Memory wire is a hard wire that comes in loops. It is called memory wire because when you pull it out of shape to put it on it snaps back into place. It is a great way to make necklaces and can easily be used for a huge variety of looks. These create a choker style necklace that can be a lot more creative than you might at first think.
Memory Wire Options
A memory wire necklace comes in a series of loops at 3 and 5/8 inches. It comes in a carbon steel that is traditionally a dull silver color. However, you can buy plated memory wire that includes silver and gold plated options. You can also find gold finished carbon steel which is simply colored gold though it has no precious metals in it. You can also sometimes find some with multiple colors in it and sometimes you can find black varieties.
Credit: AmazonCredit: Amazon
Where to Buy Memory Wire
Memory wire is not always easy to find. You can check at your local craft stores. If you have a small bead shop in your area they may have some or may be able to order some for you if you don't like to buy online. The other option (that is always guaranteed) is to buy online. You can find lots of different memory wire necklace options online at Amazon, eBay, Fire Mountain Gems, and small online stores.
Basic Beading Instructions
The great thing about making a memory wire necklace is that it is really easy to do. All you need to do is follow these instructions and you can be on your way to creating a lot of different necklaces. You will need your memory wire, beads with holes large enough to fit over the wire, a pair of beading pliers, and a pair of wire cutters. Your wire cutters need to be heavy duty because this is strong wire. You should never use jewelry making wire cutters. It's best to grab a pair of wire cutters from the household toolbox or from the hardware store. You may also want safety glasses or some other type of eye protection because small pieces of wire can fly when you cut the wires. You want to make sure that they don't fly into your eyes. There are also a few options for finishing the memory wire that you may want to consider and Bead Fix or another type of bead glue or epoxy is also helpful.
- Cut Your Wire. The first thing you need to do is cut your wire. This process is really easy with a large pair of wire cutters. If you do use jewelry ones you will chip the blades and make it a lot harder to cut other types of wire later on. You want at least one loop of wire for your memory wire necklace. However, using more than one loop can help you achieve different looks.
- Finish One End. There are a few different ways that you can finish the ends of your memory wire. You can fold the memory wire over with a pair of pliers. When doing this you can either leave a loop or fold it flat. Leaving a loop allows you to add some dangles. You can also glue a bead on the end as your stop bead. Your final option is to use bead ends or half drilled beads. These slip over the end, but don't have a hole all the way through. You then glue these into place. You will start by finishing just one end.
- Add your beads. Now you just simply bead the necklace in a pattern that appeals to you.
- Finish the Other End. Finishing the other end can be a little more difficult. You will want to make sure that you have beaded the wire as full as you can and still have space to finish the necklace. Then you finish it in the same way that you finished the other end.
Getting Creative with Memory Wire Necklaces
At first it can seem that you can only bead the most basic of designs when making a memory wire necklace. However, you have a lot of options if you only get creative.
Different Bead Shapes
You can bead a pretty simple strand of beads. However, by adding in different shapes of beads you can get creative. Some options for making unusual looks include tear drop beads, gemstone or shell chips, shells, or side drilled beads. These will dramatically change the look of a simple memory wire necklace.
Short pieces of wire or memory wire can be used to make dangles. Add one to five beads depending on their size and the size of the dangle you want to a head pin or a piece of wire with a shape on the end to hold the beads in place. Then roll the top of the head pin with a pair of round nosed pliers into a small loop. This loop will be added to the wire by using it like a bead hole. If your loops are large you will need large beads on either side to hold them into place.
Charms are small pieces that are shaped like another object. They come in thousands of different styles including animals, flowers, and objects that remind us of the things that we like. They are most commonly used for charm bracelets, but they can be a lot of fun to add to your memory wire necklace. You can do this with an eye pin by opening the eye of the pin and adding your charm. Then bead the length of the eye pin and fold over the top so that you can add it to your necklace in the same way that you would dangles. You can add a lot of them evenly spaced or you can add just one as a focal. You can also get creative using wire to make loops or other shapes that you add your charm to and then attach it to your necklace. If using wire you can also run the wire through a bead and then work with it that way.
Pendants are similar to charms, but usually larger. Some of them may even have a bail already added. You can simply slide the bail over the wire and have the pendant on the necklace. You can also wire wrap your pendant or make your own bail with wire.
Focals are similar to charms and pendants and can even include them. They often have more elements to them to make them stand out more. You have lots of options here. You can make a series of really long dangles that hang from the center. These can have a variety of beads and be finished with larger beads that stand out or charms. You can use large beads to make a focal. Wire wrapping large beads can be a great option. You can also wire wrap cabs or gemstones for unique look that's added to your memory wire necklace. Finally you can also use more than one technique such as adding a wire wrapped bead with dangles at the end of it.
Many memory wire necklaces use a single loop to make a choker. You can use multiple loops to create some beautiful looks. These loops can then use the above techniques for endless possibilities.
A memory wire necklace is easy to make and can be stylish. These chokers can also be creative and can really show a lot of personality and style. You don't have to find yourself suck in the same old pattern and can get out of the box without a whole lot of jewelry making history or knowledge. Just remember to have fun with it and you are sure to really get a lot out of the experience.