Thursday, October 3, 2013

Riveting with Wire

I've been having some fun this last couple of weeks jumping back in to jewellery making. My ideas have been thin on the ground for some time, but they've come back with a vengeance. I have ideas spilling out of my ears. Oh for a bit more time to realise them all!

I've been determined to try out some new techniques and today it's riveting with wire. I thought I'd share my first attempts with you and a few pics of how it went...

I decided to make a simple pair of earrings just to test out if what I'd read worked in real life. Apologies for the pics, the weather was pretty gloomy!

To start, I cut strips of copper and bashed them a bit to get a nice textured finish.

I then spent a good ten minutes trying to find a matching pair of my lamp work beads... I'm not very good at pairs! You can see I've marked out where the copper needs drilling for hanging and for the rivets to go through. The marks were centre punched and then drilled.

The hole for the rivet needs to be a snug fit for the wire, so not having the right size drill bit, I drilled smaller, then slowly opened the hole with a diamond reamer bit until it fit. As the holes in my beads were quite large, I used some steel wire which was the thickest I had to hand (about 3mm)

In everything I'd read, everyone had a neat little hole in their bench block for inserting the wire, but I don't. So as a solution I clamped the wire in my vice and gently tapped the wire around the edges to make it flare out... Looking good so far!

Next, everything was fitted together and marked where it needed cutting. This was my second attempt as I cut it too short on the first go. You need to leave enough to be able to flare out the metal on the front.

I didn't really need this picture, but I thought I'd show off my new saw while I'm cutting the wire! It's red and awesome!

And here they are finished after flaring out the front of the rivets. I did this really carefully as I had visions of smashing the bead to bits, but I think they worked out pretty well... not perfect, but it works!

I tried this with thinner copper wire too, it was much easier and not quite as scary joining metal to metal. This is using one of Lesley's bronze connectors and copper cut with my fancy saw!

I love the look of metal rivets in jewellery, here's a few pics of what I hope I can achieve with some more practise!

Ok, so that last one's a little ambitious, but I can dream!

Thanks for reading...



  1. I don't have holes in my bench block either - apart from the ones I've made with missed hammer blows! I think I used my vice when I tried this many moons ago but I wasn't brave enough to try it on glass....maybe now I will as riveting is definitely on my to do list. Thanks for sharing your experience Caroline.

  2. Oh and I love the way you turned my connector into a tree!

  3. Wow, what a great design! Love the earrings! Also the linked items are absolutely charming! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for sharing your first experiences with riveting. This is on my to do list also!

  5. I have done some riveting Lesley and like you, I cut it to short. But I like the look.Well done.

  6. I too love the look of riveting but have yet to try it. Thanks for the inspiration, nice work!

  7. Love the look of riveting but I've never done it, like Linda it's on my list but unfortunately that's a mighty long list. Love how your earrings turned out and the links you shared as well. Thank you!

  8. I've been playing with riveting - love the look and its fun! This is a different approach I haven't tried - thanks!

  9. Thanks all :) Glad you enjoyed the read!

    I have a list like that Kristi...


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.