Do you want to try and explore making wire jewelry? Well, first things first. Learn the basics and that is to familiarize yourself with wire sizes and shapes. Knowing these two important things about craft wire for making jewelry will help you to know what kind and shape of wire to use. The more you know about the wire you work with, the better your projects will be.
There are four shapes of wire: round, half-round square, square and triangular. The names are accurate to the shape that the wire is when looking at its cross-section. The most popular of these shapes is the round wire, although some artists prefer working with the other shapes more often.
A wire is sized by its thickness. Popular wire gauges are 14-gauge to 26-gauge. The thicker the wire the smaller the gauge number. 14-gauge wire is thicker than 16-gauge wire and a 26-gauge wire is thin. In other places than the U.S. wire is sold in diameters measured in millimeters. The chart below gives you a gauge to diameter(approx) conversion. Popular wire sizes are 18-gauge to 22-gauge.
Gold-filled wires are the toughest and the most durable, followed by silver filled wire, much more soft and malleable. Gold and silver wires are ideal for creating a classy elegant look and for imparting sheen, shimmer, and luster and to add on to the bling factor. They also give a better hold to the stones which they are encrusting.
If you are creating affordable pieces of fashion jewelry your best bet would be 18 gauge copper filled wire which is inexpensive and therefore brings down the cost of the piece of jewelry drastically. Copper filled wires are available in a variety of colors and match with different kinds of outfits.
Bigger or thicker wires are ideal for jump rings and necklaces. Thinner smaller wires are made use of to create earrings, anklets, bracelets.
The more you pull jewelry making wires through the tools, the harder and stronger they become with each increasing pull.
Wires are also used for wire wrapped jewelry that is a bit different and pretty unique.
For a more detailed suggested use for different gauges of wire you may refer to the following information:
|GAUGE||What It’s Good For Making|
|14ga & 16ga||clasps
thick jump rings
chain maille jewellery
substantial formed links
eye pins for beads with very large holes
|18ga||more delicate clasps
eye pins, head pins
ear-wires (though 20 gauge is more common)
fits through most bead holes
delicate formed links
fits through most bead holes
|21ga||many people buy this odd size gauge specifically for making earwires|
fits through almost all bead holes
|24ga||standard size for wire-wrapped bead links and head pins
fits through all but the smallest bead holes. Semi-precious gemstone beads and pearls often have smaller holes than other beads. This gauge fits through almost all of these.
|26ga||for wire crochet
wire-wrapped bead links and head pins
fits through all but the smallest bead holes. Semi-precious gemstone beads and pearls often have smaller holes than other beads. This gauge should fit through all of these.
|28ga||for wire crochet
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