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Topics: Wire, Sizing

Q.
I like working with polymer clay and would like to make a carrot out of clay and have coiled Zebra colored wire as the greens. But I don't know much about wire gauges. What gauge is going to retain its coil shape best for a charm intended for earrings? What are the suggested uses for other gauges?
- Vicci
A.
For a pair of earrings, you should consider the lightest gauge possible, yet one that can hold the weight of the charm. For scale, 24- or 26-gauge wire would be a good place to start. If the charm is heavy or the scale of the coil tops large, 22- to 20-gauge would be better. As a measuring rule, the lower the number the thicker the wire.

For a quick coiling idea, use a forming plier, coiling tool or jumpring mandrel to create a small diameter (i.e. 2mm - 5mm) green coil. Attach the coil end to your charm. Trim the end with a fine-tip flush-cutter then tuck that end into the coil to hide the sharp point. Repeat as many times as you like for your polymer clay carrot earring charm.

When embedding the wire into the clay, be sure to coil or bend the end that is inserted into the clay. The bend will help keep the wire in place after the clay has been cured, otherwise the wire could pull right out.

- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador

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