Wire Gauge Guide
30 gauge 0.2mm Very fine threading
28 gauge 0.4mm Binding, knitting, crochet
24 gauge 0.6mm Threading small beads, twisting
20 gauge 0.8mm Most commonly used
18 gauge 1.0mm Structure and ring shanks
16 gauge 1.2mm Bold wiring
14 gauge 1.5mm Thick metalic wire jewellery
NB: the higher the gauge number - the thinner the wire
0.2mm (30 gauge)Intricate work such as weaving, coiling and embellishing. Good for using with gemstones with smaller holes such as pearls when needing to use more than once. Wrapping stones onto thicker wire or chain links.
0.4mm (28 gauge)Use for twisting techniques, ie tiaras and hair combs. Wrapping round beads and binding wires together. Also good for coiling and weaving.
0.6mm (22 gauge)Good for creating beading links and wrapping. Use on Gizmo for coiling.
0.8mm (20 gauge)Staple wire. Use for creating rings, earring hooks, links, frames, spirals. Can use with Gizmo, but it is harder to coil because of the thickness.
1mm (18 gauge)Good for frames, connectors, links and clasps. Too thick for earring hooks, twising, coiling or binding.
StrengthsWire is also offered in different strengths, ie hard, half hard and soft. This usually applies to sterling silver or gold vermeil.
Hard - very sturdy but difficult to actually use
Half hard - strong but still malleable
Soft - very easy to use but not very strong or sturdy.
You can also work-harden wire by gently hammering with a rubber hammer or running fingers along it. (As you do when you straighten wire you are using it from a coil). The wire will naturally work-harden as you work it.
ToolsPliers: Round nose, flat nose, cutters (side or flush are good)
Gizmo for coiling