Memory wire is a type of steel – stainless or carbon – wire that retains its coiled shape. It comes in many colors and sizes. The most common sizes are bracelet and necklace, but it also comes in ring sizes too – both toe rings and finger rings. The colors that it comes in are plated over the steel: silver, gold, copper.
This type of wire is extremely durable. It’s tarnish resistant as most stainless steel is. It’s easy to design with, and easier to put on – just wrap the beaded coils around your wrist, neck, or fingers and toes.
I bought the finger ring size once. I attempted to make rings, but it was extremely tedious, and the result wasn’t very comfortable on my finger.
Memory Wire Shears
When designing with memory wire, you can’t just cut this steel wire with any type of cutters – you can only use memory wire shears. Granted, you can actually cut memory wire with any type of cutters not designed for memory wire, but you will ruin your cutters.
I made this mistake once, and only once. It was an expensive mistake. I used my $50 pair of Lindstrolm flush cutters and destroyed them. Even after trying to sharpen them, they were useless. Don’t make the same mistake.
Designing With Memory Wire
It’s so easy to create necklaces and bracelets with this type of wire:
- Cut desired number of coils – I usually do 3 coils for gemstones and 4 coils for any other type of beads. For necklaces, I cut about 1 1/2 coils.
- Add a loop on one end, using round nose pliers.
- Strung on your beads in whatever pattern you like.
- Finish with another loop.
- And you have a beautiful bracelet or necklace.
For a professional look, you can add half-drilled beads to the ends of the wire instead of loops. But make sure you use the correct type of glue, or the bead ends will fall off, and you’ll end up with a mess of beads!
You need to also make sure you have enough beads to string onto your wire – for 4 coils, it takes about 16 inches of 6-8mm beads. The worst thing is running out of your selected beads.
Cats And Memory Wire
It takes awhile to string on 16 inches of beads onto memory wire. I hadn’t finished one of my bracelets and left it in my toolbox to finish it later. Well, Velcro, my sweet Tuxedo cat, decided he was going to play with my not yet finished bracelet. Ha! This is precisely why I bought a toolbox… to keep Velcro out of my jewelry. But he, being the crafty cat that he was, opened up the drawer and removed this unfinished bracelet. Sigh.
Beads Bouncing Down The Stairs
I was just about to fall asleep when I heard, “ping ping ping…” I really didn’t want to get out of my nice warm comfy bed, but “What was that sound?” I heard more pinging. Ugh, I got out of my bed, turned on the lights, and lo and behold, there were beads on so many of the stairway.
I used to find my memory wire bracelets everywhere before I bought the toolbox. I found them under the fridge, under the oven, in other rooms. I guess they make fabulous cat toys.
After the disaster of the unfinished bracelet ending up on the staircase, I began to lock my toolbox every night.
As I mentioned above, when gluing the half-drilled beads on the ends of the memory wire, you need to select the right type of glue. Then make sure the glue is dry, and also try not to get glue on your fingers, or you’ll end up with a bracelet attached to your hand.
I’d suggest e6000 glue as I’ve tried crazy glue and a glue called, Vigor Glue. These two glues didn’t do the trick. At first, they did, but while I was wearing one of my bracelets at work, the glue came undone, and beads went bouncing all over the floor. What a mess!
You can check out my memory wire bracelets here. 10% of all proceeds will go to an organization called the Call of Freedom which helps survivors of the horrific human trafficking trade.