What wire gauge headpin for best wrap?

by Auggie


I always have such a hard time making my wraps even close to being exact when I am making earrings or a drop.

Is there a gauge you recommend to use.

I have seen people do them perfect with just their fingers, no tools involved?

Thanks, Auggie

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Wire gauges for wrapping
by: Stacy

The general rule of thumb is, the softer the wire, the better you can wrap it with your hands without tools. The harder the wire, the more you will need tools to pull the wire taunt enough to get the wraps even and consistent.

The gauge of the wire (the thickness) also factors in. The higher the gauge, the softer the metal (even at half hardness), so keep it simple and stick with a gauge between 20 - 24 when you're starting out. The lower the number the thicker the wire. The higher the number, the thinner the wire.

When working with wire, remember you can only bend and wrap the wire once for good strength, but sometimes you can rework the wire for a second shot at your wraps. I wouldn't try more than that. The more you bend wire, the more it's compromised and that weakens the overall strength. Wire will become brittle and break easily if over worked or over wrapped.

Starting out, I used soft practice wire like copper and crafter's wire till I got my mad skillz down pat, and then I invested in silver and gold filled wires of all gauges and hardness/softness. I think I started out with non-tarnish silver plated 24 gauge which was half hard (which means it's pliable but not easily overworked and brittle to work with).

Good luck and have lots of fun!

Headpin Gauge
by: Christine Gierer

I forgot to add this tip about gauges. Use the gauge that best suits the style of what you are trying to make.

A higher gauge is thinner, so use this for smaller beads and a more delicate look.

Larger, heavier beads may need a heavier gauge of wire.

In general 20ga, 22ga, and 24ga are good middle of the road choices.


Easy headpin wrapping
by: Christine Gierer

Hi Auggie,

I'm not sure how people wrap a loop without tools, but I can give you some tips for making good wraps.

The gauge of the wire probably matters less than the hardness of the wire or the type of wire used to make the headpin.

I find that in general nickel silver (the inexpensive silver colored) or brass (the yellowish) headpins are harder and more brittle than sterling silver or gold-filled headpins so that's one thing.

So for easier wrapping you'd best use copper, sterling silver (dead soft) or gold filled. I usually make my own headpins out of copper or dead soft sterling silver.

The second trick is to use longer headpins. I like to make the loop at the top of the bead using round-nosed pliers, then use flat nose pliers to hold the loop with one hand while I use my other hand to pull the wire end around to make the wrap. Then you cut off the excess.

I hope those tips help you.

Christine ~how-to-make-jewelry

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