Daily Wire Tip May 17: Wire for Ear Wires and Clasps

By on May 16, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
May 17, 2011


I want to start making handmade earring wires and S-clasps in gold filled or bronze wire, probably 18 or 20-gauge. Should I be using half-hard or dead soft wire?

-Debra in Knoxville, Tennessee


Well Debra, if you are making ear wires I definitely recommend using half hard wire as it has more ‘spring’ and ear wires can take a beating, or full hard if you can find it. Ear wires need to will hold up to the constant abuse they will take from putting them on and off. I usually recommend either 21 or 22-gauge round wire for ear wires; I wouldn’t use anything larger than 20-gauge for ear wires!

If you are using an 18-gauge for clasps, S hooks, etc, then I would use a soft wire, because 18-gauge will work-harden very quickly with tiny bends. If it does not harden to your liking when making an S hook, just harden it a bit with a chasing hammer and bench block.

For a very pretty clasp design, I’d like to invite everyone to view this Swan Clasp tutorial from our talented Faculty member, Albina Manning.

Albina Manning’s Swan Clasp

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You’ll need:

  • about 3″ 18- or 20-gauge round dead soft wire
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional: 3-step pliers, hammer and bench block

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Joyce in Port Charlote

    May 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Another good tutorial! These videos help to make my wire creations look more professional and ‘one of a kind’. Thank you, Dale, for all of your tips; I really look forward to receiving them. Hats off to Albina; she’s also quite a talent!

    Suggestion: please include a set of ‘printer-friendly’ written directions with each tutorial. These could then be filed away in my “ideas” folder for future use.

    Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

    • avatar


      May 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Hi Joyce, both Albina and I thank-you! We really enjoy sharing our favorite projects and are glad you like this one too! (Yes I agree, Albina is an amazing wire jewelry designer and a very talented instructor.)

  2. avatar

    Sandy Woerner

    May 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I just love Albina, as she was doing the swan clasp, I saw a gorgeous start of an earring!

    • avatar


      May 17, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      Cool Sandy! Be sure to post a picture on the WS facebook ‘fan’ page of your finished earrings. (We’d love to see them.) I really enjoy Albina’s personality and designs too!

  3. avatar

    beverly bishop

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    This is my all time favorite clasp that I use for all my bracelets. I flatten it with the hammer when I use square wire and even when I use round wire I like the look. Thank you for showing us the video of the proper way of making this clasp as I have struggled a bit to form the little outtie where the jump ring goes. Albina makes it look so easy that now I won’t be scratching the wire doing this little area.

    • avatar


      May 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      Yea Beverly – Another mystery solved!

  4. avatar


    May 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you ladies for all your compliments to my work!
    I am glad you like this video tutorial!

  5. avatar

    Celine Barberio

    May 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Thank you so much Wire-Sculpture for all your free educational tips. I always learn something new everytime I watch your video tips and I really appreciate the free part of it as I am on a very tight budget.

    Albina makes it look so easy and her instructions are so clear. Bravo… Another great teacher to inspire us to soar to another level in designing our wearable art.

    I always tell everybody where they can get free tutorials as I love the concept of sharing and free education.

    Again, thank you so much for your help in educating the next generation of designers.

    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  6. avatar

    Sandi Dobbs

    February 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I have recently gotten into making wire jewelry and your daily tips and videos are so helpful. One of my problems was deciding what gauge and strength wire to use for projects. I am learning a lot from your website.