wire (I love it, even though it has its frustrating moments!) and it has been …

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Copper Etching 
Hi Stacy, I have a question about copper etching. I can't seem to get a good etch in copper I use rubber stamps with the Stayz On ink, Radio Shack Etchant …

Class Costs 
Hi, I am not sure if I just missed it or not...but can you tell me what the cost of the classes are? Thanks! Stacy's Answer: Hi Laurie! To get the …

Online tutorials 
Hi Stacy I was wondering if you are planning on putting the tutorials to your class on Crazy Coil Link Bracelet. I live too far a way in order to come …

Will Copper and Silver Wear Well Together? 
I've been playing with some wire wrapping. I experimented with the copper and silver together. How do these wear together? I see many copper & silver pieces …

Pickle keeps turning blue! 
Hello and help! I'm so frustrated... my pickle keeps turning blue, even when it's new. I keep re-making it, and have 2 pickle-pots: one with Sparex, and …

Cost of 6 week class 
What is the cost of the 6 week class and is it possible to take the intermediate (prerequisite) and the advanced at the same time? Are the classes all …

Burnishing or Brightening powder? 
My UK supplier sells both of these, for use with steel, ceramic or stainless steel shot. No extra detergent is advised. I am guessing that the 'burnish' …

Aluminum 12/10 gauge 
Can I tumble aluminum (all gauges) successfully? To get rid of sharp edges, burrs, harden and polish up? I am having fun designing and making jewelry …

Soldering 
Absolutely love this site!! I am just starting to learn metal smithing and wire work jewelry and need LOTS of help! Do you have any online/video tutorials …

mandrel size for Love Me Knots  
Hi Stacy, I'd like to make some knots in smaller gauge wire - 18 and 20g. and wondered what size mandrel I'd need use for each of those gauges and how …

Stainless steel shot 
Hi Stacy! I just discovered your blog and have been reading EVERYTHING for hours! I love it, it's very informative and you are very creative....your pieces …

Pandora charms, glass and silver 
Can I tumble Pandora glass bead and silver charms safely. Stacy's Answer: I've seen a lot of "Pandora" and "Pandora-style" charms and bracelets. …

do you dilute the ferric chloride etching solution 
When using ferric chloride to etch copper pieces, do you dilute the FC with water at all? Stacy's Answer: No. I use it straight from the bottle …

Nylon Coated Wire 
Hi, I love your site! Lots of helpfull stuff! I am new to jewelry making and have been using nylon coated silver wire as it is cheap and does not …

Plate gauge for copper etching? 
Hi Stacy, We were thinking about etching copper with a resist and ferric acid. I was wondering if you knew a gauge range for the thinnest copper we …

plated jewelry 
Will liver of sulfur give a patina to plated rings? Stacy's Answer: Hi Craig! The best way to find that out is to dip one and see what happens. …

Do you need to use soldering flux? 
Do you need to use soldering flux with the copper soldering wire as you would with common lead/tin solder and what effect will ferric chloride have on …

Removing Laquer from Brass 
i discovered a pile of small brass plaques probably from a library card catalog. my father collected this long ago...anyway, these have corroded and also …

Right Gauge 
I have not made anything in Silver for a few years now apart from rings and I want to make an open silver bangle for myself with an imperial jasper at …

Aegean Cuff Bracelet 
Stacy when the bracelet tutorial is followed correctly can you tell me how the bracelet lays on your wrist? Is there suppose to be a gap between the two …

Polishing Hematite 
I have a ring from my Mom that is faceted hematite 10kt gold. The stone is in excellent shape although it looks like there is a film on it that can be …

Gauge for cuffs 
Hi Stacy, I am currently in Australia for the next year, so can't take any classes with you. I really miss them. Anyway, I would like to try making a cuff …

Jewelry Tags 
Do you purchase your jewelry tags or do you make your own? Thanks, Robbie Stacy's Answer: Hi Robbie! I make my own tags. Some are stamped and some …

Finger protection when working with metals 
Probably everyone already knows about this but if not - There is a product named Mediporeā„¢ by 3M that comes in a roll about 3" wide. It is a porous …

Where to buy ferrous chloride? 
Where can I find ferrous chloride? Thanks! Stacy's Answer: Hi Midwest. To find ferrous chloride, you'll need to contact a supplier of scientific …

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Which gauge for small decorative twists? 
Which gauge wire do I use for small decorative twists? Jan Stacy's Answer: Hi Jan! I'm not certain what you mean by, "small decorative twists", but …

Classes in Las Vegas, NV 
Thanks for the input on patina gel . Cool Tools has a great "How To" video on their site that I found answers everything and more. Will you be coming …

Lorene's Twisted Sisters 
How do I keep my creations from looking so Victorian. What should I do to make the design more bold and dramatic? Stacy's Answer: Hi Laurie! I …

My First Wire and Lampwork Bead Creation 
Stacy, I just got my first shipment from Rio Grande. I wanted you to see my first creation! It is not as "exotic" or unique as your necklaces but it …

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