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What type of beading wire should I use?

There’s no limit to the combinations of beads you can use in your craft or jewelry and that can make choosing specific beads difficult. Beading wire is supposed to be simple, but that’s not the reality. There are many different types and sizes of beading wire, but which is the best for your project?

Every project is different as is the beading wire. It’s not a one-size-fits-all proposal. There are several different measurements to choose from and over time you’ll find the ones you like best.

It’s not universal. A person may like one gauge for one project and the same project could have a different gauge with someone else.

How is Beading Wire Different Than Regular Wire?

Does everyone remember the movies where the good guy has to disarm a bomb and choose the red wire or the blue wire? Yeah, that’s not beading wire. A wire is just that a wire. It’s a single strand of metal made from iron, copper or other material.

These types of wires are used in everything from electronics to home electrical systems. Beading wire is much different. The wire is meant for one purpose, beading.

It’s made from several strands of small wire woven together. This helps make it suppler when bending and stronger to put up with the everyday wear and tear.

Beading Wire Diameter

The larger the beading diameter means the stronger the wire. The beading diameter is the overall thickness of the wire and it can be a balancing act between strength and ease of use. The diameter is usually measured in fractions of an inch, so it’s easy to visualize.

The benefit of thicker wire is that’s stronger. The benefit for thinner wire is it’s easier to work with. Thinner wire is easier to fit into the small holes in the beads, but it won’t hold up to being pulled or caught on something.

Does the Number of Beading Wire Strands Matter?

Beading wire is made up of many strands of small wires woven together to create the primary beading wire and add strength and flexibility. If you want string-like jewelry that flows with your movements, then the higher stand count the better.

Higher strand count means more flexibility. People consider this type of jewelry higher quality. When you deal with lower strand numbers, you run the risk of kinking and having stiff jewelry.

The biggest downside of high strand wire is the cost. You’re paying for the flexibility and the feel, which you don’t get with lower strand beading wire.

Beading Wire Strength

You want a beading wire that can take the abuse of your 2-year-old and won’t break at the first sign of trouble. This is found in the pound strength measurement for the wire. Basically, it means the amount of pressure in pounds the wire can take before breaking.

You never know what can happen when wearing jewelry. It can get caught on something or you could accidentally tug on it. If you want something that can take a beating, then you’ll want something with higher pound strength.

Keep in mind that certain factors can impact the overall strength of the wire such as age, weight of the beads, sharpness of the beads, etc. If you’re wearing beads with edges, then they can wear down the wire over time and lead to early breakage.

Choosing the Right Beading Wire

When it comes to physically choosing the right wire for you, it’s about compromise and balance. A necklace that hangs around your neck won’t likely get caught on something, but a bracelet has all kinds of opportunities to snag.

Also, a necklace is free flowing while a bracelet can be stiffer and still feel fine. It’s best to get a few different types of beading wire so you can discover which ones are your favorites. They’ll likely be your go-to beading wire for many of your projects.

Experiment With What Works

Ultimately, the right beadwire for you is the one you want to use. If you’re creating jewelry to sell, then I would go with higher quality beadwire with high strength. No one wants to purchase jewelry and then have it break after a week.

If you want to learn more about beading or take a look at our beading selection, then please click here.