Daily Wire Tip March 17: Is There a Multi-Purpose Gauge of Wire?

By on March 17, 2010
Print Friendly

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
March 17, 2010


What is the most multi purpose gauge of wire? Please also include square, half round or round wire.


Here’s where I will receive more comments about being vague, but I really cannot tell you exactly which shape, size and temper of wire is used most often, as each ‘style’ of wire jewelry creation calls for it’s own specifics. For example, my personal style of ‘traditional’ uses mostly half-hard square wire in gauges from 18 through 24 and half round, half hard wire from 18g to 21g; whereas ‘sculpting’ uses similar gauges, the majority of which are dead soft in temper; and chain maille wire jewelry uses round wire in similar gauges, usually half or full hard. For more information, we do have a good article (‘What type of Wire should I Use?)  Part 1 https://wire-sculpture.com/jewelry-making-blog/37/part-1-what-type-of-wire-should-i-use/ and Part 2 https://wire-sculpture.com/jewelry-making-blog/31/part-2-what-type-of-wire-should-i-use/

Whenever this question is asked, my advise is: find a project you enjoy making, practice and then expand to other projects. While working and growing, you will determine which gauge, temper and shape you enjoy working with the best and can then alter patterns to fit YOUR favorite wire style.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

Have a question? Submit your question here


  1. avatar


    March 17, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I agree with this, simply because I have found that what I use is rarely the same as what others post as the gauge that’s recommended. I find that my best bet is to try the same design with a couple of different gauges to see the different effects. I always used 26g half hard round silver to wrap with and found that wrapping in gold fill I like 28g half hard round better. How did I figure it out? I tried it. I have made earing findings in 20g and 22g and I find that I love the 20g better – but some people would disagree. It all depends on your comfort level and maybe even more importantly, what size beads you are using (if any). Many smaller crystals and fine gemstone beads just aren’t drilled to accept a thicker gauge of wire. Practicing with copper and craft wire really helped me figure out which gauge worked best for me (without wasting any of my expensive stuff) and when I was done I had a perfect little 3-D model of my finished design! I completely understand the frustration though, when I first started working with wire I searched the internet for the exact same answer. Truth is, there isn’t one. It sure is fun trying to find it though!

  2. avatar


    March 17, 2010 at 8:21 am

    If you are trying to establish just having to buy a certain size of wire for projects then think again. Dale is right in telling you what she has, and without knowing what your jewelry style is, the recommendations here can be varied in so many ways.

    For example, do you do coiling with just round wire? Even here you are looking at different sizes for: the frame of your piece, the wire used to wrap (coil) the piece, etc. My range of wire for such is in 26 gauge all the way up to 18 gauge and sometimes 14 gauge.

    The same can be applied to square wire. Sizes vary based on what you are doing, the strength you are trying to establish in your pieces, etc.

    There is no “multi-purpose” solution to your question. We all buy wire in various tempers, gauge sizes, square and/or round.

  3. avatar

    nancy beegle

    March 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I totaly agree with all the comments previously made. Still being relatively new to wire sculpture and traditional wire jewelry design, (only a few years now), I have to say that so much of it is trial and error. Each new design we choose to create or borrow has to be experimented with, as far as shape, guage and temper. As Dale said, sculpture is different than classical wire design, and usually uses just dead soft wire, of many different guages, from about 16g to even 32g, as I’ve seen in seveal different pieces, and especially when it comes to round gold filled.

    I have used many of Dale’s classic designs, and am quite familiar with the square half hard wire, wrapped with half round half hard, up to 21 guage, and have made several designs of my own using her techniques, which I love, and has pretty much become the mainstay of my design style and my staple supplies.

    I also like the comment about using the copper and craft wire to practice. This saves so much as far as not ending up with a huge pile of unusable scrap, that you’re trying to melt down and use for granulation. ( I have lots of little silver beads waitiing to be used for that! LOL)! Using the inexpensive wire (even brass and bronze are nice, and less expensive than sterling or gold filled), helps you to get different methods of wrapping and coiling down, and then when you get it right,you can go to the precious metal wires, and create your masterpieces!

    It’s good to take as much advice and try diffrent things as you can in this business/ art form, (as long as it makes some sense to you) and see what you can accomplish with it. I know that Dale’s advice, experience and knowledge are impeccable.

    Best wishes to you in your endeavors, and maybe we’ll see a pic here of one of your creations one day! :)