View Full Version : 16 gauge hard wire

03-24-2004, 07:15 AM
Recently, I was given over 500 feet of 16 gauge copper wire and I was wondering what it could be used for in jewelry making. It's a bit on the hard side and harder to bend than I'm used to. I thought of for the base of a thick beaded bracelet. What is the typical gauge for one? There is so much there I would love to have any other ideas. Thanks!

Oooh it's going to be a warm, sunny day for once! :cool:


03-24-2004, 08:23 AM
I was given over 500 feet of 16 gauge copper wire

O-o-o, nice gift! :)

There are many who use 16 gauge for making jewelry, including bangles, etc., and there are some good sites online for helping you get started - www.wigjig.com, Wire Artist ( www.wag.on.ca ), and www.wiresculptor.com . You can find a pretty large list of jewelry making resources at my website - www.joycerenee.com . Just click on the link Resource Directory & it will give you the links I've collected.

Also, Connie Fox's site has some fabulous examples of wire wrapped jewelry - www.conniefox.com .

One tip - the more you work the wire, the harder it will become. You might get a cheap roll of 20 gauge brass practice wire at Wal Mart (about $3) to learn with before you commit to more expensive metals. I say 20 gauge here simply because it will be a little easier to learn with.

You'll also need the right tools - especially pliers & cutters. Don't buy too cheap with those (I would not recommend those "multi-tool" pliers from Wal-Mart), but you can get a fairly decent beginners set for about $30 from a jewelry supplier.

Joy :)

03-24-2004, 01:51 PM
Thank you, Joy.
I do frequent Wigjig, Connie Fox's site, and bought some things from wire-sculpture last Friday. Wigjig gave me the inspiration to do plenty of new designs last year. Thank you for letting me know of the other sites. I'll check them out!

I should have said that I'm not new to wire working. I work all of the time with 18-28 gauge wire, but usually in soft or half hard. I am new to working with 16 gauge, which I thought wouldn't been too far from 18. The wire I was given is hard. It takes a lot of effort just to make a coiled end. I have so many different types of pliers it's scary, but still have to find the right combination for this. Right now I can only see using it for the bracelets I mentioned, unless anyone knows of an easier way to work with it. I'd hate to have it all go to waste.


03-24-2004, 02:57 PM
If I was you I'd cut what I needed for a particular piece and then heat it with a torch. Not enough to melt it just enough to remove the temper, some experimentation is necessary to get it soft enough. Then when you have it just the way you want it you can make your design and then retemper it by applying pressure to it. If it is a flat design then smack it between nylon blocks with a small hammer or for a 3D design squeeze it's parts with nylon (plastic) jawed pliers.


03-25-2004, 02:42 PM
Thank you, Barbara!
It worked perfectly with the torch. Bent so nicely, hammered down easily, and cleaned right up. Now I have all sorts of ideas of what to do with the wire. The same man gave me more wire last night...14 gauge. This is going to be fun. :evil:

Thank you again for your help.


03-25-2004, 03:29 PM
Glad I could help. :D

Congrats on the luck. Free materials are always a nice addition to supplies.