Choosing the proper beading wire for a task seems daunting. There are several beading wire manufacturers, and each of the strings is made up of many types and sizes of wire. Tiger Tail, Beadalon, Soft Flex, and AccuFlex are common types and manufacturers of beading wire.
The good news is that it is easier to select beading wire when you understand some of the key factors.
What Is Beading Wire?
Beading wire is a stringing element composed of several steel wires that are intertwined together. Some wires are laminated with nylon to guard against tarnishing and harming the beading wire. Besides, it provides the wire a smooth, more adaptable texture.
The beading wire's coatings come in different colors, such as black, gold, and silver. If you can see the wire in the jewelry design, don't forget to choose the right color. If the wire isn't visible in your design, you can select a stainless steel gray color. The coatings should also complement the color of your beads or gemstones.
There are two main things to know about beading wires: the number of strands and the diameter.
The Number Of Strands
Beading wire packages always specify the number of strands it contains. You have to keep in mind that beading wire is cable, so it's manufactured by twisting multiple steel wire strands.
If you want a flexible beading wire, you need to choose one with a larger number of strands. Remember, the fewer the number of strands, the more rigid it feels.
The most popular and highest quality stringing wires are the Beadalon 7-strand, 19-strand, and 49-strand. The strand number refers to the number of stainless steel strands twisted around themselves to form the cable. For instance, the 49-strand wire refers to 49 strands of small stainless steel strands twisted around to create the wire.
49-strands stringing wire gives the softest drape, and it moves with the most splendid sophistication. It is widely used to create necklaces and bracelets to make supple jewelry that won't be stiff. 49-strand is the most flexible wire you can get.
The 7-strand stringing wire is rigid, and if you're a beginner, it can be an excellent place to start. Keep in mind that most jewelers don't use this number unless they're designing a project that needs to be stiff. It is not recommended for necklaces or bracelets as it is so inflexible that it cheapens the design.
An in-between solution is the 19 strand. It is the perfect combination of strength and flexibility. It works very well for stringing various types of gemstone beads, glass, and crystals. It holds up perfectly for any project that you might throw at it.
Choosing the right number of strands is crucial because it determines how flexible the wire is. If you need top quality, use a more flexible wire. Less flexible wire is more inclined to folding and kinking at unwanted angles.
Please note that the wire with more strands is more expensive than the wire with fewer strands - quality comes at a price.
Beading Wire Diameter
Another crucial thing to consider is the diameter. Beading wire diameter indicates the durability of the wire and the beads that will fit onto it.
The diameter is usually given as a fraction of an inch. Before selecting the diameter, you must consider the beads you're using; for heavy and large beads, choose a bigger diameter, and for small and light beads, use a smaller diameter wire. Because beads hole sizes are often measured in millimeters, you may need to convert wire sizes to similar units.
Usually, beading wire diameter varies in size from 0.01 to 0.34. The most common range is between 0.012 and 0.24. Remember, thicker beading wire is more durable than thinner wire, but may not fit through all bead hole sizes.
What Kind Of Wire To Use
- The most versatile bead wire to use is the 49-strand 0.18 inch in diameter. This beading wire will fit the holes of most pearls and is strong enough to support heavier gemstones. Forty-nine is the premium breading wire.
- You can use 7-strand beading wire for more affordable jewelry. This type of bead wire is durable and cheaper. It's also used for designs that need to remain firm, like some chokers.
- Select which diameter to use depending on the bead holes. For smaller beads, a terrific option is between 0.010 through 0.15 inches. Use between 0.15 to 0.21 for medium size beads. And use 0.24 through the 0.36-inch wire for the heaviest beads.
Consider the number of strands, diameter, color, strength, and durability for selecting the right beading wire for your design.
And don't forget that when using stringing wires, you'll need crimp beads or crimp tubes and a crimping tool to secure the ends of the wire.
Remember, for projects that require flexibility, the best option is 49-strand. Choose 19-strand for those designs that require the right balance between flexibility and strength and 7-strand for more stiff creations.
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