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Memory Wire - Finishing Ends

Instructions for using memory wire to make necklaces, bracelets or rings.

The choker for the Starry Delight jewelry making project shown at right is made with Memory Wire.  Memory Wire is a special wire that has been specifically hardened so that it will retain its round shape.  This allows jewelry made with  Memory wire, like the choker shown here, to be stretched so that it can be worn comfortably and yet it will return to its original round shape after being removed.  Because of the unusual properties of Memory Wire, it must be treated differently than other jewelry wire. 

The first issue when working with Memory Wire is that the wire is much harder than other jewelry wire.  In fact, Memory Wire will ruin most cutters made for jewelry wire.  This point must be emphasized.  You will need a special cutter to cut Memory Wire.  Instructions for cutting memory wire is here.  We recommend our Premium Cutters,  designed for cutting Memory Wire.  This cutter is strong enough to cut the wire without being damaged and the compound hinge helps make it easier to cut this very hard wire.  

Starry Delight Jewelry Making Project Made with Memory Wire

Starry Delight Jewelry Making Project
Using Memory Wire



The Starry Delight Choker shown above is a good example of a Memory Wire jewelry project that begins and ends with a loop (note dangles attached to each end of the choker in the above photo).  With this style of jewelry, the loop holds the beads on the Memory Wire, preventing them from sliding off.  Making a choker or bracelet using this style involves first cutting a coil of Memory Wire with at least 1 1/2 to 2 loops of wire.  After cutting the wire, then a loop is made in one end of the coil of wire as shown at right.  Making this loop can be done with your round nose pliers or with Step Jaw Pliers. 

Techniques for Making Jewelry with Memory Wire -- Initial Loop

Initial Loop


After the initial loop is made, you thread your beads onto the Memory Wire coil.  Eventually, you will want to fill the coil with beads.  Whenever you stop or set the project down, it is a good idea to clip the end of the memory wire with a plastic hemostat so that your beads don't try to find a new home under your table or your couch.  Our plastic hemostat is used as shown at right. 

Techniques for Making Jewelry with Memory Wire -- Adding Beads
Adding Beads


When you have completed threading beads onto the Memory Wire coil, make a second loop at the end of the coil, thereby closing the coil so that the beads can not slide off.  It is a good idea to decorate these beginning and ending loops with a bead dangle made with a bead and a head pin.

Memory Wire comes in a dull grey color as shown here and in a black color.  Coming soon will be both gold-plated and silver-plated Memory Wire.  These new varieties will make finished Memory Wire jewelry more attractive.  Another option to improve the appearance of Memory Wire jewelry is the use of end cap beads that we will describe in the next page. 

Techniques for Making Jewelry with Memory Wire -- Decorative Bead Dangle at End

Bead Dangle on End Loop of
Memory Wire Bracelet


An alternative to beginning and ending your Memory Wire jewelry in a loop, is the use of an end cap bead.  End Cap Beads are metal beads with a hole 3/4 of the way through the bead.  End cap beads are glued to the end of the Memory Wire using any type of Super Glue.  With a bracelet or choker made with end cap beads, the Memory Wire itself will not be visible. 

A jewelry making project using Memory Wire and end cap beads begins by cutting the Memory Wire into a coil as we described earlier.  The next step is to glue one end cap bead to one end of the Memory Wire Coil.  The best method for gluing the end cap beads is to file the last 1/8" of the Memory Wire with a jeweler's file.  The idea is not to make the wire smoother, but instead to make it rougher, allowing the glue to get a better grip. File both ends.  Coat the final 1/8" of one end of your Memory Wire with the Jeweler's Cement and then slide the coated end all the way into your end cap bead.  Allow the glue to set for a several minutes to an hour, until the bead is held securely. 

Techniques for Making Jewelry with Memory Wire -- End Cap Bead

Memory Wire Bracelet with
End Cap Bead

After the glue has set, the end cap bead will hold your regular beads on your Memory Wire coil as you add them.  Begin adding your beads as described in the previous page.  Using a hemostat to clamp the open end of the wire is a good idea whenever you set this project down.  Once all the beads have been added, glue the second end cap bead on open end to finish this project.  Because the Memory Wire is completely hidden by the combination of regular beads and end cap beads, this alternative for making Memory Wire Jewelry is recommended.


The third alternative for making Memory Wire jewelry is the "endless loop".  This alternative is shown at right.  The endless loop technique is not appropriate for making bracelets or chokers as it would be impractical to put this type of jewelry on or to remove it once it was worn.  Where endless loop Memory Wire jewelry works is in two places -- rings and earrings.  The wire component at right has a wire hanger added so that it could be attached to an earring.  Without that wire hanger, this piece could be worn as a ring. 

Techniques for Making Jewelry with Memory Wire -- Endless Loop

Endless loop Memory Wire jewelry is made by cutting a coil of Memory Wire with 1 and 1/3 revolutions of wire.  At this point, beads are added to the Memory Wire, without having either a loop on the end or an end cap bead.  Using a hemostat to clamp one end while you add your beads is a very good idea.  Having a second hemostat to clamp the opposite end whenever you set the work in progress down is also recommended.  When you have added enough beads to cover the Memory Wire, then the hard part begins.  You need to insert one end of the Memory Wire into the holes in the beads on the opposite side of the coil.  Ultimately the ends of the Memory Wire will completely overlap and will be hidden inside the beads.  This is easier to accomplish by sliding 1 or 2 beads at a time.  With patience, you will able to complete a circle of beads with the Memory Wire completely hidden inside the beads. 

The completed circle of beads can be worn as a ring, or can be a component in earrings. 

As a review of how to use Memory Wire, remember to use a special cutter for Memory Wire.  Memory Wire will ruin an ordinary jewelry wire cutter.  Use a hemostat to clamp the open end as you add your beads.  For bracelets and chokers, we recommend using end cap beads to give your Memory Wire jewelry a more professional finish.  Good luck with your Memory Wire jewelry making projects!



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