Daily Wire Tip Nov. 21: Headpin Gauges

By on November 20, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
November 21, 2010


When ordering headpins, I’ve stuck to 22-gauge as noted in several of your patterns. But there’s quite an array of available sizes from my supplier, from .025″ to .033″, and I wondered what circumstances would indicate smaller or larger gauges. In the past, I’ve used some headpins that I thought were far too flimsy, and I worried that they would result in earrings that were too fragile. I would appreciate your insights.

-Delores in Onalaska, Wisconsin


Delores, I use 22-gauge (.025″, or .643mm) headpins most often because I find they will fit through 95% of the beads out there, and they are a more substantial product. For smaller work, I do use 24-gauge occasionally.

The .033″ you mention would be close to a 20 or 21-gauge wire. To be able to determine what size a headpin is, please refer to the last chart on our Wire Charts page.

I choose the headpin size according to the weight of the project I am making and where it will be worn. For example, on a charm bracelet, I would use 21-gauge headpins for strength (because the headpin charms may be bent more often), and on earrings, either 22-gauge or 24-gauge.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    November 21, 2010 at 8:43 am

    For most pearls, 24 gauge are a must because anything larger won’t fit through the holes.

  2. avatar

    Casey Willson

    November 21, 2010 at 10:49 am

    For fresh water pearls and other things with smaller holes and for wrapped loops I find the smaller gauges much easier to use.

    • avatar


      November 21, 2010 at 11:10 am

      Folks you may not realize it but we carry Large Hole Freshwater Pearls that will take up to an 18g round wire!

  3. avatar


    November 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Dale, thank you so much for your helpful response to my question. Those wire charts are an indispensable tool. And the comments in this section have answered my next question, because I’ve just started incorporating freshwater pearls into my pieces, and the small holes were causing me endless frustration. Thanks to all of you for this conversation!

    • avatar


      November 22, 2010 at 10:18 am

      You are so welcome Delores! (You are going to LOVE working with those pearls!!)

  4. avatar


    November 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Dale, thank you so much for your comment about the pearls you stock with large holes especially. It seems you have some very fine strands of pearls available and I never thought to look. I usually come to this site for tools and wire. Thanks for the heads up!

    • avatar


      November 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm

      You are welcome Karen – Wire-Sculpture has been very good about listening to what we (wire artists) need!!

  5. avatar


    November 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Many of us use the standard 22 gauge for headpins. Many of us also make our own headpins out of fine sterling silver, so we will do a variety of sizes using 26 thru 22 gauge, depending on what we are creating. Larger gauges, as Dale mentioned, are also used and kept of hand.
    I ususally do a variety of headpins all at once so I have plenty on hand for earrings, bracelets, etc.
    And thank goodness we now have the large holed pearls available from Wire-Sculpture so we don’t have to worry about what size wire will go through them.

  6. avatar


    November 23, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Mary, I never thought of making my own headpins–it just never occurred to me that I could do that. Do I assume you simply put an “eye” at the bottom end to finish it off?