What is beading wire?Beading wire (for stringing projects) is made up of many fine strands of stainless steel wire, in a nylon coating. It is often also known as tigertail. (Tigertail has less strands and is a less flexible product)
Why should I use this type of beading wire?The fine strands are woven together for strength and flexibility with minimum kinking, and the nylon coating helps to protect the wire strands.
The wire also comes in a selection of colours and you can even get gold and silver plated for projects where the wire will be showing, or when you are using clear beads. This reason for using a "bright" wire with crystal or glass beads is that it will make the piece sparkle more as the bright wire will reflect the light back out through the beads.
How do I select the right wire for the job?
There are 2 main things to consider when choosing your wire, the strand count and its diameter.
Common diameters include .014 .019 and 0.24, but smaller and larger diameters are available.
The wire may also be described by its break - this is how much weight/strain it can take before it will break.
The higher the strand count the more flexible the wire, and the better it drapes, it also tends to kink less.
Different diameters are recommended for different projects, for example if you are stringing light delicate pearls with small holes you would select a finer diameter. If you are stringing large or heavy metal or glass beads you would select a larger diameter.
What are the most common/favorite brands?
Softtouch ( from softflexcompany)
SoftflexAccuflex (Brought to you by Fire Mountain Gems)
I have put these in the order they are most generally recommended, but everyone has their own favourites, and as I mentioned above you may find different wires preferable for different projects. Each company has more details about strand counts and diameters of their products on their website.
Can I use normal wire?
No! While normal wire is great for many things it does not have the flexibility required for stringing projects. It will end up with bends and kinks, or even worse snap, under the strain. Also you cannot crimp normal wire as you will create a point of weakness and your wire will break. There is a product called Memory Wire that you can string beads on. It is a springy steel wire that retains it's coiled shape and doesn't need clasps or findings to finish it. Memory wire is an interesting option for chokers and linear designs, but doesn't allow the design flexibility to make the long necklaces, Y shaped necklaces and more unusual designs that beading wire does.
How do I finish my piece using beading wire?
It is possible to knot beading wire but it is not recommended as a strong reliable way to finish a piece. If you are going to be using beading wire you will need to learn how to crimp!
copyright kitschkitty @ UK Beaders 2006