Daily Wire Tip Oct. 19: Storing Jewelry Making Wire

By on October 19, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
October 19, 2011

Question:

Dale, I’m fairly new to this wire wrapping thing but I’m loving it…I wonder how you (and others) store their wire so you can find a particular gauge and if it’s half round, round or square without having to hunt and study ends with a magnifier? Thanks for any help!

-Bonnie in San Manuel, Arizona

Answer:

Hi Bonnie, welcome to our “twisted” world! As a “newbie”, when situations come up, you can find a lot of answers to your questions right here on our blog! Yes, I know that there is so much information on here, that it can be difficult to find things, but when you have time you can explore each of the categories in the left menu, especially Free Wire Jewelry Videos!

Separating and storing jewelry making wire can be done in several different ways. A while back, faculty member Sherrie Lingerfelt made a video showing some ideas titled Organizing ALL of your Jewelry Wire! that may help. We also had a great discussion in May, Organizing Jewelry Wire where lots of our fellow wire artists shared their favorite storing and labeling methods in the comments section. I hope you find a technique that works for you!

Binder full of jewelry wire
One method is to use a large binder with clear sheet protectors, great for when you have limited space (like the dining room table). You can find packs of binder sheet protectors at office supply stores. Rose is a school supplies junkie and stored her coiled wire (with the original bag & label) in this binder when she started wire wrapping, and still uses it for frequently-used-wire. Just don’t drop the binder!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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20 Comments

  1. avatar

    Cyreathia Reyer

    October 19, 2011 at 8:48 am

    This is a great idea and one I haven’t heard of before. I currently use a file box with file labeled file folders, but like the notebook idea better. FYI: at my day job as the assistant to the department head, I am know as the “notebook queen”. This idea fits me perfectly. :)

    Dale, I love your daily tips.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      October 19, 2011 at 9:26 am

      Thanks Cyreathia, I am very pleased that you can make use of the information we present as “tips”! (Rose will be happy to know that she has a “notebook sister” :) )

  2. avatar

    Carol Smith

    October 19, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Hi Dale,
    This is a great tip. And it certainly bears repeating. Storing wire is something I think all new beaders struggle with, and it is wonderful to hear how others have coped. Now, if I could only find a way to store those spools of craft and practice wire….
    Thanks again
    Carol

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      October 19, 2011 at 9:28 am

      Hi Carol – I keep my spools in a box, where I can see the top of the spool that has been labeled (precious wire spools in clear bags). Some folks have a peg board with dowels that they place their labeled spools on.

  3. avatar

    Sandy

    October 19, 2011 at 9:49 am

    To store my spooled wire and sealed bags with coils, I use a plastic Christmas ornament box. It is designed for 2 rows of ornaments and so the 1 pound rolls of copper and brass also fit in it. Everyone has such great ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      October 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      I like your idea too, Sandy – thanks!!

  4. avatar

    Claire

    October 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I used the loose leaf binder method and also keeping the packages of wire in manilla files. Both methods became somewhat unruly for me.

    To solve the problem, I had my handy husband build me a 4 sides stand with pegboard on each side. I keep the wire is plastic baggies (or the packages they come in), punch a hole in the top of the baggie and hang them on hooks on the pegboard. Each package is clearly labeled, i.e. copper, 21ga, square. The stand is on casters so it swivels around so I can get at all 4 sides without getting up from my chair. Stand also moves around easily.
    Stand is about 31″ high and 16″ wide (each side).

  5. avatar

    Jeanne

    October 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

    You’ve probably heard most of this before but here it is for a refresher. I keep my wire in the baggies it comes in because it’s already labeled, and put them in an accordion folder because I can label the top making it easier to locate the gauge I need more quickly. I label the folder in gauge order first followed by type and temper; and even the coil itself in case I have more than one bag out. I keep sterling silver, argentium and gold filled in one folder and the silver filled, plated and copper in another folder. The accordion folder also accommodates the somewhat thicker coils when you have a lot of one kind.
    My husband made me stacking shelves with dowels to slip spooled wire on – similar to sewing thread holders only bigger. This is mostly for my colored craft wire and is labeled & stored first by color and then by gauge. I keep any square craft wire in a separate place on the rack so it’s easily distinguishable.
    I tried all kinds of systems before I finally felt comfortable with this one.
    Good luck, Bonnie. I hope you settle on a system quicker than I did.

  6. avatar

    Kathy Haukos

    October 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Love the notebook idea! Although I don’t necessarily make “wired” jewelry, I do use a lot of the ideas and incorporate it with jewelry that I make from silverware. Love the tips of the day and the different examples. “Eye candy” is always good!

  7. avatar

    Jakauffman

    October 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I found a plastic container in the sporting goods section that is supposed to hold fishing line. I cut a small wooden dowel to fit in the middle and store my wire in there. You can even use the wire straight from the container since there is a hole to feed the wire outside.

  8. avatar

    Juliet Dobosz

    October 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

    When I first started, 5 years ago, I used a wooden crate with nails hammered in the edge to hang the different gauges in their original plastic bags.
    However, this was impractical when I set up at shows and that was when I too switched to the system of ring binders with clear page protectors.
    I use separate ones for my Round, Square and my Half Round wire. I also use tabbed page separators within each binder to differentiate between Dead Soft, Half Hard wires and Gold-filled, Sterling, Argentium wire.
    I labeled the back of each binder, keep them all in a plastic file box with a handled-lid and can see at a glance which binder to pull out when starting a project. (make it easy to carry when setting up at shows too)

  9. avatar

    Jim

    October 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I use a double worm binder from BassPro Shop.
    The zip lock bags hold the wire (with a card
    stating size wire and a little drawing of the
    shape of the wire) and the other side I can
    put my tools and some stones to work.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      October 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks Jim – seems like a lot of fishing supplies work really well with wire jewelry things!

  10. avatar

    Ronda S

    October 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Storage of wire has always been a problem for me until I discovered Coupon files. Cost is about $3 in the office supply aisle of department stores. Thay are clear so you can see and I lable the tabs with the gauge and shape of wire. I leave it in the original bags so I know for sure what it is. Good thing is, when you close the top there is a band to close it ,usually with a button of some sort. Hope this helps
    Ronda

  11. avatar

    Dena Ellison

    October 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I use a plastic file box with folders, which I label at the top with the gauge, metal, shape, and temper. For example, the label on one file would be “21 gauge Sterling Silver 1/2 round 1/2 hard”. The wire is in a plastic bag in the folder (I use coiled wire, not spooled whenever I can). I file them by metal, then by gauge, then by shape, smallest to largest, with Sterling in the front, then copper, then gold fill, because that is the order in which I use them.

  12. avatar

    Patty

    October 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I have been getting into chain maille this year and I make alot of my own jump rings, so I’ve ended up with wire everywhere! I’ve gotten a 10-drawer file storage unit, and keep my wire in drawers accordingly. Granted, some gauges may share a drawer with a second gauge just because I don’t use it them often often enough to have a huge stock. 18, 20, and 22 gauge, though, all have their own drawer — makes it much easier for me to sift through. And I do store my square and half-round with in with my round wire. I have gauge as the only sort criteria.

  13. avatar

    Rosemarie A. Greenwald

    October 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I store my coiled wire in clearly labeled zip-loc bags. I keep them separated by gauge and by metal; i.e., copper; gold-filled, etc. I clip each zip-loc to a drapery clip that has a ring at the top. Then, I string the clipped bags onto the drapery rod via the ring. Each bag can easily be detached from the rod by unclipping the drapery clip without disturbing the whole cache.

    • avatar

      jan garbacz

      October 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      i keep mine in ziploc bags too, but in a drawer where i have to dig thru them, i did not think of a curtain clip. and i have a rod up that i originally installed to put wire on, so the clips will be perfect. thanks so much.

  14. avatar

    Gina

    October 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Hi,
    I use an expandable file folder and put the wire gauge on the tabs. I have each coil of wire in its own zip lock bag with a piece of caulk to avoid tarnish. Works pretty good.

  15. avatar

    Dorothy

    October 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    I’m a person who needs to see what I have to remember I have it, otherwise I’m not looking for what I can’t see. Did that make sense? So I have a “wall” of pegboard mounted on one side of my jewelry craft table, with dowels in the holes and labels over the dowels so I always know what I have and where it goes. I’m one of those people who, if I put it in a binder, it will stay there because I’ll forget I have it, and I’d just rather reach for it. For someone who needs to be able to put their materials away when not making something, you could do something similar with a folding display board from an office supply store and mount something like the garters we used to use for nylons to hold the coils so it could just fold up and go into a closet.

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