- Memory Wire is thin, tempered stainless steel wire that is used as a beading medium. The wire is corrosion resistant and will resist tarnishing. Like a spring, memory wire coils back to its original form when expanded and released. The wire “remembers” its shape and stays in this figure unless it is overworked or deformed by heat. It does relax a little when the beads are added.
Memory wire is inexpensive and easy to use. Memory wire jewelry is great for people who have trouble using clasps because they are easy to put on.
Round and oval. Packages are sold in number of loops. In the bracelet size, round is usually best for smaller beads and wrists and ovals are for larger beads and/or wrists.
Bracelet: 1.75” for snug or regular sized bracelet and 2.5” for larger or bangle type bracelet.
Necklace: 3.75”, it is usually used for a choker style necklace with one loop and short overlap. Using a focal bead as a pendant looks great when using memory wire.
Finger & toe rings: 0.75” and 0.50”
Silver, gold, copper and gunmetal
Jewelry, napkin rings and wine charms
MEMORY WIRE CUTTERS, do not use your good wire cutters, they will get ruined. You can also use piano wire or some other type of strong cutters.
Chain or round nose pliers.
Jewelry or super glue to add memory wire bead caps to finish the ends.
Bead board or mat to lay out your design.
Headpins, if you want to add wrapped loop beads to our piece.
File or emery board for the wire end.
Making Your Memory Wire Piece
Determine how much memory wire you want to use. For example, how many loops do you want on your bracelet? The number of loops you would use will also depend on the type and size of beads. For example, you could make up to eight loops with seed beads and up three to five loops with chunkier beads Some have made bracelets with as many as twelve loops. Wrap the memory wire around your wrist for the desired length and number of loops. Longer beads usually do not work well with memory wire due to the coil shape.
Add about 1-2 inches so there is plenty of room depending on the sizes of the beads. It is easier to cut off the extra when you are finishing your piece than to be short. Add about one more inch if you are going to finish your piece with loops. Cut your wire with your memory wire cutters.
If you are going to make loops at the end, use your chain or round nose pliers to make an loop at one end. The shape is up to you, the goal is to keep the beads on the wire. If you know you are going to add wrapped bead(s) to your loop, have them ready to add before you finish your first loop. To make a round loop, which is more difficult, grip the end of the wire with your round nose pliers that no wire sticks out and hold it tightly. Use the opposite thumb to press the wire firmly against the pliers away from you to form a curve. Reposition the pliers to grab the next section of wire and repeat until you have created a full loop.
If you are going to glue memory wire bead caps to your piece, use your file to roughen up the end of your wire so that the glue will adhere better. Add the glue to the end (1/8”) and add the bead cop. Then let it dry for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Get your design ready and start adding the beads pushing them down to the end of the wire with the loop or bead cap. You might want to have some smaller beads at the ends for a more tapered look at the ends. Or you can add wrapped bead(s) to the ends of the bracelet to disguise the end loop.
When you are completed the piece, see how it fits. The different sizes of beads will make a difference. Does it end where you want it too? If so then you are ready to complete the final step.
Take your piece and make sure there are no gaps and the beads are pushed down to the finished end. Unless you want gaps and for the beads to slide. Then finish the end with a loop or bead cap as mentioned above.
Put on your piece and enjoy your work. You will want to make more or these fun and easy pieces using memory wire.