7 Quick Tips for Making Your Own Wire Art
Have you ever dabbled with wire art? I remember way back when in art class making little birds and sculptures from bits of wire that the telephone company had donated to the school. So I thought I’d see if I still had the knack and share some wire art tips with you too.
Did you know that wire art dates back to 3000 BC? Egyptians made the most amazing sculptures and woven jewelry, and in the early 20th century, many artists took the concept to a whole new level. Wire is such a lovely and forgiving medium to work with. We have a stockpile of the stuff that we use to sculpt the tree of life and wire dress wall art. Depending on the gauge or thickness of the wire, it’s really easy to shape too. You can twist, wrap, braid, coil, weave, and even crochet with it.
Okay so let’s get to those 7 quick tips for making your own wire art. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram, and don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
7 Quick Tips for Making Wire Art
Tip #1 – Find an Interesting Picture
Before you start, you’ll need some reference images. Pick interesting pictures that have a recognizable form – silhouettes and line drawings are an excellent place to start. You can even turn your favorite word into wire art or try making a small spider web. A rough sketch or doodle works too.
You’re welcome to right-click on Mozart and download him to practice your wire art. Something like a brick or a ball is not going to cut it though. Your wire art will end up looking like, …….. well a round circle or a big old, boring rectangle 😀
Tip #2 – Get into the Mood
I need to get into the right mood before I create something. Put on some music, get a cup of your favorite brew, and get comfy. Well as comfy as you can because you need to put some of those super sexy, protective eyeglasses on. Warning – ridiculous reality shot coming up.
LOL, thank goodness I brushed my hair before putting that hat on. Not the prettiest look, but trust me that wire will jump all over the place 😀
Tip #3 – Wire Buying Wisdom
The best and cheapest wire can be found in a hardware store. They usually have a huge selection of galvanized, copper, brass, and aluminum wires to choose from. Baling wire is really cheap, but it may leave an oily residue on your hands. So be warned 😀 Keep some wet wipes nearby. Craft stores normally sell jewelry wire in lots of pretty colors, but it’s more expensive. Another alternative is to use florist wire, which you can find in most chain stores.
Tip #4 – Gauging Your Wire
A wire is measured in a thing called a “gauge.” The higher the gauge, the thinner and easier the wire is to bend. It sounds kinda back to front, right?!! It confused me terribly when I first started, but there’s a perfectly simple explanation. A gauge measures the diameter of the wire in a fraction of an inch. So an 8 gauge wire has a diameter of 1/8″, and a 20 gauge wire is 1/20″. Somewhere along the line, they drop “1/” bit. To make things a little easier I put together a basic wire gauge cheat sheet.
When it comes to wire art, it’s easiest to use something between a 12 and 20 gauge. The 12 gauge is the most difficult to bend with your hands though, and you may need some pliers.
Tip #5 – Sticky Tape is Your Best Friend
Seriously, that wire will jump all over the place, ALL THE TIME!! When you start, stick your wire down. As you follow the form and lay the wire down over your picture, stick it down. When you’ve bent that wire in just the right way, stick it down. If you’ve made the cutest little curly, whirly bit, stick it down. Okay, you get the point 😀 Sticky tape won’t just make it easier to create and keep a form, it will stop that pesky wire from jumping around and poking you in the face. Nuf said.
Tip #6 – Handy Wire Art Tools
Most of the time, I use my hands to sculpt and form the wire, but pliers come in handy too. Especially if you want to make a sharp bend. They’re also great for joining and twisting two pieces together. Oh, and you’ll also need wire cutters. Mom’s sewing scissors just won’t cut it 😀 Okay Mom’s scissors will cut the wire if it’s soft enough, but she may never talk to you again, so it’s probably safer to use the right tool for the job.
Tip #7 – Let Your Hands Do the Talking
If you’re in the right mood, your hands will almost take on a life of their own. You’ll twist and braid and loop and turn the wire, and before you even realize it, you’ve created a form. Trust me on this one. Let your fingers do their thing and just have fun. Don’t forget those safety glasses and don’t poke your eye out.
Bonus Tip – Displaying Your Wire Art
There are so many different ways you can show off your work. Suspend the wire art inside a frame as I did with Mozart, hang it from a mobile or inside a bicycle wheel, or use a block of wood or a stone as a base. Anything goes! For this Mozart inspired wire art, I choose to make a very basic, thick frame from pallets.
And just in case no-one recognizes Mozart, I mod podged a music sheet on to the back 😉
The wire art portrait was suspended by drilling a small hole on either side of the frame and gluing that wiry Mozart inside.
By suspending the Mozart it adds a whole other dimension to the wire art. I love the shadow play in the background when the candlelight bounces off the portrait.
I do hope you found the wire art tips useful and if there’s anything you’re still not sure about, please let me know in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer you.
Pssst; if you want to try your hand at some other wire art projects, here’s a few to get you started:
- Gorgeous wire dresses
- Art Deco wire birdcage
- Writing with wire
- Creative wire picture frames
- Bicycle wheel tree of life
- Matilda the Spider’s web
- Wire Kitty Memorial
- Large Wire Flower
And if you enjoyed the wire art tips please don’t forget to share.
Sharing is caring 😉
And for your convenience, I’ve added some affiliate links below. Disclosure: If you click on them, we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and craft tutorials for you 😉
Anyways I do hope you have an amazing week filled with lots of love, creativity, and good music.
53 thoughts on “7 Quick Tips for Making Your Own Wire Art”
Really great tips about Art Michelle! , I am a artist myself Loved your website am a big fan
Thank you so much Varum. That’s so lovely to hear.
Thank you, this is awesome and helpful information. I teach high school art and this is my first year teaching sculpture. I am looking for wire that will make a lovely sound when tapped. I bought some Wire Sound wands a number of years ago (they make great attention getters) I would love to have my classes create these wands and give them to our elementary music teachers to include in their percussion instruments. I bought a 16 gauge wire at a craft store and it bends nicely, but doesn’t make sound when tapped. The one I have is easily double the gauge. It is silvery color, and I’m pretty sure it is aluminum or an aluminum mix. Would you know what type wire it may be? On a limited and small budget, I need to make sure I am ordering the right wire for this. Thanks in advance for your help!
Hey Jenny, thank you so much for your lovely comment. Jewelry wire or the wire you find at craft stores normally has a copper core and is “Dead soft” wire, which means it bends really easy. That’s ideal for making wire art where you need a lot of flowing lines, but it’s not suitable for something structural or where you need really, really sharp curves. The softness is also the reason why the wire doesn’t make an audible sound. You can “harden” craft wire by flattening it with a hammer (the kids may enjoy that since they can be blacksmiths for a day 😀 ) but it still won’t produce that beautiful sound. Have a look at your local hardware store for aluminum tubes or pipes. They come in different diameters and lengths and could be a budget-friendly alternative. Baling wire would also work.
Nice work, but surely that’s Beethoven not Mozart?
LOL Ruby, I wouldn’t know. I never met the guys, but looking at their picture online, I think you might be right ?
This is awesome! Love your finished project! Thanks for the tips. I will definitely be trying to make my own creation.
I’m so happy you enjoyed the tutorial Lisa and knowing how incredibly talented you are, I can’t wait to see how your wire art turns out
Hi Michelle Totally love this project but Im sorry the best part of this tutorial is your photo! Hahaha so cool! Thats exactly the look isnt it? U go girl ?
LOL, it’s a look I wear soooo well ? ? ? ?
I am just getting started.
I will get back to you.
Love it! I looked for affiliate link to the sticky tape that you use but didn’t see one. Can you tell me the brand and size you like best please? Thanks!
Hello Maggie, I don’t really have a preferred brand as long as it’s sticky it will work. I’ve even used duct tape when my sticky tape goes missing ? The sticky tape is the best thing to use to keep the wire from jumping all over the place while you’re tracing the picture.
I have never seen something similar! It is a very modern approach for a portrait… Very creative idea my friend 🙂
I wish I could say it was my idea, but it’s an art form that been practiced for ages. It sure is a lot of fun to do though ?
I absolutely loved this tutorial, Michelle! Art was one of my favourite subjects in school, but we never used wire. I’ve got a lot of craft wire at home and will refer to your post when I get started – great tips, by the way 🙂
I’m real glad you found it useful Jelica and I probably should have known that you took art too. You’re always so creative and your sense of proportion and color is always so beautiful
You make it look like a piece of cake Michelle, but I am sure it requires some serious skills like yours. It is divine and I would love to try something like this….
You’ll do it Maya, it’s really not difficult at all, you just need to follow the lines and stick it down ?
Michelle, you taught me some things about working with wire that I didn’t know. In fact, I don’t know much about working with wire period. The few projects I’ve done, were a struggle, so I must have used too heavy a gauge. I can’t believe you can crochet with it though! The Mozart is incredible! It actually looks like him! How long did it take you to do that?
Mmmmmmmmm, I didn’t actually time myself but I think the Mozart piccy took about 20 minutes to do Florence. In fact it took longer to put the frame together than actually bending the wire to create the portrait.
Woow! This is awesome, and so detailed, I almost feel like I can try it, although I am the least artistic person ever.. This would be really fun to do with the kids.
The kids will love it Samuel as long as you’re there to help them. Just make sure to watch those sharp wire edges and safety glasses is a must
You are very talented ! This is awesome, I’ve always fancied making my own wire art but haven’t got around to it yet. However, reading your post has inspired me to start.
?Thank you sooooo much Claire, that means a lot coming from you. I bet you’ll come up with the most amazingly beautiful designs
Hi there. I found you at the Boondocks blog. I’m always looking for new craft ideas to try and/or share. This is so unique. I shared it. Thanks for a great post.
Thank you so much for popping by for a visit and pin Cheryl. I’m really glad you liked the Mozart wire art, hope you have loads of fun playing with the idea ?
A really cool project Michelle, and Wolfgang is my favorite. You look so determined with your glasses on all ready to work. I certainly can see why you would need them too. And your hair is on point too!! Extra points for using music paper for the background! 😉
Rock on Wolfie, isn’t his music just so beautiful. Glad you like my oh so trendy look too Mary ?
You are extremely creative. It must be amazing to see your artwork come alive like this in wire art. Super cool
Thanks so much Elizabeth ?
Oh wow, this is awesome. What a fun and a great idea. I will definitely try doing this.
Glad you liked it Dana, have fun
This is really great, Michelle! Way better than the circle or boring rectangle that I could do. ? I like your sexy goggles…protecting your eyes is sexy!
Ahhh Sam, I’m sure you’ll be able to create more than a rectangle or a circle. Maybe you and Nikki can try a hamburger ?
LOL Michelle you are so funny! Looking good in your sexy glasses. I use wire in my jewelry making, and have thought of trying to make words but haven’t tried that yet. Never have thought of making any wall art. Very creative, and so cool!
? mmmmmmmm those glasses. You should see me when I’m painting miniatures and I wear my magnifying glasses, now that sexy ?
I almost spit my coffee onto the monitor when I saw the goggle pic – too funny! Oh my, if I attempted wire art they’d be hauling me out on a gurney. I recognized Mozart in your sketch right away and absolutely adore how you got him wired and placed he and his music in a frame. Brilliant! Pinned 🙂
? Love those sexy glasses of mine. Thanks so much for the pin Marie, much appreciate it
This is amazing to see wire art. I like the wire portrait of Mozart immensely . Another beautiful example of your creativity and with tips given by you even I can try this.
? Thanks so much Indu, I’m glad you like it and hope the tips do make it easier for you to try
Yes, I have seen some wire art before but this one is kind of unique and interesting too. Thanks for the great tips.
So happy you like it, thank you
Amazing! not only is your wire portrait of Mozart simply genius, but I appreciate that you gave us so many useful tips on how to get started with this technique. Thank you Michelle!
It’s a huge pleasure Nati, I’m so glad you found them useful ?
Good word! This is so freaking cool! I just got into string art, but wire art has a more distinct finishing look. One day I’ll work up to this!
Thanks so much Tiffany, if you enjoy doing string art then you’ll love playing with wire ?
Love the picture of you getting ready to create. You did an excellent job on Mozart. I have never really tried working with wire but now you have my creative juices thinking about it.
You’ll have loads of fun Debra and I’m sure you’ll make something amazing too
Your doodles look great as they are but wired up really really cool! I can only imagine trying to bend that kind of wire must be so tricky. Your selfie is the cutest!! 🙂
Ugh, me and cameras. I don’t mind being behind them but in front – ummmmmm nope ?
I saw Mozart at first sight, you did a great job and that’s a creative use for wire. Thanks for the tape trick, I’ve tried little things with wire and it got my nerves trying to manage it, so simple but effective. Also, the music sheets are a great addition, creative as always Michelle. You made me laugh with your selfie and brushing your hair, you are too funny.
I would never be able to create wire art without sticky tape. It’s a life saver in more ways than one ? and I’m so happy I could make you smile with that wild, bug eyed selfie.