Wire art and furniture have been around for as long as we can remember. Egyptians began using wire for furniture and art around 3,000 BC. During the nineteenth-century wire-art and furniture flourished and we were seeing everything from kitchen implements to wire sculptures.
Wire furniture is growing, and we are seeing plenty more items getting created from wire chairs, bedside tables, footrests and even wire fencing. Instead of buying the wire furniture or art installations made by welded mesh, with its high price tags, create some yourself with our easy tips to learn wire making.
There are several different types of wire commonly used such as:
- The annealed wire which is a durable wire that is easy to craft with.
- Armature mesh is a flexible wire perfect for creating lots of items with bends and curves.
- Bead wire which is a very fine steel wire it doesn’t kink and is abrasion-resistant.
- The coloured copper wire consists of copper coring (a polyurethane coating). With a clear overcoat, it is resistant to chipping and peeling.
- Enamel covered wire is very bendable and is able to hold its shape well.
- Memory wire is able to remember its shape and is rigid stainless steel that is tarnish-resistant.
Before you start making wire furniture, you will need a few basic items:
Pliers are used to shaping and bend the wire most times. No matter what type of furniture you are making you should only need basic, common pliers – they can be found in most renovation stores.
- Round nose pliers: for pulling wire into round circles.
- Flat nose pliers: these have a smooth surface on the inside which is good to grip the wire while forming it.
- Chain nose pliers: these have a flat part on the jawline with a slightly serrated edge for a better grip. These will, however, mar the wire so only grip parts of the wire with these that are going to be hidden.
- Bent nose pliers: These pliers have a serrated edge and are slightly slanted. These are good in the hard-to-reach spaces.
- Long-nosed pliers: These have a better grip, which will make your work easier.
The wire is very malleable, so it can be coiled, twisted, wrapped, crocheted, braided all into wonderful shapes.
Twisting: Can can twist two or more wires together, which will add strength to the wire (and add texture). Copper is the best wire to be twisting. Others, like galvanised steel, require a lot more effort.
The best way to twist the wire is to use a hand drill. Be careful when using power tools and make sure you have the right safety equipment and knowledge. This gives you plenty more control with the wire. You need to use a piece of wire that is three times longer than needed for your artwork. You then fold the wire in half and then wrap it around the shape that you want like a table leg. Get a cup hook and put it in the drill and secure each end of the wire to the hook. Then gently move the drill handle which will then twist the wire.
When you wrap the wire, ensure the wire is harder and thicker than the wrapping wire. Copper wire works well here, as it has two pieces of wire that are the same thickness. Ensure that when you cut the core wire, you need to leave 2 ½ extra to create the loop. It Is best to use round nose pliers and you can use a pencil inserted in the loop so you can use that as a winder and rotate it around with your hands. While you are winding use a hand to scrunch up the wire coils, so it is all wrapped together. And then you are all done! Good luck on your creations.