Wire Coiling

by Michelle
(Boston, MA)

Hi Stacy,

How do you know how much wire to coil to make an inch of coil when doing bangle designs?


Stacy's Answer:

You know, that's a very good question Michelle aaaaaaaaand...I don't know! I'm sure there's a math calculation for it so one doesn't have to guess or waste material. The inside diameter (larger ID = more wire used) and the thickness/gauge of the wire (the larger the gauge, the wider the wire = less coils needed per inch) x the length of said coil all figure into the equation. PLUS....one also has to consider that it's much easier to wrap a coil when you leave a tail of 2 inches or so to prevent the whole business from spinning. Of course the tail can be wrapped after the main body of the coil, becoming part of the equation...blah, blah, blah. whew! Too much measuring, too many varying factors, too much like work! All that can make your brain hurt! This kind of wire-work just doesn't require such exact precision. So..... I have a simpler way because I think jewelry-making should be fun - not to mention that all that figuring takes longer than just making the coil!

Instead of measuring each aspect of what it takes to create my coil, ( gauge, ID, length, the unknown factor for potential extra for additional wraps) I simply use a long piece of wire, make my coil and then cut only what I need from the longer length. But if you really want to know how much wire did you use? Here's a simple method.

When you are making the same size coil a lot, or anything for that matter, DO NOT undo the business and try to measure it. Do this.

1. Measure the start length of your wire.

2. Make your coil or component

3. Then measure the remaining length of wire.

4. Deduct the remaining length from the original length and TaDa! You have the exact amount of wire used in the component.

This formula works for all components and it's so EASY!!

Keep a design log and create components in copper or base metal. Glue or tape them to the paper and then write next to them the gauge and length of wire, mandrels, etc. used to create it. It's like having a little recipe for each item.

Comments for Wire Coiling

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Oct 04, 2011
Just have to comment
by: Deb Mae

I laughed so hard because when I started I had to figure all of this out. And Stacy's answer would have free'd me from this craziness way way sooner than when I finally let it go. But if you want to have an estimate. Basically if you go back to your math from school and use width of your spiral say 9mm (outside) x's 3.14 = circumference of the ring. I always used X's 3.4 and I always came close. So 20 rings @ 10mm (outside measurement) jump rings would be 20 x 10x 3.4 = 680 mm. To convert by inches /divide by 25.4 (25.4 mm - 1 inch) If you want to know how much for Inside diamater, say you are making 6mm inside diameter with 18G wire then the width of the wire is 18G = 1.2mm so you have to add, 1.2mm + 6mm (inside) + 1.2MM then multiply by 3.14 to find out how much wire it takes to make that circle. Again I used 3.4 to make up for slack or movement. Soooooooooooo Sorry Stacy but I have been there and she just might not let it go till she figures it out, then she will let it go and take your fun attitude. Thanks for putting up with me Stacy.

Oct 05, 2011
Figuring Wire Lengths
by: Stacy Perry

LOL!!! Thanks for sharing the formula Deb Mae! Like I said.......all that figuring takes waaaaay longer than just making the coil!! All joking aside, it's actually very useful information when one must make a really long coil and you don't want to buy too little or too much precious metal wire. But, in this case, Michelle only asked about one inch - and got the mile! :-)

Stacy :)

Oct 09, 2011
Coiling gratitude
by: Michelle

Thanks for all the information Stacy and Deb. I will figure it out one way or another. Keeping a log is a great idea. Great tips. Stacy I agree, must keep it fun. Deb you really have it down to a science. lol Thanks again.


Mar 31, 2014
Keeping record cards
by: Debbie Davis

I tape samples to business cards, marked with wire type, gauge, length, price, supplier etc, and store them in a Business Card book.
I used to tape my sample coils and findings to blank playing-cards.
Whichever way you choose, the samples make good templates to check shapes against, and can be embossed into design sketches. Simples!

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