by Lesley Watt
Hi Stacy - what gauge wire do you use for the core of your bangles like 'In a coil' & what's the minimum gauge suitable for cores?
Thanks for your question Lesley! I see that you are from the UK, so I'll be using American Wire Gauge (AWG) sizes instead of the Standard Wire Gauge (SWG), but I have given the millimeter (mm)thickness of the AWG wires.
When I first started making wire bangles, I used a lighter weight core 16 gauge AWG (1.3mm) because, being new to wire I thought it really heavy! :) However, I found that the 16 gauge easily lost it's shape. (the only thing worse than putting on a bangle and having the wire smoosh out of shape - is having a customer do that!)
I've found that 12 gauge (2.0mm) wire works really well for bangles and holds it's shape nicely - especially in softer copper wire. In Sterling silver, I still prefer using 12 gauge, but will sometimes use 14 gauge (1.6mm) as well. Another deciding factor is the hole size of any beads you may wish to use! I often have to drill or stretch the holes of metal and glass beads when using the heavier 12 gauge..... I feel the extra work is well worth the effort!
Whether I'm using 12 gauge or 14 gauge wire, Sterling silver or copper, I always work harden the wire before adding the embellishments. This gives it strength and spring. Wire has a memory of sorts, so when you harden it then bend it into a circle, it's going to want to 'spring' back open. I find that the 'spring' helps to keep a clasp pulled tightly against the eyepin which keeps the clasp closed.