Memory Wire is a wonderful thing. It makes awesome coiled bracelets that appear to be single strands stacked on your wrist in a cuff like style. It makes a necklace that never loses its shape or form and stays exactly where you want it to. Like anything wonderful, though, it can be a little tricky and have its share of headaches.
One thing that always confuses people about working with Memory Wire is its size. It comes in Medium and Large. As a general rule, you will want to get the Large Wire size when making bracelets. I have a 6.25 inchwrist and the Medium Memory Wire is tight, especially when I am working with larger beads. That being said, Medium Memory Wire can be great for making cuff style Memory Wire bracelets or bracelets for children.
As for necklaces… There are two things you will want to consider when choosing Memory Wire for a necklace. One is how large your beads are. The second is how large—or small—the wearer’s neck is. I have a small neck; I make most of my necklaces about 14 inches. Therefore, I almost always use the Medium Necklace Memory Wire. The other time you would want to use a Medium sized necklace is when you are usingheavier beads. Because the Medium has a tighter coil, it tends to hold its shape when weighted down with things like gemstones. Large Memory Wire is great for people who typically wear a 16-18 inch necklace. It is also ideal for stringing lighter weight beads, such as seed beads and crystals.
Whatever size Memory Wire you choose and use, you will want to remember the following general guidelines about working with Memory Wire:
- ALWAYS use Memory Wire Shears to cut your Memory Wire. If you use a Nipper tool, you will dull your blade and possibly break your tool.
- You can invest in Memory Wire End Caps to end your Memory Wire pieces. This is how I ended Memory Wire when I first started using it. You will want to invest in some Super Glue or other very strong and fast drying glue to make sure the ends are secure.
- If you are not a fan of the end caps, I would suggest using the Wire Looping Pliers to make a simple loop at each end of your Memory Wire. I like this better than the end caps because you don’t have to wait on your glue to dry AND you can dangle things off the ends of the necklace or bracelet.
I have discovered these things through years of working with Memory Wire and doing everything wrong—breaking a Nipper tool, getting Super Glue all over myself and my creation. I hope the information here will inspire you to love Memory Wire as much as I do and hopefully save you a headache along the way!
Shanna Steele, Auntie’s Beads Designer