Barb did a wonderful post on wire. If you missed it, you can read up on it here.
She talked about wire gauge. I thought perhaps I could add a little bit to that, with some tips and tricks I have learned a long the way.
I like to make my necklaces as ONE large focal piece, connect solidly by wire. This allows me to control how everything hangs and fits together.
see some of the samples below
However, this also posed problems. First of all, I love adding stick pearls as an accent. The holes are always too small though, usually 24 g, if I am lucky, 22g. I found out early on that these thinner wire gauges, even 20, are not strong enough for these sort of necklaces.
While those smaller gauges work well if you are connecting beads with wire wrapped loops (which allows for movement and won't cause pressure on the wire itself), for a connection that doesn't allow for movement, it will not end up well.
Although I found that my necklaces I wore didn't break, some customers had problems with them. What was happening with the customers was that they would move the focal pieces up and down, adjusting how they lay a little each time. You know what happens with you bend a wire back and forth and back and forth over time? Yeah, it breaks.
So I added heavier wire to secure them. I started to wrap more wire around it, to prevent it from being able to be moved by the customer. Still, there were plenty of times I want to use pretty beads with thinner holes.
I found a solution. It may not work for everyone, depending on what you are doing, but it works for my designs.
What I do is take my take my heavy gauge wire- usally 18g, and make my wire wrapped loop, add my first bead, then, in the place I want the pearl I leave the spot open. Lay that piece down for now.
Then I feed my pearl onto the 22g wire leaving plenty of tails on each end.
Now you can lay it where you want it
Wrap the thinner wire around the thicker wire. You are essentially wrapping the pearl onto the thicker wire
Push it close to the first bead
repeat on the other side
Warp it back around the pearl, and you can even wrap it over the first bead if you want. wrap tight and tuck your ends in
Now add your next or last bead, and go back around the pearl and first bead with the reaming thick wire. if the thick wire was on the backside of the pearl, this time make sure it goes across the front
(refer back to the above picture when you get to the end of the post)
Another wire tip, use your fine files!!! Especially when using thicker gauge wire. Even if you tuck an end in really good, it may be rough, just because it is so thick. Use your needle files to gently round the end, so it won't catch or scratch anyone.
I often run my fingers up and down a piece over and over to try to find snags.
You should also use dead soft wire for wire wrapping. Many beginners make the mistake (like I did) of buying half or full hard wire, thinking it was stronger. It will not work smoothly, and will not hold shape well (it forever wants to spring back to form). Dead soft will actually hold is shape for wire wrapping better, and your hands will thank you too.
I hope that gives you some fresh things to think about where wire is concerned.
AND- since we have not had a giveaway in forever.....I am giving away the pendant shown above. This is open to US residents only this time.
All you have to do is share this post, either on facebook, your blog, tweet it, pin it, ect.....
Then be sure to leave a comment below, with how you shared, and your email so we can contact you if you win. A winner will be picked Monday April 21st by random generator.
(do not leave your comment on our facebook page, leave it here so it can be counted)