Advanced Memory Wire Techniques
17 January 2012
Author: Diana Jorge
If you’ve ever worked with memory wire, you’ll know it can take pretty much anything you can throw at it, and still hold its shape. Memory wire’s resilience makes it a great material to work with. It’s versatile, durable and never loses its shape hence, the name, Memory wire. Memory wire can easily be strung for quick jewelry, but it can also be used in several other ways.
Make it Pop:
An easy way to make your memory wire jewelry pop is to make multiple strand pieces with spacers and double-strand slider beads. Sliders are great for making double strand jewelry. They keep the strands of memory wire separate and also add nice detail to the piece. If you want to make multiple strand jewelry with more than two strands, you can also use decorative spacers. Jeweled spacers are both functional and beautiful. Simply cut a length of memory wire for each strand, make one loop at the end of each piece of wire and begin stringing.
Wrap it Up:
Memory wire can also work great as a back bone for wire wrapping. Unlike other kinds of wire, memory wire won’t kink or give way under the pressure of wrapping. Your wire wrapped piece will maintain its shape no matter how many beads you layer on.
Begin by cutting a piece of memory wire and making a loop at one end. Wrap a piece of 24 gauge wire on loop and begin stringing beads and wrapping them around the memory wire. You can keep your wire wrapped piece simple by making one row of wrapped beads or continue wrapping for a more complex piece. If your wire comes to an end before you finish, wrap the end around the memory wire base a few times, trim with wire cutters and tuck in the protruding end with bent nose pliers. Add another length of wire by wrapping the end over the memory wire base a few times and continue adding beads.
Give it Charm:
To make beautiful pendants or earrings, use ring-sized memory wire. Simply string with beads or wire wrap to make stunning circular pendants that won’t collapse or bend. Add charms and dangles by stringing beaded headpins, eye pins or even pieces of chain between beads.
String it On:
If you prefer stringing to wire work, try using memory wire as a base for beaded projects. Use memory wire as the center of a beaded rope to add shape and stability to your piece. You can also string a piece of memory wire with beads and then add netting and fringe to make a sturdy beaded necklace. For best results, use large-hole beads and a thin flexible needle.
When working with memory wire, remember that it has very little limitations. It’s a very forgiving material, so it’s great for experimentation. Try different techniques until you find something you like. Whatever you choose to do with memory wire, chances are you’ll come to love the shapely results.