Wire bending is fun for the whole family. It's an inexpensive way to make charming gifts and handy items for the home. According to Marilyn Witt's website, Witt's Wires, wire jewelry has existed for over 5000 years. Modern methods gained popularity in America and Europe following Word War I, so it's safe to say that creating art with bent wires is a well-established pastime.
Novelty Wire Crafts
You can purchase wire at craft and hardware stores. The larger the gauge, the smaller the wire will be. Wire is measured by gauge, inch or millimeter (a conversion chart is included in the resources section below). Wire will be relatively small for novelties such as Christmas ornaments and heavier for something that requires more stability, like a napkin ring. The 16- to 18-gauge area is a suitable size for these projects. You will need scissors or wire cutters and pliers to cut and bend your craft wire, but these hand tools are all that's necessary for simple designs.
Children's Wire Crafts
Fuzzy covered wires known as pipe cleaners are super for introducing wire crafts to children. They're flexible, safe and inspire little imaginations to create colorful animals, jewelry and decorations. For older kids, use wire to form names to hang from necklaces or attach to nameplates for bedroom doors. 14 to 16 gauge is a good range for most children's wire crafts, and possibly a little larger for the more advanced undertakings. Always supervise children when working with craft items and tools. Remember to purchase lead-free wire.
Practical Wire Crafts
You can fashion various size wires into attractive and functional pieces for the home, comparable to this decorative mirror. A very basic suggestion is to form fancy numbers for the front of your house. A more serious endeavor might include a wire rack to hold wine, books or other household items. Besides the various natural and manufactured colors of wire, projects can be further enhanced with metal paint. Being creative is half the fun but you'll find several interesting wire craft sites in the references and resources sections below.
Elaborate Wire Crafts
Most craft wires are aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel and nickel silver. Copper, brass and bronze will develop patinas, producing fine antique effects. Large craft projects will require tools and equipment for cutting and bending heavy-gauge wires into shapes. If soldering is necessary, it will limit the type of wire used. Very large wire sculptures are sold as yard art and appear in museums, but this art form requires talent and patience.
Most Popular Wire Crafts
By far the most popular wire craft is jewelry making. There's an abundance of patterns and suppliers, with an ever-growing list of new products to try. Cost can be cheap or very expensive, depending on the extras you choose in beads and other jewelry findings. Tools and equipment are a minor expense to consider, but wire crafting is a hobby that can save on gift giving and also earn cash. Handmade jewelry is always a big hit at arts and crafts festivals and a good local reputation can lead to a very lucrative business.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
How to Make a Metal Bending Jig
Bending jigs are used to shape sheet and strap iron, steel and other metals, usually without heating. Jigs assist in creating curves...
Wire Bending Coat Hanger Projects
You can use old wire coat hangers to make a variety of craft projects. Turn wire coat hangers into holiday wreaths and...
Wire Bending Jig Tools
Wire bending jig tools have several different roles within small-scale craftsmanship and the manufacturing industry. Jewelers often use wire bending jigs for...
Basics of Wire Sculpture
Making a wire sculpture? Learn the basics of wire sculpting in this free video clip about making a lizard wire sculpture.