Electricians and jewelry makers have at least one thing in common: They love them some flat nose pliers.
If you want to make necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and more, you too will need a pair of flat nose pliers, plus a few other wire-wrapping tools. But before you drop a ton of money on a lot of equipment, you gotta know the basics. Here are my essentials.
1. Flat nose pliers
These will be your go-to. They'll help you open jump rings, finish wire-wrapped ends and complete a multitude of other tasks you've yet to imagine. You may want to consider two pairs so you can grasp anything without leaving a crimp in the metal. Be sure to look for pliers that have a smooth surface between the jaws.
2. Round nose pliers
These will help you make wire loops and hoops, bends, clasps and jump rings. You'll reach for them whenever you want to make a nice smooth curve.
3. Nylon tipped pliers
Learning how to bend wire takes some practice and you will inevitably get some kinks in your material. You can curse the gods...or you can reach for a pair of nylon tipped pliers. Simply grab one end of the wire, grip tightly with your pliers and pull your wire through to smooth it out.
4. Wire cutters
You want these, and you want them to be good quality. There are a lot of cheap ones out there and they can wear out pretty quickly, especially when trying to cut thicker wire. Swanstrom and Lindstrom both make great pairs that you'll have for years. Do future you a favor and make the investment.
5. Toenail clippers
The best $3 you will ever spend in your jewelry-making life. If you're cutting thin wire, toenail clippers can be a great substitute for wire cutters. They can get in very close to your work so you don't have rough stray ends.
6. Practice material
You really don't want to get spendy on silver or gold fill wire until you figure out what you're doing. Copper wire or other base metal wire will help you get a feel for things without wasting your money on valuable metals.
The most basic piece of jewelry equipment would be a standard ruler, and likely it's something you already have. I prefer a graphing ruler because being able to see through it helps me visualize a little better.
8. Your imagination
Look around: You may be able to hack something you already own. Need to make a circle? Look in your pantry. Use a baseball bat instead of a mandrel or a marker to mark your metal before you cut. Pretty soon you'll be noticing jewelry-making tools everywhere you look!