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What do "connect the dots" and the Artistic Wire Really Big Jig have in common?

This week's Facebook Live Video focused on the Artistic Wire Really Big Jig - a great tool to use to make really big Wire designs. Originally designed by the Wire Wizard, Corinne Gurry, the Really Big Jig Jig has a design area of 11.25" x 11.25" so you can make multiple designs at the same time, as well as large scale sculptural jewelry and decorative objects.

Looking for ways to expand the versatility of your jig? A great resource to use for patterns are connect the dots pages! You can find tons of pages to tweak your creativity on-line. I've started a Pinterest Board with a number of different patterns to get you started. Be sure to follow us on Pinterest for all kinds of great inspiration!

The key to a good connect the dots template is to make sure that the dots are the majority of the design. CTDs that have too much extra drawing won't work as well. You could also come up with your own CTD design to use! 

Once you've found your connect-the-dots pattern that you like online, print it out, then lay it on your jig. Use a Beading Awl to pre-poke the holes, then add the pins. The Jig comes with 50 pins which is plenty for most designs, but if you need more, the extra pegs for the 3D Bracelet Jig work perfectly! You can leave the pins in the Jig to make multiple designs, and re-use the templates over and over again.

I like to use 12 Gauge Aluminum Artistic Wire to do my wrapping, but 16 Gauge Copper Artistic Wire works well, also. Create a loop in your wire to use as an ;">anchor and follow the numbers around to create the design. Use your good design judgement to determine whether you'll place the wire to the inside or the outside of the pegs. Remember to make tight bends!

A few more tips that I've learned by using the Jig: 1. Stand up. Working from the top gives me more control over the Wire as I'm wrapping it. 2. Use a Lazy Susan. Since you want to turn the Jig as you are working, rather than just bending the wires around the pegs, a Lazy Susan makes it even easier to maneuver. I use this one here, but there are lots readily available. 3. Take it slow. Taking your time will help you get your bends nice and crisp.

Since I use 12 Gauge Aluminum Wire, I can use the corresponding Artistic Wire Crimp Tubes to join the ends in a neat, clean, cold connection. Use the Mighty Crimping Pliers to finish the Crimp.

When you've finished your designs, use the Steel Bench Block, Leather Pad and Nylon Jaw Hammer to straighten out and work harden your design.

Then, you can embellish with wire wrapping, dangles, or anything your creativity tells you to do!

I'm just getting started with using this technique, and I'm so glad to be able to have a new way to design with the Jig. Do you have a Jig? Take it out and start playing!

See you next week at 3:00pm EST for another Facebook Live Video!

Happy Beading,