All About Wire....

January 17, 2017

All About Wire....

When I first started making wire wrap jewelry I purchased my wire from the same supplier that provided my other findings. So there I was struggling to twist and shape wire around my gemstones, and at the end of the day suffering with throbbing wrists and fingers. Little did I know till years later, that not all wire is created equal.

I was watching a wire wrapping tutorial on “You Tube” a few years ago and as the woman is going through the supplies you would need she suggests using “dead soft wire”. I am scratching my head…dead soft…what is she talking about? When I checked my suppliers there was no dead soft wire. I did a google search and after looking at a lot of sites finally found a store that specialized in wire; offering it in different types, gauges, and hardness. I quickly placed an order, and what a world of difference it was creating that first pendant with “dead soft” wire!!!

To save you from throbbing wrists if you should want to try your hand at wire wrapping this is what I finally found out. Wire comes in 4 tempers;

- full hard
- half hard
- medium hard
- dead soft

Full hard wire, though difficult to bend, holds it shape. It is suitable for making ear wires, pins, jump rings, and hooks and clasps.

Half Hard Wire, is more malleable than full hard wire and holds any shape you create; hardening as you work with it. You can create smooth spirals and angles with it, and many choose it for making jumps rings or rings.

Medium Hard Wire, this wire is a bit softer and the temper most “silver plated” and coloured craft wire comes in. For those with more sensitive hands and fingers, this wire is a great substitute for the same projects that one would use in half hard wire projects.

Dead Soft Wire, can be easily bent into any shape you like by using just your hands. Creating lovely spirals, swirls, loops, and for knitting, coiling, and weaving. It is often mixed with half hard wire depending on your project and can be textured or hardened with a jeweller's hammer.

Most jewelry wire will “work harden” as you form and bend it. And yes, as you may have guessed by now, the wire I had been using previously was Half Hard!
That said, at least I had the gauges right.

Necklaces wrapped with dead soft wire.

Wire comes in different gauges/diameters, the smaller the number the larger the wire. Below are listed the more commonly used wire gauges and suitability.

14 gauge: Great for creating frames for resin and mixed media projects as
well as extra strength components.

16-18 gauge: Suitable for jumps rings, sturdy clasps, ear wires, necklace and
bracelet wire.

20-22 gauge: These are versatile, all purpose wires. Used for bracelets and
necklaces. Able to use for stringing most beads and if it work hardened can
also be used for eye pins, jump rings, ear wires, lightweight clasps and for
creating handmade chain.

24-26 gauge: Thin wire that is good for stringing beads and pearls with small
holes or crafting Viking knit.

28-32 gauge: Thin and thread like, usually used for intricate crocheting and


Earrings and center necklace using 22 gauge wire. Butterfly necklace using 20 gauge soft and medium hard wire.

Next time we will look at wire shapes and types of wire.

Hope all of you are enjoying the longer daylight hours…


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