Daily Wire Tip May 10: Fabric Covered Wire

By on May 10, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
May 10, 2010

Question:

I have been unable to locate a fabric type covered stiff wire in bright colors that holds its shape.  I want to make necklaces with only a few beads. I have tried regular wire and it will not hold its shape.  Any ideas?

Answer:

Interesting question. As I am not a beader, I asked a few friends who are for help. No one knows of such a product, and their only advice is to use memory wire made for necklaces, which will keep its round shape. I thought about it and here is an experiment for you: Try using a full hard round wire, which would have to be about a 16 gauge to hold its shape with the weight of beads on it, soak a fabric strip in epoxy and wrap it very tightly around the wire, then let it dry thoroughly. Shape the wire and add the beads – then send me a picture so I can share it with others, and credit you for the technique!

The only other idea we came up with would be to use cloth covered electrical wire. Hummm.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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15 Comments

  1. avatar

    Casey Willson

    May 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Forging also hardens the wire to help it hold its shape. I’ve done that successfully many times. I like the fabric idea.

  2. avatar

    Tracy

    May 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    There is a velvet-like tubing that is made to cover memory wire. It is sold in most major chain craft retailers.

  3. avatar

    Emilie Jefferson

    May 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Hello Dale,
    Love your, comments & videos; tips, What you can do to put material/fabric on wire, cut stripes of material and sew a tube; then put the wire through the tube and use a zig zag stitch on largest setting (or setting of your choice) sewing over the wire, while keeping the wire in middle. You can then gather it, twist it , or whatever, using a bit of imagination.
    Cheers Lady Em.

  4. avatar

    Barbara Bing

    May 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    What about wire crochet? She could make it any size she wanted.

  5. avatar

    Maxine Booth

    May 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I do this kind of work on lighter weight wire with various small beads and crystals to make sparkling sprays to attach to corsages and bouquets. I use small gold or silver crimp beads to hold them in place. If your main bead has too large a hole for a crimp bead to hold it, how about bracing the bead with a smaller bead that won’t get swallowed up by the hold, then adding the crimp bead?

  6. avatar

    Kerry Trim

    May 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    You can use Niobium half hard wire, about 22 gauge! It comes in different colors. I use copper wire in alot of my jewelry, I shape and then hammer.This hardens it.

  7. avatar

    Barbara

    May 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Try a florist supply company, since it seems that you are describing florist wire. There are many types and thicknesess. You can also contact the companies that make said wires, to see about different colors as well.
    Barb

  8. avatar

    Eve Seamone

    May 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    An interesting wire, which will hold it’s shape, is guitar wire. It is not colored, or fabric covered, but you can usually get used lengths of guitar wire from guitar playing friends or from shops that repair guitars.

  9. avatar

    Marie Ilsley

    May 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    You can also get colored wire in different gauges to make necklaces. I use it to make rings also with beads.

  10. avatar

    Patsy

    May 10, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Great idea, Dale. I hope Nancy will try this and then send a picture so we can see.

  11. avatar

    Patricia Lecroy

    May 10, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Try memory wire with pre-made trim from the local craft store. Some types of trim can be threaded over wire. Another idea that is colorful but is not cloth, but plastic, is Pony Bead lacings, that have a hollow core for wire and come in a variety of bright colors. Any type bead with a larger hole will work with it.

  12. avatar

    Char

    May 11, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I am sure I have seen this before, but offhand I cannot remember where. Try doing a google search for fabric covered wire, seems it always works for me. Good luck!

  13. avatar

    Andrew

    May 11, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Hi
    What about knitted wire it comes in a variety of colours,you might have to strengthen it with a bigger gauge wire.

  14. avatar

    Andrew

    May 11, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Good luck with this, as a craft nut have done similar never turn out how l wanted.

    Lot of patience and nimble fingers needed, which l do not have.

  15. avatar

    Debbie Lind

    May 20, 2010 at 3:06 am

    It may be called polyester covered wire. Do a google search for it.

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