Friday, October 25, 2013

Inspiration from Inspiration: Now That's A Jig!

wax string template

The embossed/debossed leather I made yesterday has been rattling around in my brain. I am so inspired by its texture and now envision a collar made up of triangular pieces. The original inspiration of organic texture on a refined shape is asserting itself (see last blog). Little did Eva Sherman know her bracelet would spark such a creative flurry!

I decided to try and mimic the texture on the leather using wire... and when I think wire, I think Brenda Schweder's Now That's A Jig! I use this tool constantly in my workshop, but to be honest, most often I use it for things other than wire. The many threaded holes allow me to screw things down, anchor objects, bend sheet into neat corners...the list goes on and on. So I am always thrilled when I can go back and use it for its original purpose...wire!

What I am really excited about sharing is that, because I had the wax covered string out from part I of this project, it occurred to me that these strings would make great templates on the jig! They stick nicely, won't damage the jig, and I know exactly how much wire to use because I know the length and quantity of the string I used.

The trick is to lay the strings down as if they are one long string, allowing you to have an unbroken path for your wire. I had to adjust my strings as the original path (below) was not an unbroken path.

Next, place peg at all of the turns. I used the 1/8" pegs but could have used some of the larger or smaller ones as needed. When I make the final version of these components, I may use the 1/4" in the corners.

TIP: If you get a post stuck did you know you can use the top of another post to help grasp it to twist it out?

I used 14 gauge wire. In the future, I will anneal it first. I used three 6" wax strings so I knew I needed at least 18" of wire...I cut about 24" to give me plenty of tail to anchor as I pulled on the wire. I started in one corner at the center of the wire and began to follow the path.

Once done, I pulled the wire off the pegs gently. When I am done with this project, my plan is to remove the pegs and then carefully transfer the wax sticks to a piece of paper for future use.

I then soldered the wire form in select areas and ran it through my rolling mill to flatten and apply texture. I need to practice refining the shape a bit more, but there is proof of concept here I believe. I traced the shape on the back of the leather and cut it out. Design wise, I am not fond of the difference in the "weight" of the two components and will likely experiment with soldering bezels for stones or other things onto the wire in order to beef it up.

Also, I mentioned in the last blog post that I was thinking of finishing the cut edges by pulling the leather up, cutting the string back and then gluing it flat. That worked beautifully.

Thanks again for stopping by. I'll be sure to post the final piece once I get all of the components made.

Create Recklessly!


PS - Leave a comment below and I'll draw a name next week and send the winner a pack of waxed string to make their own templates! : ) Let me know if you shared the post on any of your social media and I'll enter your name twice. Shameless self-promotion, yes, but I've learned some great things from our readers! My favorite tip was where to get colored 2.5mm CZs....I use them constantly now! Thanks Georgette and Julie!


  1. This is really neat. I am new to this and don't have the "Now That's A Jig" jig. I have a metal one and I think it's a Thing-a-ma-jig deluxe. Will these work on that? I am so confused.

    1. They absolutely will work! Congrats on jumping in! As you play more with jigs check out Brenda's. It is a heavy duty jig and really lets you get in there and work the wire and the variety of pegs is unbelievable and growing everyday! Thanks for stopping by! Email me your address at and I'll send you a pack of wax sticks just for being the first comment. : ) I'll draw another name next week.

  2. I am also new to wire and have been a bit hesitant on trying a jig out. These ideas are amazing and makes me a bit more confident in trying one out. (I was so afraid to screw something up and end up wasting supplies!) I will be keeping an eye out on this page!!!!!! *motivation*

    1. Congrats for jumping into wire work! Our giveaway link just posted, be sure to enter your name so you can receive some free waxed strings!

  3. I love my jig too and find many uses for it. Your idea for using the waxed string to design patterns is genius! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks! Can't live without our jigs! Our giveaway just posted, drop back by the blog and use the link to enter your address so we can send you some free waxed strings!

  4. Wow this is such a cool trick - would love to win this I am new to twisting wire and this is a cool idea. Thanks

  5. Great idea! I'm wondering if the wax string can be "stiffened" to permanently keep the shape? That way it could also be used as a focal piece too!