Beginner’s Guide to Wire-Wrapping & Best Wire Gauges

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The popularity of wire-wrapping as a jewelry-making technique keeps rising. That doesn’t come as a surprise since the craft is relatively easy. It also brings the satisfaction of making something on your own, especially a piece of jewelry.

In the jewelry world, uniqueness is also something that makes the piece more striking, valuable, and beautiful. Fortunately, wire-wrapping allows you to create an ornament that’s one of a kind. How good would it feel to raise eyebrows because of a piece of jewelry you made with your own eyes?

Hold your horses. As exciting as it may sound, that only happens if you do the wire-wrapping right. How do you do so, yet you are just a beginner? You have come to the right place for such answers.

This article gives into detail a guide on how to wire-wrap. It also discusses the best wire gauge for wrapping stones and much more. So, check it out!

What Is Wire-Wrapping?

First of all, wire-wrapping is a technique that comes in handy when making jewelry. As the name suggests, the method involves securing the gemstones in place using a wire usually thin.

A Beginner’s Guide To Wire-Wrapping Perfectly

Wire-wrapping is one of the most straightforward techniques of making jewelry that you can learn within no time. All you need is the right tools and the correct procedures. For instance, you need the best wire gauge for wrapping stones to come up with a fantastic piece. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into how to go about it.

What Do You Need To Start Wire-Wrapping?

Before you can even start wire-wrapping, ensure that you have the following things:

  • Wire

It is the main thing about wire-wrapping, which is evident from its name.

  • Pliers

Preferably choose side-cutting pliers or needle-nose pliers as a beginner. Keep in mind that you will need four pliers, which you will use simultaneously. The first two will cut, whereas the other pair will wrap the wire. 

  • Beads And Gemstones

Gemstones are expensive and attractive, whereas beads are simple but also beautiful. Both of them can make incredible framework centerpieces. Therefore, choose the available one that also matches your taste and budget.

  • Extras

The optional ones include a liver of sulfur, sandpaper, and jewelry hammer & anvil

Step-By-Step Guide On How To Do Wire-Wrapping

We will focus on the coiling technique because it allows you to make just anything. Here is how to go about it.

  • Cut a piece of wire with a gauge of 20
  • Cut another piece of wire with a gauge of 26 and longer than the previous one
  • Hold the two wires together
  • Then, start wrapping the 26-gauge wire around the 20-gauge wire while pulling the former tight
  • Continue until you have an extremely coiled piece

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Right Wire For Wire-Wrapping

There are many wires that you can use to carry out wire-wrapping. For the record, they are too many to the extent that crafters say that choosing one is the most daunting task. Fortunately, this guide will make it easy for you.

#1 Wire Shapes

Wire comes in various shapes, including square, half-round, round and twisted. The spiraling effect on the twisted wire is perfect when you want your piece to look fancy. 

Both square and half-round wires are suitable for wrapping stones thanks to their flat side that prevents the wire-wrapped object from rolling off. Last but not least, round wires are the most versatile ones.

#2 Wire Materials

The material of a wire determines various attributes, including durability, components, price, and color. The materials for this job include steel, nickel, brass, silver, gold, and copper. Copper is the most common one, although it is often plated with gold or silver or coated with various colors, including purple, red, green, blue, and black.

It is important to note that brass is relatively springy, and for that reason, it is tricky to work with.

#3 Wire Strength

It is classified into three main categories, namely full-hard, hard-hard and dead soft. Let’s look at them in detail.

  • Full-Hard

It is the hardest and the most robust wire due to being pulled through the draw plate many times. Due to its thickness, it is hard for it to lose its shape.

  • Half-Hard

It is also hard and strong because it has also been pulled through the draw plate. However, it can’t match the strength and hardness of the full-hard due to the difference in the number of times they pass through the draw plate. It is the most common type due to being quite malleable.

  • Dead-Soft

It is soft enough for someone to bend it using your bare hands. Are you a fan of wire-sculpted jewelry? If nodding, then this wire is a sure bet. Since they are pliable, the shape may not last for a long time.

#4 Wire Gauge

It is the measure of how thick a wire is. For obvious reasons, a thick wire is hard to bend and holds its shape excellently and vice versa. So, what is the best wire gauge for wrapping stones?

For various needs and users, there are several wire gauges. This segment is about the best wire gauge for wrapping stones on different occasions.

  • 16-18 Gauge

Are you making jewelry that needs a framework? If yes, this is the best wire gauge for the likes of bracelets and pendants. Besides sturdy structural frameworks, they are also great for sculpting. They are thick hence hard to bend or lose shape.

  • 20-22 Gauge

Their thickness is average. Uses include creating stable frameworks and embellishments.

  • 24-26 Gauge

They are the thinnest thus relatively pliable. Due to the wire’s nature, they are most suitable for embellishments and fine detailing.

Some Of The Best Wire-Wrapping Wires Available In The Market

#1 Benecreat Various Metal Wire

It comes in four different colors, namely gold, silver, antique bronze, and copper. Therefore, the package has four rolls each for every color. Each roll is made up of 20-gauge wire of up to 11 yards.

It loses neither the color nor the shine even as time goes by because of its tarnish-resistant coating. It is a permanent look hence durable and also forever fashionable. 

Pros

  • Easy to bend since it is pliable, malleable, and flexible
  • It also comes in various colors

Cons

  • Since it is soft, there are high chances of losing shape over time

#2 Bare Copper Wire For Hobby Craft

As a beginner, this is also a great wire as you embark on this journey of mastering wire-wrapping. You can quickly wrap it around gemstones and beads without worrying about them breaking.

However, you may have a hard time bending it. Feel free to solder or hammer it because it is strong enough not to break while you are at it. The material of this 20-gauge wire is solid copper pure up to 99.95%.

Pros

  • Up to 25 feet of wire
  • Flexible and soft

Cons

  • It can be hard to bend using bare hands.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best wire gauge for wrapping stones?

The best wire gauge for wrapping stones is the 20-gauge wire. It is neither too hard to bend nor too soft to lose its shape easily.

What jewelry projects can I do with wire-wrapping?

You can craft pendants, earrings, ear cuffs, and bracelets. Others include necklaces, chockers, tiaras, crowns, and headpieces, just to mention a few.

Conclusion

With the beginner’s guide on wire-wrapping, the jewelry-making technique is no longer a new thing to you. You also know what you need for you to get started.

When choosing a wire, don’t forget that the buying guide to help you choose the best is at your disposal. Alternatively, consider our recommendations when buying one. I hope that the guide will help your wire-wrapping journey take off well.

Author Profile

Anna is a content writer who specializes in education. With over 10 years of experience working as a teacher in the UK and internationally, her goal is to write content that is experience-based, practical, and engaging.