Going Wholesale

Anya LinleyDesign1 Comment

Just before Christmas I was fortunate enough to get my first wholesale order. It was an exciting experience, if a little stressful at times because it was my first big order and one that I really didn’t want to mess up!

The order was for 14 pieces in sterling silver, two each of seven original designs. I normally work in copper so the step up to silver was quite daunting. Forunately, I found the silver wire very easy to work with and very similar to copper. I’m sure I read somewhere that silver wire can break or get kinks more easily but I didn’t find this to be the case. If anything, the silver was easier to work with. The final result was a successful order that I fulfilled ahead of schedule featuring the pieces shown below.

wholesale silver jewellery

If you are a handmade jewellery seller and are interested in any of the items you see here then please contact me for a price list. To anyone thinking of going the wholesale route then I thoroughly recommend it. You will probably need to sell your items at less than half of retail cost (so make sure you are still in profit by doing this) but it’s a lovely feeling to have an instant order for so many pieces at once that might otherwise have taken a while to sell online or through markets.

Which Wire Gauge Should I Use In My Jewellery Project?

Anya LinleyDesign, Learning, Wire Weaving0 Comments

Which Wire Gauge

The gauge of a wire determines its thickness. In this article, I cover the most popular gauges used in wire jewellery making and how they might be used together to create different structures and textures within your jewellery.

The most popular gauge measurement system for jewellery making is the American Wire Gauge, otherwise known as the Brown and Sharpe wire gauge and abbreviated to AWG. The table below lists the most commonly used gauges used in wire jewellery and their equivalent in Standard Wire Gauge (SWG) as well as their diameters in milimetres and inches. As you can see, AWG and SWG are very close in values so just be careful when buying wire and when following tutorial lists that you are referring to the same wire gauge for both! In the UK, I’ve often found that wire is sold according to its diameter in mm so this table is very useful when trying to get a best fit for a tutorial where all the wires are listed in AWG.

Wire Gauge Comparison

The last column of the table gives a rough guide as to what each gauge might be used for in a wire jewellery project. These are generalizations rather than hard and fast rules based on the many projects I’ve seen.

Structural Wires

Wire Frame

By structural, I’m referring to the fact that the thicker (smaller gauge) wires are often used to define the framework and underlying shape of a piece. Other wires together with beads and cabochons can then wrap around the structure or be secured to it. Sometimes these thicker wires are hammered which not only flattens them but also makes them more rigid – a process known as work hardening. Wire that has been hammered flat can even have holes punched into it so that thinner wires can pass through.

This pendant uses hammered 16 gauge wire around the outside to act as a sturdy frame on which to attach the remaining wires and beads.

Base Wires

Base WiresIn wire weaving projects, base wires are wires around which some much thinner wire is woven. Usually, you’ll have at least two base wires side by side and these will be held together by weaving wire.

This photo shows five base wires that have been woven together to form a strip.

Much like structural wires used to make the framework for a piece, base wires often create a more or less rigid form when woven together, even if the individual base wires are of 20 or 22 gauge which aren’t as strong on their own.

Wrapping and Weaving

Wire WeavingThinner wires can be woven or wrapped around larger base wires. This not only holds the base wires together but can also add interesting texture to a piece depending on the type of weave used.

For this pendant, I separate and bring together the base wires at different points and also twist a couple of the smaller woven strips to give it depth.

Always secure a weaving wire by beginning and ending  its journey coiled around a single base wire.


Coiled WireThis is really a form of wrapping and another way of adding interesting texture to a piece. Thin wire can be woven around thicker wire in tight coils for a ridged effect. A bonus from this is that, as with wire weaving, the thinner wire can also be used to secure the thicker wire to another section of the piece. Perri of Shaktipaj Designs has an excellent example of this in her Rose of Sharon tutorial. The petals of the rose are coiled instead of being plain wires which adds intricacy and interest.



Securing with WireThinner wire is often used to secure beads within a jewellery piece or to attach thicker wire together at a point. The thin wire that runs between the eyes of these cats serve both these purposes.

More often, the same wire length is used for weaving and for securing and perhaps for coiling too. The fewer wire ends you can get away with the better so good designs often use long lengths of wrapping wire to weave and connect their way through the piece.

A different way of securing a component – generally a cabochon – is to create prongs to hold the component in place. The prongs need to be firm enough to stop the cab from slipping so are generally formed from 20 AWG or lower.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you found it useful, please do share the love!

How To Choose The Best Microwave For Your Glass Fusing Kiln

Anya LinleyGlass Fusing0 Comments

If you’ve been keeping an eye on my Etsy shop, you’ll probably have noticed that I’ve been making a lot of glass fused jewellery of late. I’m making these pieces in a microwave kiln – something that has only been on the market for the last few years. These kilns make glass fusing an affordable hobby because it does away with the need for a traditional kiln which can set you back a lot of money.

If you’re thinking of taking up this fascinating hobby, you may be wondering what sort of microwave to buy for your kiln. The microwave kilns work in most microwaves but not all. This guide should help you to determine which one to buy.

The first thing to mention here is that you shouldn’t use the same microwave for glass fusing as you do for food. The reason for this is that glass gives off all kind of chemicals when heated to fusing temperatures and you wouldn’t want these hanging around in your microwave when you come to make food. So please do keep them separate and make the small investment of buying a dedicated microwave for glass fusing.


When it comes to picking the best microwave for glass fusing, you’ll want one that has at least 800W power. Any lower than that and your glass will take a long time to fuse, if indeed it fuses at all. Aside from that, you’ll be pleased to know that the rule of thumb is to go for a cheap brand or an unbranded microwave you might find at the supermarket. It turns out that a lot of the more expensive microwaves have an intelliwave detection-system which drastically cuts the power when “strange” materials are detected in the microwave. This is a great safely feature for food microwaves but a disaster when it comes to working with glass as this type of microwave will almost certainly stop your glass from firing because it thinks something fishy is going on!

Before buying, check the dimensions to ensure there will be enough room in the microwave to leave a reasonable gap between the top of the kiln and the roof of the microwave so that you can easily lift the kiln out of the microwave and also lift the kiln lid slightly to check on contents while it is still in there. Pretty much all microwaves will be large enough to accommodate the smaller size kiln. However, you may need to consider a larger microwave if you’ll be using the large kiln.

My final point when it comes to microwaves is that the base plate (the flat Pyrex tray at the bottom) should rotate as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, this is something you probably won’t know before you make the purchase but it will make your life a whole lot easier if the rotation is smooth because, as you will discover, glass is extremely slippery and can easily be dislodged before fusing takes place. There are ways around this using glass glue or substituting the base plate for kiln feet so don’t worry too much if you run into this issue.

I hope this guide was useful to you. If you have any further questions, please leave a comment!

I Have A Newsletter

Anya LinleyNews0 Comments

Yup, I finally got round to adding a signup form to my website so that I can sent out newsletters to all my lovely fans. As an added incentive, if you sign up now, you will get this lovely wire weaving tutorial absolutely free.

tutorial daisy pendant

This used to be up on my Etsy shop but I’ve since taken it down because I want it to be an exclusive reward for those who take the time and trust to subscribe to my email list. On that note, I just want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all those people who have already subscribed. You are all awesome and I hope you’ll stick with me for the journey.

My plan is to send out just one newsletter per month (I have no interest in clogging up your inbox) and I’ll pack in any news I have about upcoming promotions, contests, new tutorials and finished pieces as well as a bit about what I’ve been up to lately. If you have any other suggestion for what you might like to see in my newsletters, please do contact me and I’ll see what I can do.

Happy Crafting!

Where To Start Learning Wire Wrapping

Anya LinleyWire Weaving0 Comments

Generally speaking, wire wrapping is the art of wrapping one long length of thin wire around one or more pieces of thicker wire to create different forms. Wires can be bent, beads or cabochons added and the weaving technique varied to create limitless design possibilities.

A wire wrapped pendant

A wire wrapped pendant

It’s a wonderful hobby to learn and one that you can start out doing with very little expenditure. All you need to get going is a couple of jewellery pliers and some wire. Add the odd bead into the mix and you can make something quite special. That’s all very well you might say, but where do I start learning this wonderful hobby? Well, hopefully I have some answers for you in this post.

To begin with, I’d highly recommend buying a physical book on the subject at beginner level. Having a book by your side will be invaluable for getting you used to the terminology like wire gauges and the different types of wire you can buy. It’s also a great thing to flick through for inspiration or to get quick answers at the start of your wire wrapping journey. The book I’d recommend here is The Encyclopedia of Wire Jewellery Techniques by Sara Withers. It covers all aspects of wire jewellery, not just wire wrapping, but it has an amazing introduction to the tools, materials and terminology that I haven’t seen bettered in any other book. It might also open your eyes to other wire techniques that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. It calls itself an encyclopedia but don’t let the boring title put you off. The book is very readable and contains projects that increase in difficulty so you can basically work your way through from beginning to end.

After that, the internet is your best friend. There are a load of people on Etsy that sell individual tutorials for specific projects (I even sell a few myself 😉 ) but if you don’t want to spend money, there are numerous free tutorials out there. Just do searches for “free wire wrap tutorials” or similar. I’ve found Pinterest to be very useful too. Again, just search to see all the amazing craftsmanship that’s out there. YouTube also has plenty of free wirework and wire wrapping channels. The added benefit here is that you can actually see the jewellery being made so there will be less of the head scratching as you try to figure out how a piece got from stage x to stage y. I recommend the Free Jewelry Tutorials Facebook Group which has a supportive community and is dedicated to finding the best free jewellery tutorials on the web today.

When you are comfortable with the basics, individual tutorials on Etsy can be great for learning to make those really cool projects that you like the look of and getting to grips with new techniques along the way. There are some really advanced ones out there such as this and this.

If books are more your thing, there are a handful of great books that are suited to the more advanced level wire wrapper.

Fine Art Wire Weaving by Sarah Thompson

If you like delicate, almost elven-looking jewellery then this is the book for you! Sarah is a master of her art favours delicate designs with slightly thinner wire than you might otherwise be used to using in your projects. This is my personal favourite out of all the wire wrapping books I’ve come across.

Timeless Wire Weaving by Lisa Berth

Another great book to add to your collection, this one is particularly strong on the techniques used to make wire woven bracelets and many of the projects feature focal beads or cabochons in their designs.

Mastering Wirework Jewelry: 15 Intricate Designs to Create by Rachel Norris

A wirework book for the animal lover! In this book, Rachel takes the reader through the step-by-step creation of 15 nature-inspired designs. The designs are indeed intricate but the instructions are incredibly clear so even a beginner should be able to master these designs with enough patience.

Freeform Wire Weaving

If you feel your designs are a little too tight and rigid, this is a wonderful book for allowing your inner anarchy to come out with some of the more bold and asymmetric designs.

I hope this brief lowdown on wire wrapping learning resources has been useful to you. Note that some of the links in the post above are affiliate links which mean I get a small commission on any purchases you make after following those links at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep the site running and I really do appreciate it.

Forays Into Silversmithing

Anya LinleyMetalsmithing0 Comments

During May and June, my husband and I took a brief course in silversmithing at Warwickshire College. For two hours a week over seven weeks, we learned a variety of beginners techniques including the basics of soldering, texturing on metal and making rings. I have to admit to having taken the course before but it was several years ago now and I really felt in need if a refresher, especially as I now own a lot of the tools that I didn’t have the first time around.

Sweat Soldering with Copper

Sweat Soldering with Copper

It was a lot of fun going back and relearning those techniques as well as meeting new people who are on creative journeys on their own. We had a very kind and patient teacher (Angela) which always helps and the two hours seemed to fly by rather quicker than we would have liked!

Copper Cuff

Copper Cuff, All Shiny and Ready To Wear

I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be adding many of these techniques to my jewellery but I think it’s always good to know they exist and definitely great to have another string to my bow, should I need it. Even if I don’t make the full transition over to soldering (I love wire wrapping too much!) it might be interesting to mix wire with punched sheet metal. Definitely something to experiment with and a great excuse to use my shiny new jewellery saw!

Copper Rings

Copper Rings

Silver Rings

Silver Rings

I’ve discovered from the course that I am a little bit in love with metal punches as a way of adding texture to metal. I may have to invest in some of these in the near future. There is so much that can be done in terms of personalizing jewellery with names and meaningful quotes, not to mention all the lovely abstract patterns you can achieve just from hammering textures repeatedly.

Texturing on Copper

Texturing on Copper

If you live in the Leamington area and are attracted to the idea of working with flaming torches, acid baths and a variety of terrifying machines then you can check out the next available course here (look for JEWELLERY & SILVERSMITHING WORKSHOP).

Finding My Style

Anya LinleyDesign0 Comments

When I first started out making jewellery, it was very definitely a hobby for me. It was a means of getting away from the hustle and bustle of work – a means to relax and to express myself at the same time. I was learning all sorts of techniques at the time from magazines such as Bead and Button and websites like jewelrylessons.com (sadly no longer in existence). For every new project I worked on, I’d get a a little better and learned a little more. Eventually, I got good enough that I started to come up with my own designs and felt comfortable enough with the quality that I opened an Etsy shop in late 2011 as a place where I could sell my finished works.

I’ve had lots of happy customers since then and a lot of compliments on the things I make but there has always been one thing that niggled me: what is my style? In other words, what defines my work – my brand if you want to get all business-like? Even when I’ve moved on to my own designs, they have very little in common with one another. I’ll make a beaded bracelet one day and a glass pendant the next. Should this lack of consistent styling worry me? Well, yes and no.

different styles

Three pieces, three different styles

Allow me to explain. As an artist, it’s good to be known for a particular look or style. Maybe you’re the person who hand stamps vintage cutlery with personalized messages. Or perhaps you’ve devised a unique style using pearls and old scrabble board letters. Having a unique look to your products allows you to be a leader in that very particular niche and certainly helps get you noticed. BUT… I’m not going to worry about my own branding and style for the simple reason that I make what I enjoy making and always will do. If I made products to adhere to a particular style then I’d be taking a lot of the joy away from what I do and it would be a forced decision which exactly contradicts the reason I started making jewellery in the first place. I firmly believe that I will find my style but it has to evolve organically without feeling forced. For now, I’m overjoyed if a customer finds something they love among my eclectic mix of items and I’m sure they won’t mind if they don’t all match or conform.

Do what you love. Be happy. Be free.