Beading wire will in some cases fit the look you want for your project and you may prefer the durability of wire. The next step is to decide on which wire to use.
The beading wire with which you choose to string your beads depends on the type of jewelry you are making (or on personal preference), but there are a few basic guidelines concerning wire hardness, wire shape, and wire size to help you make an informed selection:
Beading Wire Hardness:
Dead Soft Wire is extremely soft and flexible. Individuals who have used this wire have found it easy to bend. They have also found it excellent for making rounded shapes. It works great for wire wrapping and sculpting projects. Beaders who have used this Wire have found that it doesn’t hold its shape when weight or pressure is applied.
Half Hard wire is slightly stiffer. It is excellent for making tight bends, for making loops, and for wrapping around itself. It maintains its shape under stress. Hard Wire is very stiff, easily holds its shape, and is excellent for clasps. It may be very difficult to use for intricate designs.
Beading wire is made in several shapes. The “shape” refers to the shape of the cut end. Wire can be round, square, or half-round. Round wire is the most commonly used, but square and half-round wire are available.
Half round wire can be wrapped around other pieces of wire to connect them. The corners of square wire are used to add visual interest; it can also be twisted to create pleasing effects.
A note of caution is to select the biggest size wire that will fit through the gap in the beads you need to string. The beading wire is estimated in gauge or millimeters.
Wire utilized as a part of jewelry influencing ranges from 10-to gauge to 36-gauge. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire.
Some of the most common beading wire sizes:
14-16 gauge (1.65 mm-1.3 mm) Used for clasps, napkin rings, or as a base for stiff bracelets,
18 gauge (1.0 mm) Used for clasps, beads with large holes, lamp-work, metal, or as a base.
20 gauge (.80 mm) Used for findings such as ear-wires, jump-rings, and headpins and for stringing glass beads.
22 gauge (.65 mm) A very useful size because the wire is fairly thick, but most beads still fit on it.
24-26 gauge (.5 mm-.4 mm) Suitable for wrapping very small beads and for stringing beads with small holes.
28-30 gauge (.32 mm-.26 mm) Used for free form wrapping of small beads (like seed beads) and for knitting and crocheting with wire.
At this point, when you visit your beading store, you will be more familiar with the buses of the beading wire. Analyze your beading project, including the weight of the beads and the size of their holes, as you decide on which beading wire will be most suitable. Always try to choose the strongest beading wire possible, so that your piece will be durable, but remember that you still want it to be flexible and have some movement.
Choosing the beading wire that best fits your project can be enjoyable if you’re familiar with the basics of wire hardness, wire shape, and wire size. Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment to achieve the wired design you’re dreaming of.
Important Tools for Beading.
There are several “must have” tools needed to get the job done correctly. Before making a trip to the craft store, become familiar with the function of each tool.
Crimpers, needle nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire, jewelry wire cutters, crimping beads, a ruler, and a bead board (and possibly a bead spinner for tiny seed beads) are the basics for making necklaces, bracelets and earrings. When shopping, try to buy durable tools. Consider it an investment.
You should first select the Beading wire. There are many different widths (gauges) and materials available to consumers. The strongest is made from strands of stainless steel covered in nylon.
Jewelry wire cutters are stronger than scissors. They aid in making a clean cut after the wire has been measured. This tool cuts by wedging the wire apart.
Crimping tools allow the artist to close crimping beads. What’s a crimping bead, you may ask? It is the piece that fastens the clasp to the beading wire. There are several types of crimping beads: ribbed crimps, crimp tubes, and tornado crimps. They come in different base metals – usually brass or nickel, but can also be found in silver, gold or the plated versions of each.
Crimp tubes are probably the easiest to work with, especially for beginners. When making jewelry, it is important to match the size of the crimping beads to the wire. If they don’t match, clasps may come loose and the whole piece could fall apart.
Needle nose pliers and round nose pliers are helpful when working with fasteners and clasps. Jewelry pliers are probably the most important tool to get. Individuals can also use Needle nose pliers for wire-wrapping. Needle nose pliers are helpful for gripping and cutting materials.
People who have worked with Round nose pliers, also called snub-nosed pliers, have found that these pliers can also be used for gripping. It is important to have pliers handy when working with small pieces of wire, because they can easyly grabbing delicate objects.
Some craft stores sell jewelry pliers, crimping tools, and wire cutters as a set. If purchased this way, it is really important to label each tool as they are probably the same color. Color coding will help to alleviate selecting for example: a wire cutter in lieu of the crimping tool. It is always a pleasure to maintain the integrity of the project that has taken a lot of time to construct.
Other Beading tools
A twelve inch ruler and a bead board are also helpful tools. Both aid in measuring the length of a necklace or bracelet. Bead boards are not imperative but they do help with designing and stringing beads. The use of a hard plastic Beading board allows the beader to place the decorative beads and make adjustments where necessary.
The board has numbers, like a ruler, which enables the measuring of the project. Bead boards allows the beader to preview of the finished work before the beads are put on the wire. The boards also have trays for holding extra beads and spacers.
Depending on the project, there may be other useful tools. Whenever a beader is working with seed beads a bead spinner, makes the task of stringing these tiny beads easier. Beads are “spun” onto the beading wire with this tool instead of having to string each one by hand.