How To Bend Copper Wire For Crafts (Pliers Optional!)

Bending copper isn’t hard. You can do it with your fingers! But bending copper into the shape you want it in? That’s a different thing entirely. 

In this article, I will teach you how to bend copper wire for crafts without completely destroying half the roll of wire before you get something cool out of it. 

In a hurry? Here’s the quick guide:

To get the shape you want, draw a template on a piece of paper. Straighten the wire under a block or by pulling it before bending it with your fingers over the shape on the paper. Use round or sharp-cornered objects as necessary to make the shapes tighter.

For the full step-by-step guide, keep reading!

How To Bend Wire Without Pliers

Copper wire bent around a stick

When bending wire without pliers, you must become resourceful to get the shapes you want. Using your fingers and objects around your house, you can design your shape, mold it, and refine it, all without pliers or special tools.

A small set of craft pliers isn’t very expensive, for the record, so if you wanted to spend an extra ten dollars, your life would be a lot easier. Still, it’s unnecessary, especially if you don’t intend to do this as a long-term hobby. To make copper wire shapes, you really only need your brawny little fingers and a pen and paper.

How To Make Copper Wire Shapes

Copper wire bent and crafted into the shape of a man on a paddle boat

To make copper wire shapes, first, straighten out your wire. Draw your shape on a piece of paper, and then you’ll bend the copper over the top of the template. You can use sharp edges or round objects to get more intense curves and corners.

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First things first, you’ll need to straighten out your wire, or you won’t be able to predict what it’ll do. You can flatten your wire a few different ways:

  • Flatten short pieces by rolling them under a wooden or metal block a few times. Easy.
  • Pull the length of a long wire under a wood or metal block.

Once your wire is straight, draw your shape on a piece of paper. Using your fingers, hold the wire to the shape and bend it. It seems pretty simple!

If you want to make really tight curves or right-angles with thicker wire, you can use whatever has the curvature or edge you’re looking for and bend the wire around these objects.

Anything will work, but make sure that you’re keeping the wire level while you’re bending. This will ensure that you see the shape truly and not distort it by bending it up or down.

From here, you’ve made wire shapes for crafting into anything you want.

Bonus tips:

  • Use a cloth on the wire while you’re bending it around an object to keep from denting it.
  • Measure out the length of the shape you’ve drawn with measuring tape and cut the wire to size before bending it.
  • File the edges of the wire with a nail file or 400 grit sandpaper to keep the sharpness to a minimum and give a more finished look.

Bending Wire Around Stones Without Pliers

Stones and copper wire for crafting

Make a loop by wrapping the middle of a foot of wire around a round object. Twist the wire together underneath it, then create two more holes as the foundation for the stone. Continue wrapping wire around the stone and through these holes to secure the wire to the stone.

Using about a foot of pre-cut wire, bend your length in half and place a round object like a pen in the bend. Wrap one side of the wire around the pen three times, then secure the loops by twisting your two ends around each other three times.

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After the twists, put your pen between the two ends and twist the wires around each other at the bottom of this shape. Do this once more to make a second hole.

Place your stone on this flat piece, pushing it up to meet the three loops at the top. It may help to tape the stone at the top to keep it secure while wrapping.

Start to bend the wire naturally around the stone, then as it reaches the back, pull the wire through the bottom hole. Move your tape to the bottom of the rock now, and continue bending your wire around the top of the stone. As you did last time, thread your wire through the top hole.

With the remaining wire, wrap one strand around the twist underneath the three loops at the top of your rock. Wrap the second wire through the hole on the back of the rock twice more. Cut the wire and tuck it under to hide the sharp edge. 

Remove your tape and hang your rock on a chain or chord to show off around the town! For a visual tutorial, visit The Rock Hugger on Youtube.

Bending Wire Techniques

While it’s possible to bend wire without pliers, it makes life a heck-of-a-lot easier to have just a few pairs at your disposal. You will need some pliers for this section on standard wire bending techniques.

How To Make a Small Circle (Eye)

Copper wires bent into small eye circles

To bend the wire into a small circle, place it between the prongs on your needle-nose pliers and twist your wrist. Use your other hand to conform the wire to the pliers, only twisting your plier hand halfway. Reposition your pliers and twist again until you have a full circle.

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Making an eye or a tiny circle can be great for jewelry, but it’s darn useful for many other things as well. 

To start, make three evenly-spaced lines with a permanent marker on your needle-nosed pliers. This will help you to make circles of the same size every time. Then, put the end of the wire through the pliers facing up and on one of your sharpie lines, so you can only see the end of the wire poking through the pliers.

Grip the pliers with your hand facing down. Using your free hand, push or pull the wire close to the needle-nose to get a tight curvature. With your plier, make a short half turn. Reposition the pliers back at the start, then make another half turn. Reposition, then make a final half-turn. 

Using short motions like this will keep your wire straight and give you complete control.

How To Make Ninety-Degree Angles

Pliers and copper wire

To make a corner or sharp bend, mark your wire where you’d like the angle to appear, then place your needle-nose pliers on this mark. Use your free hand to bend the wire up to meet the pliers to create the corner. 

On your pre-cut length of wire, mark where you’d like the bend to appear. Using either your needle-nosed or a flat-nose plier, place the plier’s nose on the mark.

Use your fingers to push the wire to meet the edge of the pliers. This will create a ninety-degree angle. 

Bending copper wires without tools is easy but limited. Whatever your goals are for this wire, with a little ingenuity, finger strength, creativity, and practice, you can learn how to bend the wire into beautiful shapes.

Hopefully, from this article, you’ve learned how to bend copper wire for crafts use and will be on your way to mastering it!