Daily Wire Tip Sept. 14: Ideas for Large-Gauge Colored Aluminum Wire

By on September 13, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
September 14, 2011


Hi Dale, I have some lovely purple aluminum wire. I used my wire gauge and it is about 13-gauge. My question is, what can I do with it? Being aluminum, it is quite soft, and I really love the color. Other than the usual jump rings, can you think of any project specifically for large gauge round wire? I am a newbie wire worker and I read every single daily tip. I have learned so much from you, thanks a bunch!

-Carol in Athens, Ontario, Canada


Hey Carol, your wire dilemma sounds like fun to me! The only challenge is that it is aluminum and really there is no way to harden it; not even beating it to death will change its temper and hammering it will probably remove the cool purple color.

Some of my suggestions include making an upper arm bracelet (I’d wrap it with a 16-gauge square half-hard to keep the shape you want), or how about twisting 3 or 4 lengths together to make a Torc-style necklace? If you wanted to use the fact that the color will come off, you could cut different lengths and beat them into paddle shapes, drill holes in one end, and use them as “tie-dye-style” components for other designs. I know you want to use this wire to make jewelry, but have you thought about coiling it around an upside-down test tube and making your own Hummingbird Feeder“?

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    Pat rini

    September 14, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I use aluminum wire to make components for bracelets and necklaces . the trick I use is to take smaller gauge aluminum or copper coated wire and work it “in and thru” the made component…. Kind of like weaving and it gives the links the strength needed to hold up to many wearings.. I have sold many pieces at an art gallery where I show my things and have never had one returned or in need of repair… Hope this gives you another idea Carol…also aluminum wire makes great earrings….happy making….Pat

    • avatar


      September 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Excellent suggestion Pat – thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar

    Jil S

    September 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

    AWESOME idea… using the colored wire for projects other than jewelry. I bought some in several colors thinking it would be perfect for specific stones, and didn’t care for the way it responds in designs.

    I would never have thought about using it in other craft projects. DUH! LOL. Your tips are AWESOME! Keep them coming, Dale!

  3. avatar

    Lori Crawford

    September 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Crocheted jewelry would add volume to it and maybe add strength! Maybe a bracelet?

  4. avatar


    September 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Hello. I am just starting out with wire sculpting but I bought some largeer aluminum wire myself because I thought it might be easier for me to see what I am doing. I had in mind to make a watchband with it. Mine is purple too haha. Let me know if you find a better use for it.

  5. avatar


    September 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    What a great idea Dale!

    • avatar


      September 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks Sherry – you should see the sun catchers I have made using old hangers and big electrical pliers – fun!

  6. avatar


    September 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I LOVE using this kind of wire to doodle small designs (spirals, jig-like designs) and put them on earrings where they won’t get a whole lot of wear. The trick is to keep the design small, it’s more stable that way, and have fun with it!

  7. avatar

    Cindy Albers

    September 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm


    Once again, you amaze me at your depth of knowledge & ideas. You’ve inspired me again on some ideas of my own for collars, etc.

    Sorry, I couldn’t help Carol with ideas, but at least I know you must have!

  8. avatar


    September 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I bought a bunch of aluminum wire to practice with when I started, as well. It’s true that it’s very soft. I did make a wire cuff with the thickest wire, then made “doodles” with a slightly smaller size wire that were the same width as the cuff. I attached the doodles with an even smaller gauge wire. It was plenty sturdy, but flexible. I also use aluminum when making long dangle earrings to keep the weight down.

  9. avatar


    September 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Hey Guys!

    I saw some aluminum wire earrings in a shop the other day that were really cool. They were 3 large gauge spirals, forged until a little flattened, connected with jump rings. They seemed to have kept their color.

    I was thinking about shopping for some large gauge colored aluminum wire to try it myself.


  10. avatar


    September 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Hi there

    The girls that have the dred locks use it for tieing up the ends of the hair and you can make rings with it.

  11. avatar


    September 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I love large gauge aluminum wire! I use it to make simple rings, fun little pendants that I then put on simple cords for necklaces, and a lot of the time I just experiment to see what I come up with! I have even made some pretty cool hand-coiled bracelets with this type of wire as well–all in some pretty fun colors as well! The possibilities are endless!!!! Have some fun with it and since its kind of cheap wire there’s no reason why you can not experiment to your heart’s content!!!

  12. avatar


    September 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Hi, Dale, I have an idea for Carol with the 13 ga aluminum wire. I used some 12 ga aluminum wire to create bracelets. For some I took 2 pieces of wire, twisted them together, then made 2 spirals on each end. Some others I used 3 pieces of wire, braided them, and again made 2 spirals at the end. The 3rd piece I wrapped around all 3 just below the spirals. The wire is inexpensive, and I’ve sold several of the bracelets. Made my money back for a whole spool with 1 bracelet!

    • avatar


      September 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Awesome idea Lynn! Thanks for sharing your bracelet idea with us :)

  13. avatar

    Robin Judd

    September 16, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Here is a link to the collar I made using aluminum 12 gauge wire
    You can see that I also added some 18g square wire which I twisted to strengthen and maintain the shape of the collar. It is very easy to work with in this manner. I even made a celtic ring using two wires and the shape stayed but the difficulty was not getting tool marks on it as the twists are much tighter and yes it the colour does wear off as I discovered when I wore this ring everyday in the house etc. So I keep one ring for wearing out. This freeform collar type necklace is perfect for this wire though and the colours are just wonderful. I wove wires and beads onto a cuff bracelet using the aluminum as a base and with a hook and eye catch that has held up well. You can see this on my facebook page Designs4Adornment.

    • avatar


      September 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      Woo Hoo Robin!! Thanks so much for responding to my request about sharing your large aluminum wire design!!

  14. avatar

    Eldon Austin

    October 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I have used the heavy gauge Anodized Aluminum wire for making rings with spirals or added coils in lighter gauges of different colours. They are all simple but very elegant and quick to make. And Yes hammering does harden them. I have taken aluminum house wiring and made hooks that were so hard I could hardly bend them.

    • avatar


      October 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      Humm, I wonder Eldon, is aluminum “house” wire the same as regular aluminum wire or does it contain alloys? Personally I have experimented with some 22g aluminum wire and it could not be hardened by hammering – and my daughter has tried using some aluminum jump rings for chain maille work, but they don’t like staying closed. Now I am curious . . .