Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's Not Always About Saving Money....

MaryAnn Carroll
From some of the tips I've offered, you might think I'm frugal. The truth is that I  am not and can only dream of what it might mean to save.  I do, however, have a weird thing about not spending money on certain things like ATM charges, parking fees (I'll walk a considerable distance) and wrapping paper. Kinda odd, I know. I also try to be careful when it comes to creating. I try not to over purchase since when this form of art was new to me, I went over the top buying beads. I still have soooo many beads that I don't even use. Sometimes, I'll pull out all of my plastic containers when a friend wants to make something. Most of the time, they end up falling in love with all the handmade beads and components that I also have a collection of and that is what gets used.

Okay, I'm rambling.... What I wanted to share today is that I love to explore when I'm in hardware stores both big and small. A new Lowes was built near us just a year ago, so I have many opportunities to check out the isles and see what catches my eye. A year or so ago, this is what caught my eye

To electricians, this is the various types of wire that they need for different jobs. For me, this is a gigantic selection of bare copper wires with every gauge imaginable. I love this thing.... The people working there often think I'm nuts when I want to look inside to see what gauges might be in there. Note: I tried to get the best picture I could. I started to get a little concerned about security cameras and them thinking I'm staking out the copper!!! hahaha! I would have had some explaining to do ;o)

When I'm exploring, I don't usually get more than 5' for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I might not use that thickness often and two is that I like to compare my finds with copper wire that the gauge has already been set for. If you look closely, you might be able to see that that are different gauges in this one large coated wire. All that you need to do is lay the wire on a cutting board and cut through to the coating. Mostly it takes a six inch cut to pull off over a foot.

And here you see many strands of 16 gauge wire.

This last time, I came home with a bunch of 20 gauge and 18 gauge wire all wrapped up together. I don't have a spool to roll these up neatly (I'll be looking for something I can use while perusing garage sales).

As you can see, when I added these to my liver of sulfur mix, they darkened quite nicely.

And, here they are being put to good use..... I've created a bunch of jump rings and a standard clasp which is still my favorite clasp to use.

So, why do I go through all this when I could simply purchase it online?

I can control quanities without changing price.
It's fun.
I know I'm getting real copper every time.
It's almost like making my own wire.
And, yes, the cost is a little less than most online shops that I've compared this to. This last time, my copper wire was about 13 cents a foot.  I did find some online for the same cost, but when I added in the shipping, it was about a five cent savings per foot.

On another note, this is the last day to get your August entries in for Strut Your Stuff. Please remember to follow the instructions since I will randomly choose from those that do.

And.... As always, Thank-you for supporting those who create handmade with handmade.



Libellula Jewelry said...

I've bought wire the same way when I've only needed short length of a gauge I don't use frequently. It's pretty convenient!

If you need spools, I'd be happy to start saving mine from the lb. coils I buy from Just let me know. I've got two empty ones right now.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Thanks! I will let you know. Right now, I have them all in bins :o)

Stacie said...

I'm going to Lowes to day...needed some 16 gauge wire last night, and always forget that I can just strip off the plastic...thanks for the reminder !!!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it's great when you don't have time to wait for an online order ;o)

KayzKreationz said...

I love the wire aisle in my Lowe's and Home Depot. But when you ask for wire and the guy wants to know (since of course, I'm a woman) what I'm going to use it for and you start explaining to them "I use it to make jewelry" you can't believe the weird looks you get. LOL

stacilouise said...

When I was in college mu good friend and I would strip wire and make pendants with it. I loved cutting and peeling the wire! too much work for me now, since I use gobs and gobs of it, but it was fun to do, and free. We scored extra wire from his electrician friend.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Ha! Fun! If I created as much jewelry as you, this would not be too practical, but for the mean time, I really create a small amount of jewelry although I've just been asked by a local gallery if they could buy my work wholesale. I'm still trying to figure that out and if it is going to be worth it!

kathyin_nap said...

I can buy a spool of 20 ga at home depot copper , 260 ft for less than a lot less than in a craft or beading store. And 20 ga is something you can always use. And 18 ga at lowes about 15 ft. All on a spool , all not coated. Both are a popular ga for wire jewelry.

Barb Stokes said...

Great ideas - I also found some nice 18 ga. and 16 ga. on spools in Tractor Supply Company store - similar to Lowe's & Home Depot. Great place for hardware to use, as well - tiny hinges and screws, etc !

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