Tag Archives: chain maille

March, 2012 Monthly Project: Chain Maile Japanese Cross

Our March, 2012 project will be taught by our member, Eileen.  She has provided the photo of the project and a list of the materials you will need to bring to the meeting.

Japanese Cross Bracelet
Japanese Cross Bracelet

Here is the list of supplies for the March project as provided by Eileen.

Jump rings – 18 ga. 3/16″  (I used copper color on my bracelet.)
Jump rings – 18 ga. 5/32″  (1 or 2 colors) 
For each Japanese crosses you would like to make, you will need 8 of the 3/16″ and 10 of the 5/32″ size.
Beading wire (I used copper since I made a copper bracelet)
Wire guards (I used copper)
Crimp Tubes (I used copper)
Toggle clasp
If desired, beads to place between each Japanese Cross.
Two flat nose pliers
Crimping Tool
Looks like a fun project….thanks Eileen! 
Webmaster Note:  Don’t forget to bring beads from your stash if you would like to contribute beads for the annual Edna Perkins Project.  I will bring our current supply to the March Meeting for those who were unable to attend the February meeting.  You still have plenty of time to create some great pieces.  All piece

How to Choose the Right Wire Gauge

This article was published in Beadingdaily.

Our member, Lisa Dryden suggested that we put it on the website as a permanent reference. Hopefully, it will be useful to you and you won’t have to dig through your saved files to locate it. It will be here when you have need of the information! Thanks for the suggestion Lisa.

A Quick Guide to Wire Gauge and Hardness

 Chances are, if you’ve been making jewelry for a while, you’re feeling ready to expand your skills. For many beaders and stringers, that means moving into the realm of wire. But I know wire can feel a little daunting—I vividly recall my first class. You bend it which way? But remember when you first started with seed beads and you thought, no way am I going to work with those tiny things! Or when you started stringing and you thought, I really don’t understand how these crimps work.

It’s just a matter of diving in and getting familiar with the materials and tools. The two things most critical to jewelry making with wire are the gauges and the hardness.

 Wire Gauge

Gauge refers to the thickness or diameter of the wire. The smaller the number, the thicker the wire. For instance, to bend thick wire into a bangle, you might use 4 gauge, which is a little over ¼” thick. But if you want to knit with wire, you might use 28- or 30-gauge, which are almost like thread. Use a wire gauge tool by slipping the wire in a notch to determine the gauge.

Here are some of the most common wire jewelry-making components and the best wire gauges for creating them:

 12g-14g – heavier clasps

  12g-18g – links, medium clasps

 16g-20g – jump rings

 18g-22g – ear wires, simple loops

 20g-24g – coils, wrapped loops

 24g-30g – knitting.

Wire Hardness

Wire hardness The hardness of the wire refers to the malleability. Hardness also differs by material. Sterling is harder than copper. Brass and bronze tend to be stiffer than both copper and sterling. When you’re working with very fine gauges, hardness is a bit irrelevant, since fine gauge wires are so thin they’re ultimately pliable.

But if you work with thicker gauges, you want to choose the hardness most appropriate for the work you’re doing. For instance, if you want to make ear wires, you know they should have some stiffness and spring to them. But if you’re coiling wire, you want that wire to be soft enough to easily wrap around whatever you’re using as a mandrel.

 Full hard: fully tempered, very hard and stiff. There is rarely a call for full hard in jewelry making.

 Half hard: softer than full hard, but still holds some shape. Good for ear wires or hooks.

 Dead soft: very soft, no spring, very pliable. Best for bending, coiling, hammering, and manipulating the wire a lot.

Work Hardening Your Wire

All metal becomes stiffer when you work with it–that’s called work hardening. Any sort of manipulation of the wire changes the molecular structure of it, causing it to become harder and more brittle.

The only way you can return the wire to its softer state is to heat it, which you can do if you have a torch or a kiln. But you can always harden soft wire by hammering, either with a metal hammer to flatten and texture, or with a rawhide mallet, to maintain the roundness but temper, or harden, the metal.

You can use work hardening to your advantage when you’re making jewelry. When you start with soft wire and want to make a few jump rings by coiling the wire around a mandrel, the coiling will work harden the metal and make your jump rings stronger.

Buying Wire

When you buy craft wire, it’s primarily copper with a colo red coating of some type. Consequently it’s quite soft and easy to work with. Craft wire does not come in different degrees of hardness. But when you buy silver or copper wire from jewelry suppliers, you should specify the hardness you want.

Get Wired!!

Show And Tell: February 24, 2009


The following items were presented by club members during the Show and Tell portion of our February meeting.  One can easily see the diversity of style exhibited by the artists!

Lisa Dryden's Chiluly Style Glass Necklace

This beautiful “Chiluly” style glass necklace was shown by Lisa Dryden.   We can always count on Lisa to do the dramatic and unusual! 

Marilyn Peterson's Chain Maille Christmas Tree

This Chain Maille Christmas Tree was done by Marilyn Peterson.  This was our club project in November.  The class was presented by member, Judy Citta.  Judy, bless her heart, made all of the jumprings and allowed us to purchase the findings as a “kit”.   Thanks Judy for this fun project and GOOD JOB Marilyn!

Christine Johnson's Peyote Bead Bracelet in Pastels

Christine Johnson’s Pretty Pastel Peyote Bead Bracelet.  Chris related that her bracelet was inspired by a similar one in a fairly recent issue of Bead and Button Magazine.   I think Baskin and Robbins could use this as a flavor chart for their sherbets.  Very nice Chris!

Gail May's Crystal Earrings and Bracelet Set 

Gail May’s Swaroski Crystal Bracelet and Earring Set.  Gail, this set is beautiful but it is more pink than purple!  What a surprise.  Those of us who know Gail, know that purple is her favorite color!  Gail May's Beaded Bead

This is a beautiful Beaded Bead done by Gail May.  This was a club project in the summer of 2008.  The class was presented by members, Pam Elledge and Lisa Dryden.  The bead has a beaded peyote base and accented with seed beads and gem stone chips.  Gorgeous Gail!

Joni Stinson's Gold and Black Native Style Earrings

Joni Stinson's Silver Fox Earrings

Joni Stinson's Butterfly Earrings

These three pairs of earrings were done by Joni Stinson.  The gold and black pair and the butterflies were done in two drop brick stitch.  The Silver Fox were done in traditional brick stitch. 

Joni Stinson's Black Red White Abstract Cuff

This Black Red and White Abstract Cuff is an original design by Joni Stinson using the software BeadTool3.  Joni threw out her graph paper and colored pencils and joined the 21st century!  This bracelet is done in Delica beads in even count peyote stitch.