What is the best wire for a beginner to use for wire wrapping?
- Fortuna, NM
22- or 20-gauge round wire is the best to learn with since it is easy to manipulate based on its diameter and stiffness, and is also inexpensive enough to practice with. Zebra Wire™ is an excellent wire which offers a half-hard wire stiffness that will provide some resistance, which helps maintain the shapes you are forming. It also comes in a variety of colors to enhance the wire wrap design.
After getting some practice under your belt, you might want to try some precious metal wires. Sterling silver and gold-filled wires usually come in different degrees of hardness. Dead-soft is the most malleable which makes it easier to bend the wire. This same property can pose challenges as the malleability doesn't hold sharp bends very well. Half-hard is less malleable yet is still easy to manipulate. Half-hard wire also holds its shape much better than dead-soft. Hard, or full-hard, wire is the least malleable. It is the best at holding shapes, yet is harder to bend into precise angles and curves.
A thicker diameter wire, such as 18- or 16-gauge will add strength to your piece and will decrease the possibility of it being crushed or deformed. The thicker the wire diameter you choose, the more malleable it should be as you work to increase your experience.