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what size wire do i need?

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  • what size wire do i need?

    I want to expand my jewellery skills and have a go at wire wrapping etc but I don't know what size wire I need? I have 28 gauge wire which is too thin but have no idea what this is in terms of mm! I've seen some on ebay that is 0.3mm but even though I'm a maths teacher I can't imagine how big it is.

    I've worked with memory wire before but only to make wrap style bracelets and don't think this is what I'm after? I think I need wire the same thickness as head pins etc.

    Any ideas??


    Last edited by cardsbykatie; 18-12-2008, 03:25 PM. Reason: i should rehat i type before submitting!

  • #2
    0.3 is very thin. Id go for .8 or even a .6 to start off with. Or get some copper in all sizes and try them out.

    I use 1.2 for pendant edges and either 0.6 or .4 to wrap with, depending how i want it to look. I use .8 for earrings usually. Or .6 if they arent heavy beads.

    Not sure on wha they are as gauges. I think there will be a guide online.

    Head pins tend to be .8 i think. Memory wire isnt suitable at all. Its very hard.
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    • #3
      I'd completely agree about getting a range of sizes in copper to practice with before you start working with silver. is a great place to get copper wire. When you want to get silver, it's far cheaper from a bullion dealer (eg cooksons or even palmer metals) than a bead supplier.

      Most wire sold in the UK is in metric sizes, but as a reference, the gauge equivalents (to awg) are approximately:

      30ga - 0.25mm
      26ga - 0.4mm
      24ga - 0.51mm
      22ga - 0.64mm
      21ga - 0.7mm
      20ga - 0.81mm
      18ga - 1.02mm
      16ga - 1.29mm
      14ga - 1.62mm
      12ga - 2.05mm

      Most commercial headpins are made from 22ga wire.


      • #4
        Do you mean wire wrapping or wire sculpted jewellery?
        If you mean wire sculpted ie: wire frames around cabachons or making bracelets/rings etc then you will need 20g or 21g square half hard or round half hard wire for the main structure and 18g half round half hard wire for making your wraps to hold the structure together along with a small amount of 16g round half hard wire to make your clasps with.
        If you mean wire wrapped links for making necklace links or dangly earrings with beads then 22g or 24g round wire is what I would recommend, any thicker and it will be a struggle to get it through the holes in some beads, particularly fresh water pearls, etc.
        Yes I agree that it is better to begin with either copper or brass practise wire before you move onto sterling silver or 14ct gold filled wire.
        It is a fascinating and addictive form of jewellery making and you can achieve some excellent results very early on, however be warned once you learn how to make this kind of jewellery you will be addicted, take it from someone who knows...
        Good luck, we expect to see some awesome jewellery in a few weeks now


        • #5
          I mainly use .8mm for the main structure and for earrings and .4mm for wrapping.
          Have a look at they have some great ideas and really good beginners instructions.