Wire Types and Uses for Jewelry Making [Video & PDF]

Wire Types & Uses

Learn about wire types and uses in this video and PDF worksheet below.

Video:

Gauge

Gauge is the thickness of wire. Remember: the higher the number, the thinner the wire.

You’ll see gauge often notated with “ga” after the number, i.e. 18 ga.

Wire gauge

Wire Shapes

Wire Shape

Wire Hardness

You can find wire in the following hardness:
• Dead soft
• Half-hard
• Hard

Most of the time I suggest half-hard for my tutorials and in my eCourses for wire wrapping.

If you’re using sterling silver and some other types of wire, you will find a hardness notated. However, for a lot of craft wires or artist wires you will not. I use Parawire, which is silver plated wire, and there is not a hardness indicated. Often these wires are very similar to half-hard wire.

Memory Wire

Memory wire is great for bangles or loops; however, it is not for wire wrapping. Also you’ll need heavy duty wire cutters to cut memory wire.

What I use the most:

For most everything I make and teach I use 20 gauge, half-hard round wire. For clasps I’ll use 18 or even 16 gauge wire. Occasionally I’ll use 22 or 24 gauge for wrapping onto a structural piece or with beads with smaller holes.

Get a PDF eBook with this information right here:  Wire Types and Uses Worksheet

Wire Wrapping for Beginners

Now that you know wire types and uses, why not put them to use?

Take my Wire Wrapping for Beginners eCourse and learn how to make jewelry components like headpins, jump rings, chain and clasps and then get the “recipes” to put together the components to make earrings, bracelets, charm bracelets, necklaces and wire wrapped rings!

Learn more and sign up here:  Wire Wrapping for Beginners

Tools & Supplies Needed for Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry [and how to get them inexpensively]

Tools and Materials Needed for Rediscover Your Creativity

My eCourse, Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry begins on March 5th.  You can get registered now.

The course is all about finding or rediscovering your creativity.  And it’s also about jewelry making.  Each week there is a creativity activity to boost your creativity (creativity boosters), lesson on how to do certain technical skills in jewelry making (jewelry skills lessons) and then full projects for making jewelry (jewelry projects.)

I set up the course so that you have the tools so that at any point you may start to get ideas of your own for jewelry designs.

This is a 6 week eCourse and there are 21 jewelry projects included.

For my workshops I typically let you know what you need for it beforehand.  This eCourse is a little different, but there are certain things you’re going to need.

I highly recommend that you use what you have on hand and be creative about making adjustments to the projects we’ll do.  (And I recommend that for any jewelry project that I teach!)

And because I don’t want you to have to break the bank to take this class, I’m also giving you some tips for getting supplies less expensively.

The video is almost 14 minutes long.  The same information is in the PDF below if you prefer to read!

Here is the PDF for the supplies and tools you’ll need:  Tools and Materials List

Please don’t miss out on Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry.  It’s only available once or twice a year.  Registration will close on March 5th.  After that, you’ll have to wait to get in again!

And even though it’s a 6 week course at a specific time, you really can work at your own pace.  You keep access to the course and all the content forever!

Learn more and register here:  Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry

Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse

Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry Part 2: Tools

3 Part Series: Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry

Over 3 days I have a special 3 Part Series to help you get started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry.

Part 1 is all about where to get wire, which is one of my most asked questions.

Part 2 (this post) we’ll talk about the tools you need to get started.

And Part 3 will be a tutorial and we’ll actually use wire and make a pair of earrings.

After you go through the series, I would highly suggest that you invest in Wire Wrapping for Beginners eCourse if you’re ready to really dig in and learn how to make lots of components and then put them together to make wire wrapped jewelry, along with lots of inspiration for designing your own unique pieces to express your creativity and personal style.

Part 2

To get started wire wrapping, you need 3 basic tools. 

(a fourth tool will be pretty helpful, too.)

3 Basic Wire Wrapping ToolsWire Cutters

You can actually get started with a basic pair that you may already have around; however, you’ll quickly want to get a better pair.

How to use wire cutters:

You use wire cutters to make 2 different types of cuts:  a flush cut and a pinch cut.  Depending what side of the cutters you use is the kind of cut you’ll make.

how to use wire cuttersThe flat side will make a flush cut.  In all of the tutorials I share you want to start with making sure each side has a flush cut.

how to use wire cuttersThat’s what the flush cut looks like.  It’s cut straight.

how to use wire cuttersWhen you use the other side you make a pinch cut.

(And actually, every time you cut wire off to use, one piece will have a flush cut and one will have a pinch cut.)

how to use wire cuttersThat’s what a pinch cut looks like.

How to use round nose pliersRound Nose Pliers:

Round nose pliers are used for making loops and bends with wire and only for that.

How to Use Round Nose Pliers

How to use round nose pliersOne thing that I use round nose pliers for is to begin spirals.

How to use round nose pliersRound nose pliers are also use to make loops.  Here I’m starting a wire wrapped loop to make a bead dangle. There is a wire wrapped loop on one end and a spiral on the other end.

You can learn how to make both in Wire Wrapping for Beginners eCourse.

How to use round nose pliersHow to Use Chain Nose PliersChain Nose Pliers:

Chain nose pliers are basically used for everything.  It’s like an extension of your hands when you’re wire wrapping.

You’ll want to have a second pair of chain nose pliers, or I actually suggest that you get bent nose pliers in addition to chain nose pliers.

For jewelry making, make sure the pliers are smooth and do not have teeth on the inside.

How to use chain nose pliers:

Use chain nose pliers to hold wire, wrap wire and bend and twist wire.

How to Use Chain Nose PliersHold a loop wire wrapping it.

How to Use Chain Nose PliersWhile holding the loop with one pair of pliers, wrap the wire around with another pair of pliers.   I’m holding the loop with bent nose pliers.  I’ll usually either hold the loop with the bent nose or actually do the wrapping with the bent nose while holding the loop with chain nose.

How to Use Chain Nose PliersHere I’m making a spiral.  Once you make the original loop, you use chain nose pliers to continue the spiral.

You’ll use chain nose pliers for everything you make when wire wrapping.

Action Steps:

#1  It’s time to get some tools!  Do you have any tools that you can use?

If not, you can get a starter set at a great deal at a jewelry supply store or craft store.  Look for coupons and you’ll get an even better deal.

Get the best quality you can for the budget you have.  You can upgrade to better tools as you learn.  Plus you’ll know what tools you use the most and want to upgrade if you wait until you’ve been making jewelry for a while to upgrade.

#2 Wire Wrapping for Beginners eCourse is a great place to learn how to make many components and learn how to put them together to make beautiful jewelry.  I also show you ways to customize the jewelry pieces to express your creativity and your own personal style.


3 Part Series eBook

This is the second installment of a 3 Part Series to help you get started with wire wrapped jewelry:

Part 1 is about where to get wire, which is one of my most asked questions.

Part 2 is this post you’re reading.

And Part 3 is tutorial and we’ll actually use wire and make a pair of earrings. (It is ECT TV Episode 77: Wire Wrapped Chandelier Crystal Earrings)

You can find each of these 3 parts free on my website at the links above.

However, I know that a lot of you love PDFs that are easier to download and save, so I created a 20 page eBook with all the information (including the step-by-step photos and instructions for the tutorial in part 3), so you can keep it handy.

(Note: The information in the eBook is the same as the blogposts; however, it’s in one easy-to-access place in this eBook. You can download it and save it so you can find it to access it again and again!)

You can get the eBook by purchasing it below:

3 Part Series: Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry PDF eBook
3 Part Series: Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry PDF eBook
Get started making wire wrapped jewelry with this 3 Part eBook. Originally it appeared on my blog for free, now you can download and save the information.
$3.00

After your purchase, you’ll receive an email with a link to download the PDF.

3 Part Series: Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry [Part 1]

3 Part Series: Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry

Over the next 3 days I have a special 3 Part Series to help you get started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry.

Part 1 is today and it’s all about where to get wire, which is one of my most asked questions.

Part 2 is tomorrow and we’ll talk about the tools you need to get started.

And Part 3 will be a tutorial and we’ll actually use wire and make a pair of earrings.

After you go through the series, I would highly suggest that you invest in Wire Wrapping for Beginners eCourse if you’re ready to really dig in and learn how to make lots of components and then put them together to make wire wrapped jewelry, along with lots of inspiration for designing your own unique pieces to express your creativity and personal style.

Part 1: Where to Get Wire

Today I wanted to give you some suggestions about where to get wire since I get this question quite a bit.

If you already have a favorite store for jewelry supplies, start there.

For my eCourses and eWorkshops I use 20 gauge wire the most for almost everything.  For some projects you’ll need a thicker gauge, such as 18 gauge and occasionally you’ll need thinner gauge such as 22 gauge.

For most everything I teach you’ll use half hard wire.

As you get more into wire wrapping and learn more, you’ll find out what other gauges you need and add them.

Sterling silver can be expensive and I don’t recommend it if you’re beginning because it can be very disappointing if you mess it up (and most likely you will mess it up when you’re first starting.)

For silver plated wire:

You can find “artist wire” at craft stores like Michaels, AC Moore or Joann if you have any of those stores close by. (It’s usually silver plated copper or sometimes called “German Wire.”)

You’ll usually not find a temper (or hardness, i.e. half hard, etc.) on the artist wire, but it typically works like half hard wire.

My favorite wire that I most often use Parawire‘s non tarnish silver plated wire.

Fire Mountain Gems has something similar called Zebra Wire, but I haven’t actually used it.  It seems very similar.

I highly recommend Parawire. I use it a lot and I wear my jewelry pieces a lot and it really holds up with no tarnishing.

For copper or brass wire:

These are also nice inexpensive alternatives.  You can usually find copper at craft stores and also really anywhere that sells wire (like FireMountainGems.com or FusionBeads.com).

Typically for brass I have just simply searched for “Brass Wire” on Etsy and purchased it.

(Also, I love mixing brass with silver!)

Sterling Silver:

The options above are all great places to start.  As I mentioned above, if you’re new to making jewelry I would start with these less expensive versions of wire for a while.

However, when you’re ready to purchase sterling silver, you can find that on the same websites as well.  I also recommend Halstead.  (Note: they do have a $100.00 minimum order.)

Action Steps:

#1   In a couple of days we’ll be using wire for a fun tutorial.  So if you don’t have wire, purchase some 20 gauge wire.  If it’s artist wire or Parawire, it won’t have a hardness.  If you do have a choice of hardness, purchase half hard.

#3 Wire Wrapping for Beginners eCourse is a great place to learn how to make many components and learn how to put them together to make beautiful jewelry.  I also show you ways to customize the jewelry pieces to express your creativity and your own personal style.


3 Part Series eBook

This is the first installment of a 3 Part Series to help you get started with wire wrapped jewelry:

Part 1 is this post.

Part 2 is about the tools you need to get started with wire wrapped jewelry.

And Part 3 is tutorial and we’ll actually use wire and make a pair of earrings. (It is ECT TV Episode 77: Wire Wrapped Chandelier Crystal Earrings)

You can find each of these 3 parts free on my website at the links above.

However, I know that a lot of you love PDFs that are easier to download and save, so I created a 20 page eBook with all the information (including the step-by-step photos and instructions for the tutorial in part 3), so you can keep it handy.

(Note: The information in the eBook is the same as the blogposts; however, it’s in one easy-to-access place in this eBook. You can download it and save it so you can find it to access it again and again!)

You can get the eBook by purchasing it below:

3 Part Series: Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry PDF eBook
3 Part Series: Getting Started with Wire Wrapped Jewelry PDF eBook
Get started making wire wrapped jewelry with this 3 Part eBook. Originally it appeared on my blog for free, now you can download and save the information.
$3.00

After your purchase, you’ll receive an email with a link to download the PDF.

Jewelry Making Quick Tip: How to Use Wire Cutters

Using Wire Cutters

Have you ever had the problem that your cuts are always pointy?

You’re not alone because I get this question a lot.

The answer is so simple.

Watch the video:

Learn everything you need to know to get started making wire wrapped jewelry with my FREE Intro to Wire Wrapping eCourse!

Get started by filling out the form.

Get the Free Intro to Wire Wrapping eCourse:

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