Daily Wire Tip: Projects with 18-Gauge Wire

By on December 7, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip December 7, 2010

Question:

I made a mistake, and bought multiple feet of 18-gauge round dead soft sterling silver and gold filled wire, yes, I did. I must not have had my glasses on – I purchased, and bought way too much…now you can laugh! So I need your help, as I now am looking for some patterns or ideas to use these big pieces with. I am hoping to use them in bracelets or rings, but have not found much use for this 18-gauge round besides the Ring Series #1 (pinkie and toe rings). I could use a little help here, well a lot of help, with this wonderful dilemma that I have gotten myself into. Help me?

-Terri in Gold Bar, Washington

Answer:

Terri, with the prices of precious metals going up on a daily basis, you can never have too much!

You can use the 18-gauge round soft for bracelet hook and eye clasps, as well as in single or Double Wrapped Hooks.

Soft 18-gauge wire also makes really cool links that can be forged and/or textured by using a chasing hammer and bench block. For a cool example, check out these photos of the Leaf Link and you will see that 18-gauge round soft wire can also be used to make rings and chains for bracelets or necklaces.

Leaf Link Component Ideas
Leaf Link Component

Also, in our Free Jewelry Patterns, Albina Manning shows how to make some Spring Flower Earrings using 18-gauge round soft wire.

Spring Flower Earrings
Spring Flower Earrings

Now, go have fun with your “excess” wire!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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17 Comments

  1. avatar

    Chris

    December 7, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Dale’s so right, It’s endless what you can do with the wire! You can also harden the wire by lightly hammering it with a plastic/rubber tipped hammer, tumble the piece when you’re done or you can work hardend it. Either way, you didn’t go wrong. Silver and gold hit records yesterday. $30 for silver. Can you imagine?!?

  2. avatar

    Katherine

    December 7, 2010 at 9:56 am

    18 G DS wire is perfect for making free form woven pendents. Select a chunky bead with a hole that will accomodate the wire. Cut a piece of wire 2-3 feet long. Slip the bead onto the wire near the center and wrap the bead a couple of times from each direction. take one tail of the wire and wrap around the barrel of an ink pen several times to form a bail (the longer the wire the more loops you can make. If my wire is long enough I like 5 wraps. Now weave the ends of both wires through the basic wraps and the bail and form some swirls and curly-cues. Weave in the ends and finish by gently tapping the wire with a hammer to harden it up. :)

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      December 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

      Cool idea Katherine – thanks for sharing with all of us!

  3. avatar

    Michael

    December 7, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Looking from the man’s point of view, bracelets made from chainmaille are really nice about this time of year. With 18 you get a really solid looking bracelet.

    • avatar

      Cheryl Dunham

      July 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      I agree with Michael! 18 g wire does make beautiful chain maille, I like 16 g too.

    • avatar

      Trish

      July 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Yes, Michael, 18g is my favorite size for making chain maille for men. For smaller female wrists I tend to use 20g.

  4. avatar

    Debra Grant

    December 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I love to make chain links and spirals as charms for necklaces or earrings with my 18 ga soft wire. Have fun!

  5. avatar

    Sue Beck

    December 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I use a huge amount of 18 Gauge dead soft wire for bracelets, clasps, as Dale suggested, and the thousands of jump ring I make for myself and classes! I just made a “double” Heracles Knot bracelet using 2 strands of 18 Gauge, instead of my usual 16 Gauge. Customers love it and I’ve already sold 3 this past weekend!

  6. avatar

    Barb

    December 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    WOW! What you seem to consider a problem, would be my dream come true. There is no such thing as having too much wire of any any any type or size. Have a blast with it. I sure would. Don’t worry-be happy. hehe

  7. avatar

    Maureen

    December 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I am new to this and have done a few private shows, have a website and even showed some children how to make wire Christmas tree ornaments, while some of the parents bought from my jewelry collection, during a kids craft day. I like using the 16 and 18 gage wire to make chunky all sterling silver pendants. I have made a simple swirl and then gave it a little tap with a chasing hammer with the ball end to strengthen it and give texture. My problem is keeping and affording the supplies I need to keep up with my imagination. Lots of luck with your wire art.

  8. avatar

    Sarah

    December 7, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Yes, yes, 18 gauge. I love this to make Egyptian Link bracelets. Check youtube videos or books on wire for the technique. You would use lots of the wire for this. I teach a class a a local college and the students love to this bracelet. The others are right, you can do almost anything with this wire. I use 16 and 18 a lot. What a wonderful dilemma.

  9. avatar

    Julia Garland

    July 17, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Chain Maille is very interesting also is wire wrapping. Don’t worry about using it all now, prices keep going up. Your interest and taste will change in time. Yesterday I made a wrapped pendant with wire I purchased in 04. Silver is silver and will not change except for the price. Label your bundles with date and price when you recieve them, it will amaze you later.

  10. avatar

    Nathalie

    July 17, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I also like 18G & 16G because it is large enough to flatten but still not too hard to bend. I use it primarily to make the Spring Flowers illustrated above and to make another type of earring that has loose rosettes and swirls which I flatten. Its also very practical when I need to make a clasp in Copper or Brass which I don’t buy pre-made.

  11. avatar

    Harry W Wood

    July 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I like to work with the heavier gauges like 14 and 10 gauge copper square. And 12 gauge bronze round to make rings quickly. I form them on the ring mandrel and tumble the wire rings after I finish.

  12. avatar

    ConnieD

    July 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    18 G DS is awesome to make a swirl ring design. Take about 2 feet of wire and run it through a snap set CZ. (I have used 6mm and 8mm stones) I would need to show photos to explain this design but know it can be done. I use a raw hide hammer to gentley work harden (don’t hit the snap set) and it makes awesome rings.

  13. avatar

    Kay

    August 28, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Maybe I’m working with larger pieces, but I like 18 gauge just fine for wrapping cabs.

  14. avatar

    peigi

    February 10, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I work mostly with copper wire but I have more 18ga than any other wire. I make trees. :)

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