Daily Wire Tip: Wire Wrapping with Coated Wire

By on April 26, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

Thanks for all the great projects and tips you’ve given us, Dale. My question is regarding coated wire. When I’ve twisted it for some projects, I’ve had the coating flake, which then causes a problem because the color comes off, too. What am I doing wrong?

-Dorothy in Lowville, New York

Answer:

Hi Dorothy, the simple answer is: not all color coated wire is made using the same process. We carry two kinds of color coated wire, Enameled Craft Wire and Silver Plated Craft Wire (brighter and shinier due to the thin layer of fine silver). Both pages will tell you how the colored copper wire we carry is made, and some suggestions for using it! Some manufacturers may use a different process to make their colored wire, resulting in varying qualities.

Silver Plated Copper Craft Wire

Silver Plated Copper Craft Wire

Enameled Craft Wire

Enameled Craft Wire

Base Metal Craft Wire

Base Metal Craft Wire

 

If you are working and are hesitant to make a bend or a specific move, you are more likely to scratch or nick the wire. Try using confident, definitive tool moves and maybe nylon-coated pliers until you are comfortable with the techniques you are using.

As far as twisting it, I have had no problems with the square colored wire from Wire-Sculpture. Maybe you are twisting it too tightly, or perhaps you bought it elsewhere and it is not made in the same manner. The only time I have had the color come off is occasionally at the very end of a wire I have worked quite a bit, and then I am going to trim and tuck it anyhow, so it doesn’t show.

I’m interested to hear from our readers – leave a comment below and tell me what your experience has been with colored wire!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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12 Comments

  1. avatar

    Miri

    April 27, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I’ve had this happen with some findings – I think it can be a quality issue. While silver plating, for example, can and does wear off over time, you shouldn’t have flakes of silver plating come off a jump ring as you open and close it, or off a lobster clasp as you press the trigger. I’d imagine it’s the same with wire: sometimes an apparent bargain is actually a false economy.

  2. avatar

    margaret

    April 27, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I have had the coating chip off when making bends…not on wire from Wire Sculpture..so I start by bending double the end of any wire I am going to use and if the coating cracks I don’t use it in the piece..

  3. avatar

    Patty

    April 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Square colored wire?
    I didn’t know they sold square colored wire. I looked on the wire-sculpture web site and could not find it. Could you post a URL to it? Thanks.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      April 28, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Hi Patty, I will ask Rose to post those for you as I don’t have power now and the Internet is working really slow due to yesterday’s storms.
      Dale

  4. avatar

    Karen Leutz

    April 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I too have had no problems twisting the permanently colored copper wire. But I did have problems with using it for wire wrapping when I was new at doing it. While I still consider myself a “beginner” I have had much more success with it since I have become more confident in what I a doing. One tip I can share is whenever I use the coated wire for a wire wrapping project, be it cabochon or whatever, I make sure ahead of time that I know exactly what design I am going to do and I never work a piece of this wire twice. If I make a mistake with a bundle wrap for instance, I remove the wrap from the bundle and cut a new piece of wire to make that wrap because reworking the wire will cause it to chip (or flake) you might say. This wire does not stand up to reworking, I find, at all. So I try to know what I am doing before I start working it and then I stick to that plan through the entire project. I take the attitude of “do it right or go home” and that should be “do it right the first time or go home”. It does take a certain level of confidence to work successfully with this wire…from my experience at least. Hope this helps.

  5. avatar

    Emilie Jefferson

    April 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Hello Dale,
    If I happen to nick my colored wire, which doesn’t happen to much, as I use the silver plated coated wire, I use wire darkener on the dark colors, & if I had to I would match up the lighter wire with nail polish to match, & a little clear over it after, the first color dries.
    Thank you for all your tips, & I do love your colored wire.
    Cheers Emilie ( Lady Ems Gems)

  6. avatar

    Diane

    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    If the wire tip shows on colored/coated wire, see if you can find a matching nail polish (the cheaper the better). A little dab on the end and the metal core disappears. Just make sure it stays out of contact with other items until it’s dry.

  7. avatar

    Rose

    April 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Patty,

    Yes, square colored wire is hard to come by, we do have a few spools in 18-gauge (it’s much more common in round):
    http://www.wire-sculpture.com/square-enameled-wire-1.html
    http://www.wire-sculpture.com/square-sp-craft-wire-1.html

    Thanks for asking!

  8. avatar

    Robin Judd

    August 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I always bought my coloured wire from Wire Sculpture and a couple of years ago (more maybe) I purchased one of your 24G SP Sea Foam Craft Wire 60ft spools which, as I coiled or wrapped, flaked like a surface sealant or something which also ultimately took the colour. I still have this spool but do not use it in any wearables but do use it to keep beads together in storage etc…. Put me off a little actually but you know I have many other colours in exactly the same wire and gauge from you which did not behave in that manner. Perhaps occasionally a lemon comes along??

  9. avatar

    Linda

    February 13, 2014 at 8:59 am

    This may seem like an odd question, but in doing wire work, why would anyone use craft wire? I had some when I first began wrapping, but my mentor suggested I use good copper, brass, silver or gold…”the good stuff” as she said. I sold all of my unused craft wire. IF I want color on a piece of my work, I use copper wire and my torch to get beautiful colors.

  10. avatar

    Charles

    October 22, 2015 at 6:19 am

    I have often noticed items here made of copper or brass and I wonder what you do to stop the wearer turning green?

    I wear a copper ring or bracelet for my joint pain and sometimes in the heat I go really green.

    Does LOS stop the Verde Gris?

  11. avatar

    Jodie

    September 12, 2016 at 9:36 am

    If you do not own a pair of nylon coated plyers and do not want to invest in purchasing a second set of plyers there are a few options to that you can make your own.
    1) There is a product called “Tool Magic” by BeadBuddy that you can use to coat your plyers. Tool Magic is a temporary liquid rubber coating that you dip your plyers in and when dry will last for several weeks depending on how often you use your plyers. The coating is very thin and will not affect the tension of your plyers. If you no longer want the coating on your plyers Tool Magic is easy to remove. The downside is when you use a heavier gauge wire. The heavier gauge wires such as 10 or 12 g may cut into the ToolMagic and loosen it o remove it. The upside: if that happens just reapply ToolMagic but dip it a couple times to put several layers on your plyers. One 2 oz jar will cover literally dozens of plyers. So it lasts a long time.
    2) The other option is to purchase nylon tips. Craft and beading stores that sell plyers generally do also sell nylon tips to go with the plyers they sell. The tips last longer than the Tool Magic and have a little more “padding” which comes in handy for thicker gauge wires. The downside is the nylon is thick and can affect the tension of the flyers. You will need to increase the strength of your grip to prevent the wire you are working with from slipping. The other downside is expense. The tips can cost almost as much as the plyers.
    3) water balloons. Some people have reported using water balloons. They simply cut the end (the part you blow through) off the balloon then cut down the middle to open up the balloon. They then stretch the balloon over the plyers allowing the stretch of the balloon to “cling” to the plyers. This is a very inexpensive way to coat or cover your plyers. The downside is the balloons do not last as long and have a greater tendency to come off while you are working your wire.

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