Daily Wire Tip June 4: How to Make Wires Lay Flat

By on June 4, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
June 04, 2010


I am trying to make the bracelet that is the first project on your Beginner’s DVD.  I am having great difficulty keeping all the wires together.  I keep straightening the wires, and yet the wires do not lay flat.  What am I doing wrong?  I am using 21-gauge half round half hard sterling silver wire and gold plated wire.


The first thing I saw in your question was that you are using half-round wire for the bindings. Please try this design using the wire shape called for: half-hard square. If your base wires are not as straight as they can possibly be, then while making the bracelet bundle, at least make them all go in the same direction. In this way when you draw them up through your hands while taping, they should lay together nicely, as you are forming a ‘plank’. When using the power of square half-hard wire to wrap, even if your bundle is slightly curved, the wraps should be strong enough to bind the plank-shaped bundle. (If you insist on using a small half-round, half-hard, be prepared to add a LOT more wraps than the design calls for, as this gauge is not strong enough to do the job you expect it to.)

On any pattern, if you are beginning, please follow the author’s specifications regarding wire gauges/tempers/shapes, as we do this for a reason – they work! When you have become proficient with a technique, then you can try to alter the design/wire tempers, shapes & gauges to make variations of that design.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Ginni Tutterow

    June 4, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I agree with using the recommended gauges … very important!

    It is also possible that the base wire you’re working with is not “on the square” — that the wire as it comes off the spool or coil is twisted, not just curved. I’ve had that problem occasionally. It requires careful, gentle “tweaking” with the pliers to untwist each wire and make it lay flat.

    • avatar


      June 5, 2010 at 1:03 am

      Good point Ginni – which is why I never, ever purchase wire on spools!

  2. avatar


    June 4, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I am also a beginner and have found that it helps me not to be quite as frustrated if I do one or two “practice” pieces in copper wire first. The copper is cheaper so you don’t feel so bad if you mess it up and it is also beautiful if you do it right! You may not want to do that, but it makes me feel better. :)

  3. avatar


    June 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I don’t know why, but I also had a dreadful time trying to wrap this piece with square wire – it looked awful. But when I tried wrapping the same bundle with an 18 gauge half round it looked beautiful and the bracelet is holding together just fine. Is there some advantage to wrapping with the square wire that I’m not aware of?

    • avatar


      June 5, 2010 at 1:02 am

      Ok Gigi, if you read my answer, then you already know why I choose square; in the last paragraph, I do mention that when you are comfortable with techniques, then feel free to alter gauges and tempers – obviously an 18g half-round is a lot stronger than a 21g half-round – so it works because it is larger and therefore has more power. There are a lot more reasons to use square wire in a variety of situations – as you watch my lessons or take classes – even reading the daily tips – experience will tell you when and why.

  4. avatar


    June 5, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Often, a good hefty piece of square wire is a far better binder than half round.
    Straightening wire is really not that hard! Use a polishing cloth and your fingers. Hmmm. I will have to do a tutorial on it some day, but if you use the polish cloth to draw your wire straight, then tape the bundle with all the wires laying the same way, then you should be OK.