Wire sculptures have been around for a long time, but with DIY crafts growing in popularity, many people have started to make their own. Not only can it be unique decorations for your home or a thoughtful gift for someone you know. Wire sculptures can also be a fun project to help you unleash your creativity.
It can be a bit daunting to get into a new form of art, but with the right tools and choice of wire, this project can be attempted by people from all levels of skill. Since the wire is a crucial part of the process, selecting the right one for the task can be a bit difficult.
Depending on the type of sculpture you want to make, there is a large range of wires for sculptures that you can choose from to get the best results. Typically you want to look for the wire gauge thickness you need so you are able to bend it with simply some heat, but also holds its shape when molded. Some common types of wire for sculptures include aluminum sterling silver or copper. Some, even choose to mix the different types of wire to get the stability and look you want
To help you become the next Michaelangelo of the wire sculpture world, we explore the different wire options that are available to help you choose the best one for you.
5 Best Wires for Wire Art and Sculptures
1. Silver Aluminum Craft Wire 65.6 Feet
This TecUnite craft wire comes in a pack of two rolls and made from high-quality aluminum. Each roll is 32.8 feet long that can be used for many different wire projects. The wire thickness is 1/16 in. that is more fine and easy to bend, while not sacrificing in structure. The wire features a shiny silver color that is non-staining and non-corrosive for the most high-quality looking pieces. The aluminum wire is easy to bend and twist, making it extremely versatile in the type of projects you can use this for. Unlike some other aluminum options, this high-quality aluminum wire does not leave a residue and is perfect for amateur wire sculptors and professionals. If you are looking for an affordable, high-quality option that can work with a wide range of different wire projects, this one is perfect for you.
– thin, but able to hold shape
affordable, yet high-quality
– no color options
– may be too soft for bigger projects
2. Authentic Sterling Silver Wire
This authentic sterling silver wire is another dead soft wire option that is made from high-quality sterling silver. The material is hypoallergenic and nickel-free, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin. The wire has a gauge of 22, to .024 inches, making it a thinner wire, great for more detailed work. The wire comes in a single roll of 5 feet, making it a great option for a couple of smaller wire projects. If you are looking for a more premium wire quality that creates a shiny look, yet is easy to handle, look no further. Even though it is slightly more expensive, the high-quality look of the sterling silver will surely capture anyone’s attention.
– high-quality sterling silver
– great for sensitive skin
– very pliable, but holds shape
– slightly more expensive option
– wire gauge may be too thin for some
3. Artistic Wire 20-Gauge Bare Copper Wire
This copper wire option features a unique copper color that stays shiny for as long as you need it to. The wire is a 20 gauge wire which is slightly thinner than a standard wire. It is still easy to shape, with its soft temper technology. It is easy to bend, yet holds its shape when completed. You do not need to worry about tarnishing with this copper wire. It is coated in a tarnish-resistant coating and makes for a unique sculpture. This is a high-quality copper wire that can be used for many different wire projects and jewelry.
– easy to bend for more delicate projects
– unique color will stand out
– no tarnish
– copper color may not be suited for some projects
– wire gauge is less multi-purpose than others
4. Multi-colored Aluminum Craft Wire
This aluminum craft wire is another affordable, high-quality option that comes in a variety of different jaw-droppingly beautiful colors. The 20 gauge pack of wire is an average wire gauge thickness and is easy to bend and is lightweight. The soft aluminum wire has a beautiful metallic luster that does not fade or rub off over time. This versatile wire choice is great for delicate jewelry as well as colorful wire sculptures. This pack comes in 12 different bright colors that make for eye-catching decorations for any home.
– 12 different colors
– does not fade over time
– easily pliable
– colors may not be for everyone
– wire may be too thin for some
5. Mandala Crafts Anodized Aluminum Wire for Sculpting
This Mandala wire is a slightly thicker 14 gauge aluminum wire that is durable, yet still flexible enough for easy sculpting. The aluminum material is shiny, weather-resistant, corrosion-free, rust and tarnish free, and make for quality wire sculptures. A great feature of this wire is that it comes in a variety of different color options. Depending on the type of sculpture you want to make, there is a color for you. This is a popular option by many sculptors because of its high quality and heavy-duty construction. This may be a bit less malleable than other options but holds its shape extremely well.
– thicker wire holds up
– comes in many color choices
– heavy-duty wire
– may be hard to bend for some
– wire is on the thicker side
Things to Consider Before Buying
Some things to think about before making your purchase include:
Type of Wire
There are different wire types that differ in hardness, flexibility, and durability. Some of the most common wire types for sculptures are armature wire, copper wire, and sterling silver wire. While you may be able to get away with using a standard wire coat hanger or a standard paper clip for a quick family wire sculpting session, heavy, high-performance sculptural wire makes for a more refined and durable wire sculpture.
Armature may be a choice that you did not even know existed, but is actually one of the most popular wire choices for wire art projects for good reason. Armature wire is made from aluminum but features the desired flexibility that is perfect for molding and sculpting into shapes. Another great feature of this option is its silver-colored wire finish which is proven not to rust. The last thing you want is for your work of art to start rusting over time. The aluminum wire option is also affordable but looks like a premium wire that shines like a new piece of quality jewelry. It is an affordable option known most for its pliability. For those projects that require more twisting and bending, aluminum wire is a great option that does not hurt your hands.
Copper wire is another popular choice since it is also extremely pliable. The copper wire is a great bending wire but also proves to be a strong wire making it perfect for sculptures. You are able to mold the copper wire into anything you want. Another reason people love copper wire is for its natural color. The beautiful copper color can be great for specific sculptures such as trees or intimate wire sculptures with its unique color. Copper wire is also relatively affordable that is easy to mold into any shape you need even without any tools. If you love the copper tone for your specific sculpture, you may want to consider copper wire.
Sterling silver wire is another option that many people prefer for wire sculptures. Sterling silver wire is similar to aluminum wire, but the material of the wire is more durable. Sterling silver wire is a bit more expensive since it is an alloy made up of silver and copper. This makes this a more premium wire that makes for great displays. Not only is the wire exceptional shiny and malleable, but the sterling silver wire also holds up well for a long period of time. Sterling silver wire has the look of pure silver but is easier to work with.
The thickness of the wire is also referred to as the wire gauge. The higher the number gauge is, the thinner the wire will be. The lower the number gauge, the thicker the wire will be. 12 gauge wire is thicker and more firm, which can be great for larger, less detailed wire art, and a 24 gauge option will be a much thinner wire that is great for more delicate and detailed wire art.
Depending on the type of project you want to make, there will be a wire gauge that is more suitable for you. The wire can be twisted, bended, and even braided, but the gauge of the wire will decide how easily this can be done.
Some things to think about when choosing your wire gauge are how detailed you want your project to be, how advanced a pattern are you taking on, and whether you are mixing wires. If you are making a sculpture with fewer features, a thicker wire can achieve the look you want, while staying sturdy. If you are looking to add small, detailed features, such as a face, a thinner wire is easier to bend into the specific shape you need. The complexity of the sculpture can also help you determine which wire gauge is right for you. For those that are working on a simple pattern or shape, a thicker wire can achieve the look and stay in place. For those that are attempting a more advanced shape, a thinner wire can add detail and complexity to the art. Some people opt to mix different types of wire and high and low gauge wires to help achieve the desired sturdiness and look. A good bet is always starting out with a wire gauge that is somewhere in the middle. For example, a wire gauge of 14-16 has a good amount of stiffness to keep the shape of your sculpture, but also providing enough pliability for you to get the shape you want. Once you try it out, you will be more sure of what gauge of wire can work best for the projects you want to attempt.
This is another factor that should be considered when choosing the wire for your wire sculpture. The wire hardness determines how pliable it will be and also how well the sculpture can hold up over time. Even though most people want a hard wire that can withstand anything, it is actually very hard to work with, and not suitable for beginners. The most common types of wire hardness include dead soft wire, half-hard wire, and full hard wires.
While most people would go for a full-hard wire, it is much more rigid and hard than most people would imagine. If you are looking to sculpt only with your hands, the full hard wire would not be a great option for you. It is hard to twist and bend without the help of applied heat and specific tools. This may be a great option for professionals that are creating a piece of work that is displayed and needs to withstand a bit more than the usual.
Half hard wire is a great in-between option that most sculptors go for. The semi-stiff wire takes on precise forms without lacking in stability and structure. This option for wire hardness may still need some heat or tools to manipulate it into the perfect shape, but does a great job in holding its shape after molding.
The last option that many sculptors opt for includes dead soft wire. Especially for those DIY projects that are made more for your enjoyment, this option is easy to manipulate and creates for a fool-proof sculpting process. It is easily pliable with only your hands, making this a great option for families and amateur wire sculptors. One thing to note is that you may need some quality tape to hold this type of wire in place. Still, this is a great option for those that are looking for an easy and affordable option.
If you are considering getting into wire sculpting, make sure to invest in decent pliers to make your life easier. With the right metal choices and tools, your wire sculpture projects will sure to impress. There are many different kinds of wire that can be more suitable for your wire art projects. They also come in a variety of sizes and finishes that can turn your imagination into real artwork. We wish you happy wire sculpting!