Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wire: Stringing, Dead Soft, Half Round, Square, ......

When I started designing jewelry I was mostly in trial and error mode.  Wire was one of the elements that proved to be a challenge for me.  Pretty important element as it is central to most pieces.  It may be what you string beads on; it may be a design element; it is what links and charms are made of; need a custom finding just find the right gauge and color wire and you're good; make focal pieces, entire pieces (bracelets, rings, etc.), crochet it (add some beads for sparkle).  You get the idea.  My first mistake; I strung clay beads on wire meant for wire wrap; bend the necklace enough times and it would break (those pieces got disassembled and remade).  I started doing research that I should have done before I made those pieces.  If you are new to jewelry construction I hope this will be helpful.  If you just haven't worked with wire much I hope it will inspire you to give it a try.

A few basics:

Bead stringing wire is a multi-stranded coated wire.  The higher the number of strands the more flexible the wire; and the more expensive.  It ranges from 7 to 39 strands.  If you don't need the flexibility or if you are just starting out, I suggest going for the less expensive option.  I usually use 19 strand, middle ground for flexibility and cost, just my opinion.  This wire comes in a variety of colors so you can spread beads out on the piece you are making and the wire itself becomes part of the color pallet.

Dead soft wire is great for a wide variety of wire wrap, weaving, and coiling projects.  Because it is so flexible and easy to work with it is great for beginner level projects but will grow with you as you advance to more complex pieces.

Half round, Square, Medium temper and other wires are used to wrap large stones, make rings and bracelets, and more.  I would say these would usually be used in intermediate to advanced pieces.

Memory wire is a great wire for easy bracelets and necklaces.  They can be large and dramatic or light and sparkly.  Again, imagination is they only limit.

Below are a few examples of the variety wire offers and this is just he beginning.
Dead Soft Wire Wrapped Stone

Hammered Wire
Wire Crochet
Memory Wire
Bead Stringing Wire

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