Happy New Year Everyone! For a crafter like me what better way to start the new year than with some crafting fun? Over the Holidays my husband got me a new jewelry tool, a Beadsmith 1 Step Looper Tool.
When I went to the Winter Craft and Hobby Association Show of 2013 I got to see the staff at the Vintaj booth use this great tool. Since many of the products showcased at CHA are often not yet available for shipment until months down the line I had to wait to get this tool, which also meant my squirrely little mind forgot about it until I saw other people reviewing and posting photos months down the line. It had some mixed reviews but overall most jewelry makers liked it. I tried looking for the tool locally but no luck. Again it drifted from my crafter’s mind. Thankfully my husband remembered I was drooling over this tool and ordered one for me!
If you look at the above photo, you will see that the package says Vintaj on the front. No worries, it is still the Beadsmith 1 Step Looper; the Vintaj line tool is still made by Beadsmith, it just has turquoise handles while the one with the Beadsmith name on front has black handles. Even the info on the back of the package is the same. The tool trims wire 26-18 gauge, taking the place of needle nose pliers and wire cutters normally needed to make a looped end to jewelry wire. Here is the official video by Beadsmith about the tool. (YT: 1-Step Looper) (YT: 1-Step Looper) (YT: 1-Step Looper)
Normally making a loop like that requires me eyeballing the length of wire to cut it in the right area, using a wire cutter, getting a pair of round nose pliers to curl a loop and sometimes squeezing it into place with a flat nose pliers. This can take a minute of so for me and a necklace requiring a lot of loops can take some time. This tool made the loop in seconds.
While I was very happy with the results I had heard some complaints that the tool sometimes didn’t always close the loop tight. I tried making several loops and all of them came out with neat closed loops. I started to try out all kinds of beads and wire, finally I was able to reproduce an open loop.
Sure enough when you have a large or odd shaped bead the wire loop doesn’t always loop closed. After looking over what I was doing I realized the issue was the bead shape and/or how close the beads are pushed on the wire to lower jaw of the tool before the handles are squeezed.
Here is the odd shaped rose bead next to a small crystal bead. An oddly shaped bead can prevent the wire from laying even against the tool, and there will be a slight gap in the final loop. This can even happen with more even-sized beads if you are not careful how plumb the piece is. However there is a very nice upside to it not being a tightly closed loop; If you are working with clay, glass or wood beads you can risk the chance of the wire loop digging into if not out right chipping the bead if the loop is made too tightly, but with the loop slightly open you can carefully close the loop with a pair of round nose pliers and have perfectly shaped loops every time. You can also use the slight opening to add more links or rings onto the piece before closing it with pliers. I plan on using the slightly open looping aspect to my advantage with future projects.
I made this earring and necklace set in about 15 minutes using the Looper Tool. I honestly took me longer to pick the beads and thread them on the wire than to use the tool and assemble. It is so easy on the hands if you get muscle cramps in your hands (like I do) or even arthritis this will make jewelry making easier.
I would rate this tool as must have for any jewelry maker who makes lots of wire loops and wants awesome results every time.
Until next time, safe travels!