Wire is a wonderful material to use for fine art and crafts including wire sculputure, jewelry making, and basket making. There are many techniques you can use with wire including wire wrapping, wire coiling, wire crochet and wire knitting.
Which Wire to Use for Wire Crafts?
There are zillions of different craft wire products available for sale including kits, starter sets and related tools. If you’re just getting started with wire crafts, you might be wondering which wire you’d want to buy for the wire craft project you have in mind. The answer is: “It depends”.
You can buy wire made from many different materials including colored copper wire, brass wire, aluminum wire, sterling silver wire and others.
Furthermore, wire is available in many different thicknesses — heavy weight, light weight and in between. The official term to use for this is “wire gauge”. When you’re trying to decide which gauge of wire to select, you’ll want to keep in mind that a lower gauge means the wire will be thicker and stronger, and therefore comparatively less flexible; whereas a higher gauge means the wire will be thinner and more flexible, but comparatively weaker.
Which Wire to Use for Wire Crochet
If you plan to do wire crochet, you can’t just use any old wire you happen to come across at the craft store. You absolutely cannot choose too heavy a gauge of wire, because it will take too much hand strength to work with a heavy gauge wire. And you can’t choose too light of a wire gauge, because too light of a wire is likely to break frequently while you’re working with it.
I do a lot of wire crochet, and I’ve posted a whole bunch of different wire crochet project ideas you’re welcome to use. If you want to make any of these projects, I suggest taking a look at the supply list for that project and then simply buying the recommended gauge of wire to work with. In general, I typically recommend using wire that’s somewhere between 22 gauge and 26 gauge for wire crochet jewelry crafts. For most of the projects I have posted, I used 26 gauge permanently colored copper wire to make my sample projects.
You can use your hands for working with wire, but it’s much easier if you have the right tools for getting the job done:
- If you’re serious about wire crafts, get yourself a good pair of wire cutters. I like the wire cutters that are part of the SOG multi-tool, but you have a broad range of choices that could work just as well.
- For wire crochet, I generally prefer to use el-cheapo aluminum crochet hooks. Why? Because you’re probably going to bend your hook, and so you’d want to avoid using a hook make of fragile materials like plastic or wood, which can break much more easily. Get yourself some cheap, no-frills hooks like Boye or Susan Bates, and then you don’t have to worry so much if you bend one. See here for more information on crochet hooks.
- Various types of pliers are also useful for working with wire.
- Pin vises
- Many wire crafters and jewelry makers also incorporate beads, gemstones, cabochons and jewelry findings into their designs.
Project Ideas for Using Craft Wire
- Jewelry making is one of the most popular uses for craft wire — and unlike some other types of jewelry making, it’s pretty easy to do wire jewelry making at home. I have bunches of different wire crochet jewelry project ideas posted; see this page for a list.
- You can make napkin rings out of craft wire. You have the choice to use the wire all by itself, or alternatively, you could also pair the wire with beads to make beaded napkin rings. Check out my page of DIY napkin rings to find a bunch of different possibilities.
- You could use craft wire to make hanging baskets for use in your kitchen; then use the baskets to hold fresh fruits and vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated.
- Wire tree sculptures: You often see people use wire to create tree sculptures, tree of life art, and similar projects. Wire is ideal to use for twisting tree roots and branches; then some people use green beads to adorn the trees’ branches, to be interpreted as leaves.
- Other wire sculpture projects: You can sculpt just about anything your imagination dreams up using wire, or wire plus other materials.