Wire & Chain

memory wireMemory Wire

Memory wire holds its circular shape and is made with high tensile stainless steel. Make a single braclet loop or a bulkier multi-loop bracelet. Secure end by making a loop, or glue a one-holed bead at each end. No need for a clasp. Only cut with heavy duty wire cutters.

Chains

There are a large variety of chains.

curb chainCurb | cable chain Cable | figaro chain Figaro |

There is also a large variety of things you can do with chains, e.g.:

  • Make simple necklaces and bracelets
  • Make charm bracelets
  • Use as a feature in earrings
  • Use it to suspend pendants

Use your imagination to come up with more ideas.

Wire

wireThe various sizes of wire is known as gauges. Used to make wire jewellery, eye pins, and head pins.

The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire. Use the guide below to choose the gauge you need for your project:

GaugeApplication
16-18
(1.29-1.02 mm)
Used for making clasps, jump rings and jig designs. I don't usually use anything thicker than this.
20
(0.8 mm)
Use when a stronger wire is needed, e.g. making clasps, jump rings, jig designs.
21-22
(0.72-0.64 mm)
Most useful as it is easy to work with - not too thick and not too thin! Make head pins, ear wires and other jewellery findings. Use for nearly all earring projects and linking beads. You may find 21 gauge wire hard to get.
24
(0.5 mm)
Used for finer jewellery projects.
26-32
(0.4-0.2 mm)
Wire crocheting. Crazy wire design jewellery, designs which don't need to hold their shape exactly. Also for beads with small holes.

Wire Hardness

Wire hardness is a measurement of the temper of the wire, or its malleability. The ability to bend the wire easily with your fingers is defined as "soft", while the inability to easily bend the wire is defined as "hard".

The hardness of the wire is controlled by annealing or heating. When the wire is heated, then cooled properly, it will become softer. It is hardened by drawing it through a plate. The more times the wire is drawn through the plate, the harder it becomes.

Wire is available in a range of hardness levels, ranging from zero (called "dead soft") to ten, or higher. "Dead soft" wire (#0) is not drawn through a plate. Wire drawn through a plate twice is "half hard". Wire drawn through a plates four times is "hard", and wire drawn through a plate eight times is "spring hard".

The most common hardness which meets the majority of wire designing needs are #0 (dead soft), #1 (quarter hard), #2 (half-hard), and #4 (hard).

The wire guage also has an impact on the hardness. For example, 12G wire is quite thick and difficult to bend even when it is "dead soft", compared to 20G which is thinner and is very malleable and easy to bend when it is "dead soft".

Wire Shapes

Wire also comes in different shapes including round, half-round and square. Most projects are made with round wire as it is more versatile.