How to Make a Wire-Shaping Jig

By Steve Hamilton

Things Needed

  • Scrap 2-by-4-inch lumber
  • Handsaw
  • Sturdy work surface
  • Pencil
  • Straightedge or ruler
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 1/4-inch wood dowels
Wire shapes are easy to bend with a jig.

To make jewelry and craft items out of wire, it is frequently necessary to bend the wire into shapes you can't achieve with a pair of pliers. For complex shapes, tight spirals or for bending thick or stiff wire, a bending jig comes in handy. There are many types of fancy wire bending jigs available commercially. For impromptu or one-time projects, or if you would rather spend your money on crafting supplies, you can make a wire-shaping jig from items you might already have in your garage.

Select a piece of scrap 2-by-4-inch lumber. Cut a 6-inch piece to use as the base for your jig. Place the scrap wood on a sturdy work surface.

Draw two lines to form an X in the middle of the base, using a pencil and ruler. Make each line 2 inches long. Drill five 1/4-inch holes in the base, one in the center of the X and one at each end of the two lines.

Insert 1/4-inch wooden dowels into the holes in whatever pattern best allows you to bend the wire shape you desire. Experiment with different dowel placement to achieve the best results.

Tip

To make tighter bends, drill closer holes for the dowels.

With tougher wire, it may be necessary to attach the base to your work surface with screws for more leverage and stability.

Use metal dowels for a more durable jig.

Make a quick and easy wire shaping jig by driving nails into a board. You can use finishing nails for thin wire and 16d or larger for thicker-gauge wire.

About the Author

Steve Hamilton has been writing professionally since 1983. His credits include novels under the Dell imprint and for Harlequin Worldwide. A remodeling and repair specialist with over 20 years experience, he is also a Certified Pool Operator and holds an EPA Universal refrigerant certification.