Essential Beading Wires For Your Bead Stash

I recently made a necklace for the Fall issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine using 24-gauge gunmetal wire. As I was sifting through my box of wires deciding which to use for this project, I realized it might be useful to discuss wires…especially the wires I couldn't bead without. If you're a beginning beader, I would recommend purchasing the following wires. 

MEDIUM (.018 or .019 diameter) FLEXIBLE BEADING WIRE

This is a must-have wire. It's stainless steel wire that's been covered with clear nylon. A go-to material for any stringing project, this wire is won't kink and is strong enough to support most beads (use heavy wire for heavy beads, such as chunky gemstones). I like 49-strand wire–the greater the number of strands, the greater the flexibility–so 49-strand is super flexible compared to, say, 7-strand or 19-strand. Soft Flex, Beadalon, Accu-Flex, Flexrite, and Acculon are just two of the many beading wires available. 


Let me explain. Sterling silver is the type of metal, of course. While sterling silver has long been my favorite wire to use, recently I've purchased silver-plated wire instead due to the high price of sterling. The gauge refers to the thickness or diameter of the wire. 24-gauge is about .025" in diameter. This is considered fine wire, but I find it's a great size to fit most of the beads in my stash. "Round" refers to the shape of the wire, and "half-hard" refers to the temper. Temper is the hardness of the wire. Half-hard means the wire it's soft enough to be malleable but hard enough to hold its shape. This is the wire I turn to for my wireworking needs–it's perfect for making wrapped and simple loops.

While I use the above two wires the most in my jewelry-making projects, I've also accumulated several other wires that have served me well:


  • Heavy (.024) and fine (.014 or .015)  beading wires: I string heavy gemstones on the heavy and pearls with tiny holes on the fine.
  • 22-gauge silver wire: For projects when I want my wireworking to have more heft
  • Gold 22- and 24-gauge wires: For projects I make in gold tones
  • Antiqued brass or gunmetal wire: Because I've been using more and more brass in my work


What wire could you not live without? Tell me below!


Post a Comment