Wired - Intro to Beading Wire

From Fusion Beads

When I first started working with wire, I was totally confused. Gauge? Hardness?  Metal? Round? Half Round? I was clueless with too many options.

So let's clarify some things...


The trick with gauge is to remember the smaller number gauge is thicker than the higher number gauge (i.e. 14 gauge is much thicker than a 28 gauge). 

The type of bead you are working with will determine what gauge wire you need. Some beads are heavier with larger holes; a 20- 22 gauge wire will work perfectly. Most beaders use between 24  and 28 gauge for everyday projects. Small semi-precious gemstone briolettes, for instance, work well with 26 gauge wire. The wire is thin enough to go through even the smallest holes.

For making your own clasps, jump rings, ear wires and components any gauge between 14- 20 will work just fine.


Dead Soft: Soft wire is extremely malleable.  It is great for wire weaving and can be used for wire wrapped very delicate gemstones.  It is not recommended for larger or heavier stones or as connections between stones. Okay to use for a gemstone that is dangling down.

Half Hard:    


For the most part, round is your best option. It will have the cleanest lines when wire wrapping. Half round or square will give your jewelry a different look but may be harder to wrap.   Most of the time they are useful when working with cabochons.
Half Hard from Fusion Beads
Square from Fusion Beads

 Sterling Silver and Gold-filled metal are the best for a reasonable price.  They will both last for quite some time when cared for properly. Fine Silver and Gold are options too, but VERY expensive.


Chain Nose Pliers:
5in Chain Nose Pliers

Also known as needle nose, these pliers have a pointed tip and a textured metal base.  Great  for bending and grasping wire.

Round Nose Pliers:
Round Nose Pliers
These have a rounded, pointed tip that are used for making loops and wire wrapping.

Flat Nose Pliers:

Flat Nose Pliers
Great for holding onto metal wire and making 90 degree angles.

Wire Cutters:

Flush Cutters

There are many different wire cutters out there. I would splurge a little on this one, otherwise the wire you are cutting can actually indent the metal blades.

Oh! I almost forgot...

Soft wire gets kinks and knots very easily.  A nylon jaw plier to straighten the wire works like a charm.

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