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Wire Jewelry Printable Resource: Wire Footage Charts

by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com

Wire Jewelry Idea for
November 2, 2011

Here at Wire-Sculpture, we cut our wire by the foot for your convenience, rather than shipping you a quarter-ounce, half-ounce, or full ounce of jewelry wire. (Remember: precious metal is measured in ozt, or troy ounces) But what if you’re familiar with ordering by the ounce, as some precious metals are, or what if your electrician friend offered you a couple pounds of scrap copper wire? Is it worth the drive across town?

We’ve collected data on Gold-Filled, Sterling Silver, and Argentium® wires, the most common wires to be sold by weight, and put it in a convenient chart for you. We’ve also included our chart on Copper and Brass, which are often measured by the pound. Please note, all values are approximate.

Download this Jewelry Measurements PDF Download Wire Length-per-Weight Charts (60KB)  |  Download Adobe Reader

Click to Download!
click to download wire footage charts

Feel free to bookmark this page, or our other Wire Charts page, and come back as often as you like!

 

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by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong and Krystal Day, Wire-Sculpture.com

You have decided to give wire jewelry making a try, congratulations! It is a lot of fun, but there are so many different sizes or gauges, tempers or hardness and shapes of jewelry making wire to choose from, that one can easily become confused. One of the questions I am often asked about a variety of projects is, “What type of wire can I use?” In this short series of “About Jewelry Making Wire” articles, I hope to be able to cure most of your curiosity and confusion.

 

How to choose the wire hardness

Referring to metals, a wire’s “hardness” or temper is the measurement of its malleability; how easy is the wire to control, shape and/or bend without breaking.  When purchasing jewelry making wire, you will find that it is available in several different levels of hardness. Depending on the metal, the most popular jewelry wires can be categorized into four groups: hard, half hard, medium hard, and dead soft. Wire tempers may also be labeled by number:

  • Full Hard #4
  • Half Hard #2
  • Medium Hard #1
  • Dead Soft #0

 

Full Hard Wire is difficult to bend and expertly holds its shape in whatever configuration it is worked into. Hard wire can be used to make ear wires, pins, single jump rings, hook,s and clasps that will get a lot of use; because the harder the wire, the more “spring” it naturally has. For example: the pin on a well-loved brooch will be pushed back and forth many times, therefore a harder wire will withstand more use before possible breakage.

 

Half Hard Wire is definitely more malleable than full hard, and it is the most popular wire temper for those who create “traditional” wire jewelry items. This wire will beautifully hold any shape it is bent into and because it will work harden quickly, it is the perfect choice for executing prong designs. Half hard wire forms crisp clean angles and smooth spirals and curves, and it is the preferred choice when making jump rings.

Discover how to make a Prong Ring
This prong ring was made in half hard gold filled wire.

Medium Hard Wire is just a bit more soft than half hard wire, usually found as silver-plated and colored craft wire. Because this wire has enough temper to create almost all of the same projects as half hard wire, it can be a great substitute for those with more sensitive hands and fingers. However, because the core of most craft wires is generally copper, it is not recommended for prong creation.

 

Dead Soft Wire is extremely malleable and it can be easily bent into a myriad of shapes by using just your hands. It is great for making loops, swirls, spirals, and sculpted wire jewelry pieces. Dead soft wire is also used for coiling, crocheting, knitting, and weaving, or to mix with half hard wire in certain situations. Depending on the size (gauge) of the wire, dead soft wire does not hold its shape in stress situations, such as prongs; however, it can be hardened and/or beautifully textured by using a variety of jewelers’ hammers.

 

Please keep in mind, that most jewelry making wire will “work harden” as it is bent and formed, making the harder tempers more difficult to work with near the end of a project. This feature can be an advantage while making certain items that will take a lot of stress such as hooks, clasps, and pins, to name a few. The temper of a wire may also appear to harder to work with, depending on the size or gauge of a wire. For example, bending a piece of 22-gauge half hard wire is much easier than bending a piece of 14-gauge half hard wire, because 14-gauge is larger. We’ll talk more about gauges in the next article.

 

What’s your favorite temper to work with, or do you mix and match? Leave a comment below!

Daily Wire Tip Oct. 19: Storing Jewelry Making Wire

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
October 19, 2011

Question:

Dale, I’m fairly new to this wire wrapping thing but I’m loving it…I wonder how you (and others) store their wire so you can find a particular gauge and if it’s half round, round or square without having to hunt and study ends with a magnifier? Thanks for any help!

-Bonnie in San Manuel, Arizona

Answer:

Hi Bonnie, welcome to our “twisted” world! As a “newbie”, when situations come up, you can find a lot of answers to your questions right here on our blog! Yes, I know that there is so much information on here, that it can be difficult to find things, but when you have time you can explore each of the categories in the left menu, especially Free Wire Jewelry Videos!

Separating and storing jewelry making wire can be done in several different ways. A while back, faculty member Sherrie Lingerfelt made a video showing some ideas titled Organizing ALL of your Jewelry Wire! that may help. We also had a great discussion in May, Organizing Jewelry Wire where lots of our fellow wire artists shared their favorite storing and labeling methods in the comments section. I hope you find a technique that works for you!

Binder full of jewelry wire
One method is to use a large binder with clear sheet protectors, great for when you have limited space (like the dining room table). You can find packs of binder sheet protectors at office supply stores. Rose is a school supplies junkie and stored her coiled wire (with the original bag & label) in this binder when she started wire wrapping, and still uses it for frequently-used-wire. Just don’t drop the binder!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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Daily Wire Tip Oct. 17: Nickel-Free Wire

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
October 17, 2011

Question:

I have talked to a number of people with nickel allergies, and want to make jewelry these folks can wear without having a reaction. What kinds of wires are nickel free, and how readily available are they?

-Dorothy in Prineville, Oregon

Answer:

Hi Dorothy, we have had a many good discussions on wire that should not react to people in an adverse way. However, because each human being produces and excretes varying amounts of different chemicals, including salt, it is really difficult to say exactly what will not cause an allergic reaction to everyone! I compiled this list of metal allergy discussions we’ve had for you:

In the discussion under Jewelry Wire for Earrings we find that some folks are even allergic to surgical steel and that niobium is one choice. Niobium wire isn’t generally available on the market, but findings such as ear wires can be found online.

The discussions under Purity and Sensitivity with Argentium® Silver several folks agree with me about using this special metal wire for those with nickel allergies because Argentium contains absolutely no nickel whatsoever!

Metal Beads for Ear Wraps also talks about metal allergies, and one reader recommends using fine silver.

And the Hypoallergenic Ear Wires discussion reminds us that titanium also contains no nickel.

As far as being available, Wire-Sculpture stocks Argentium wire, and there are many places on the Internet where you can find the other choices mentioned. I hope these ideas answer your question, Dorothy. Happy twisting!!

Editor’s Note: Generally speaking, gold is nickel-free, so gold filled wire (being a thick layer that won’t chip or scratch) is also safe for those with a nickel allergy. Pure silver doesn’t contain nickel; sterling (92.5% silver) is generally considered safe for those with a nickel allergy. And as you likely already know, “hypoallergenic” does not have a regulated meaning in the U.S., so “hypoallergenic” products may well still contain nickel. However, European standards prohibit more than 0.05% nickel in jewelry, so our European customers must be far more careful!

Your turn: What wires do you trust for your nickel-sensitive clients? Have you tried any “hypoallergenic” metals like fine silver or niobium, and what were your results? Let us know in the comments below!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
October 13, 2011

Question:

I’m confused. I’m just starting wire wrapping, have bought some tools, magazines, books and videos but nowhere does anyone address copyright or the legality of copying free wire wrapping patterns, pictures, videos etc. in wearing or selling the finished wire wrapped jewelry. I want to get this clear before getting excited about creating!

-Sue in Henderson, Nevada

Answer:

Hi Sue, most of the time the copyright and restrictions on patterns are up to the designer who wrote the pattern, or else the publisher that published the pattern. If you don’t see a copyright notice anywhere on the pattern, book, or DVD, the proper thing to do would be to contact the pattern designer or the publisher, and ask about their restrictions. That way you’ll know for sure; copyright restrictions can vary.

If you’re asking specifically about Dale “Cougar” Armstrong’s DVDs, or any of the jewelry patterns on Wire-Sculpture.com, Dale’s covered that in this tip: Copyright and Jewelry Design, as well as some advice on ensuring you have copyright protection in this post: Making Wire Jewelry from Patterns, and Copyright. You can see Wire-Sculpture’s official policy on our Terms & Conditions page.

Being a knitter as well as a jewelry-maker, in my experience jewelry pattern designers are much more gracious in their “terms” of using the pattern. I’ve seen many patterns for knitwear – even ones that are purchased! – that still request that the knitter not even sell the finished product without getting permission from the pattern designer. You are certainly free to make, sell, give, and wear jewelry made from patterns on Wire-Sculpture. Thanks for asking, and have fun creating!

Answer contributed by Rose Marion

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