Super Deal On Copper Wire for Making Polymer Clay Jewelry Findings

Home Depot Copper Wire “Home Depot! Who knew?? I’m really starting to get into the look of metals with polymer clay.” ~Jackie-B

Just a short post today because my power keeps going out and I have to write this using a back up battery. Thought I would let you know about this super deal I found on copper wire at my local Home Depot, Jewelry Making Supply Store ;-)

Pictured above, this spool of 20g copper wire is 164 feet (50 m) in length and was just under $10. That is only 6 cents a foot!

This means it will cost you approximately 3 or 4 cents to make two wire cord ends for your next necklace or bracelet. Less than a penny to make a hand full of jump rings. And around a dime for the metal to make an interchangeable pendant! Isn’t that awesome!

Home Depot! Who knew?? I’m really starting to get into the look of metals with polymer clay. Copper in particular is quite lovely when matched with the right design. Thanks for the post! ~Jackie-B

Cindy – Believe me, I do appreciate your cost-cutting tips. I agree that the supplies one needs for polymer clay projects probably cost a lot less than supplies for other crafts. My problem is that your videos are so great that I want to start on the latest technique right away, and I get frustrated if I can’t locate what I need as soon as I would like. Thanks for everything. ~Sherry-L

Hopefully you guys will be able to find this great of a deal on some copper wire in your local hardware store too. If you do, please come back to this post and leave a comment about where you found it. It will be helpful information for others who also use this site as a polymer clay resource.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


Comments

  1. Don’t bother with Menards. I went there yesterday, and they had some 24 gauge copper wire (100 feet for $8) but nothing else! I was surprised. Maybe it’s just this store, but it’s a pretty poor selection there. I’ll try Lowe’s the next time.

  2. Unable to get to any stores this weekend. The roads have been shut down due to the storm which is supposed to last all weekend. Maybe I’ll just stay in and try and play with my jewelry. Or renovate. Whatever.

  3. I found the wire in the small hardware area where they have picture wire. Right at the end of the row. You could probably ask customer service to look it up on the computer if you can’t find it.

    Wow aims, snowed in already! Sounds cozy to me!

  4. Lowe’s is another great place to get copper wire – they also carry coated copper wire which I’ve used for some wire art projects. If you ever need gold filled or sterling wire, I can direct you to my sources. Over the past several years as a wire artist I have researched and have found the best wires at the best prices. I’m working backwards from many of you. I started with wire – toot my horn: I’ve even won some awards for my work – and just now (since hubby died) I have started working with polymer clay and it is a natural with the wire work. I’m looking forward to learning more and more as I watch Cindy’s great videos. Isn’t she a fantastic teacher?!!!!

    • Hello, I’ve just started about two months ago making rosaries out of metal wire eyelets. I have trouble because I want to make my own but I want them to meet at be made out of a material that won’t stain or discolor. I’m having a heck of a time because every craft store around my town only carry eyelets and head pins that change color or stain. I was thinking about making my own eyelets and head pins but I’ve looked at so many places and I could not find the right kind of wire either it’s too soft or it’s too hard. I just now yesterday found out that the tool that I use, the looping tool takes 18 gauge to 24 gauge wire. I want my finished products to be very strong because I also make bracelets and necklaces. is it cheaper to make my own eyelets or to just go ahead and buy them as I go already made?I just turned 41 years old and I cannot for the life of me believe that I just found out about how great beating is for your mental state and stress level. My question is what kind of wire do I use to make my own eyelets and headpins I know it should be half hard wire that’s probably 18 gauge because that’s the biggest that it takes. with the tool that I’m using it’s a looping tool that cuts and makes the loop which I guarantee all of you out there know about. Is there a such thing as full hard wire or 3/4 hard wire? If you can answer all these questions I’m sorry I just don’t have anybody to ask. Thank you have a great day.

      • Hi David, by eyelet, I am assuming you mean eyepin since you were also talking about headpins. Eyelets are basically just small grommets, which are quite different.

        When you’re making eyepins and head pins, you need to use a soft enough wire that can be bent into a nice round loop but is hard enough that it doesn’t easily come undone. Also you need to account for the hole size of the bead that you want to string onto the pin. I like to use 20 gauge half hard wire, then if I want them to be even stronger I tumble them in a rock tumbler with some steel shot, which not only work hardens the wire but also polishes them up.

        If you do a google search for half hard wire, you will find there are all kinds of different places you can order the wire from, in every kind of metal there is. You could use hard wire in heavier gauges like 18 but they are going to be difficult to cut and form and could be very hard on your tools. You’ll find 20 gauge will fit inside most of your beads, including crystals but is thick enough to never break.

        Hope that helps!

  5. Wire, wire! Don’t forget my earlier post where I told you about making friends with the “local” electrician. They have all kinds of wire they just throw away. They might be pieces 4-5″ or several feet long. “Cuttings” from wiring a house or something! Offer to clean the job site for in exchange for keeping the wire! It works!

  6. Thank you girls for the great comments!

    @Tina: That sure would be nice to have your husband work there. Would be very handy!

    @Carolyn: Thank you, you are so sweet! I would love to see some pictures of your polymer clay wire work sometime.

    @Brenda: That is such an excellent idea! Wish I knew some electricians. My only source so far has been my parents, Doug’s parents and my brother who have all done some small electrical jobs around the house. Would be great to get wire in a variety of sizes, but I am grateful for what they have given me!

  7. Check out Brandywine Jewelry Supply online. Their prices are very reasonable and you can get different gauges as well as square, round, soft half-hard copper wire. They also have silver, aluminum & brass.

  8. For color coated copper wire go to Paramount Wire on the web. They have great colors in all sizes. They are my #1 source for color coated copper wire. Besides using this wire to make wire wrapped jewelry, I also use it to make my own colored jump rings. I plan to use this colored wire to coordinate with the primary colors in my lentil beads to make pendants. I’m new to polymer clay but have been making wire jewelry and gift items for several years – even won some awards.

    After my husband died in April, I thought my creativity died with him. Then I was introduced to polymer clay and I’m off and running again. Cindy’s videos are helping me so much in learning this new art form. Thanks, Cindy, for your inspiration!

  9. Thanks DonniesO and Carolyn for posting your wire sourcing tips. I and many other readers appreciate your input. And Carolyn, I’m so glad to hear that my videos are such an inspiration for you.

  10. I”ve been using copper wire recently which I bought thru Rio Grande. My Lowes has a very limited supply, but I will check Home Depot. I love to oxidize my copper with liver of sulphur. You don’t get the range of color with copper that you get with sterling silver, but with a light hand, it’s very pretty.

  11. Hey Cindy I wanted to tell you that I went to Home Depot to get some copper wire and they do not sell it any longer in the small spool (as you showed) , anymore. I will have to try Lowe’s or Hobby Lobby now. Walmart did not even carry it, and this is the Super Walmart too! I can also try Ace Hardware they may carry it. Anywho I just thought I would tell you about that . Lynn Watts

    • HI Lynn
      I was just checking out were to buy copper wire.I found 50ft roll at my Ace Hardware at $6.29..thats about 15 cents a foot..not to bad..I do have to harden it but I have to get a mallad…wil the copper wire turn color? Is there anything I have to do to condition it to prevent that? Its 20 gauge which is what I wanted to make my own looped pins for my focal and other beads.
      Natalie Herbin

      • Hi Natalie, sounds like you got an awesome deal! Some wire from the hardware store has a bit of a coating or finish on it that seems to prevent it from tarnishing, but most of it will eventually change color over time. Personally I like it when it darkens, even purposely darken it with Liver of Sulfur. But if you prefer it to stay bright, you can coat the wire with a thin layer of wax (renaissance wax or a paste wax work), or you can spray it with PYMII. For more info and tutorials on using those products, just type them into the search box at the top of the page and you will find lots of stuff that will help.

  12. Thanks for the updates Gals. This is great information to have posted here. For Rose and Lynn, if you could post what city you are from like Peggy did, that would be great too. Even though stores like Home Depot are national chains, it appears they often have varying selections from region to region.

  13. Sorry about that Cindy, I live in Knoxville,Tennessee. The guy said they used to sell it but they stopped. I looked in the picture isle as well, then ask the employee and that is when I found out . They had the BIG spools of copper wire for houses and things of that nature, but not the small stuff. If I can not find it in my area, I will just look online. Thanks Lynn Watts

  14. Rio Grande is an online jewelry supply company. I don’t think their prices are unreasonable although probably more than a hardware store. I usually like to order enough to control shipping costs. I also bought some copper chain thru them. I live in Indianapolis, In & the only copper I found at my local Lowes in a heavier gauge was coated. I have weak, arthritic hands, so prefer to buy wire ready to use.

  15. I went to the Home Depot in Rutland, VT. It’s a bit smaller than other HD’s I’ve been to, so they don’t always have the same stock as the stores in more heavily-populated areas.

    Anyway, I went looking for 14 gage copper wire and could only find it with the black plastic coating. It was so cheap (20 cents/foot) that I bought 3 feet to see how hard it would be to remove the plastic with hubby’s wire stripper tool. It’s a lot of work, which I wouldn’t mind doing in front of the TV, but every time I use the tool to score the plastic I end up nicking the copper. I tried using a larger gage on the tool, but it wouldn’t score the plastic. Does anyone have a tip for this?

    I also got some uncovered, twisted copper wire at 32 cents/foot. I’m not sure of the size of the individual strands or how many there are, but the final product is 18 gage. It’s really very pretty and it would make a nice bezel, but I think you’d have to bury the ends in the clay or they would untwist. I suppose if you wanted to use it for a clasp or other finding you could use crimp beads on it.

  16. An excellent and very reasonable wire company on the web is parawire.com – they have tarnish resistant copper as well as every color of the rainbow in all sorts of sizes. I really think they are even cheaper than buying copper wire at a hardware type store. I’d highly recommend the coated wire – doesn’t tarnish. I’ve used it for years with excellent results. I’ve made colored jump rings from their wire and have won a couple awards for my work with them – as well as these bracelets and necklaces being sold in a local jewelry store. I have also used various parawire wires for wrapping stones that I have found while out rock hunting – and for sand dollars that I found on the Pacific coast. Do check out this site. I am in no way connected with them except for being a satisfied customer. They also have tarnish resistant copper core sterling wire that is fabulous.

    • Hi carolyn, I went to check out Parawire, and boy, do they have a lot of wire. That non-tarnish silver-coated sounds wonderful. The prices look really good, too. But I couldn’t find pricing/ordering info on the “black” annealed steel wire; it’s on a different part of the site. Am I overlooking something? Or do I just have to deal with them by email to get pricing? In your dealings with them, do they charge much for shipping? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me! You are awesome, Carolyn!

      • @Phaedrakat: I have dealt with them thru email and via phone. Nice guys! I guess I didn’t think their shipping was unreasonable (considering the weight of wires I’ve bought) or I would not have done business with them. I, too, think twice – or three times – about the shipping costs before placing a web order. I also try to get everything I might need (want) from a web company all at one time – this does save on shipping costs. Then when I think I’ve got it all down, I wait a day or two and think about it before actually placing the order.

        • @carolyn: Smart strategy! I’m going to have to use it. I love the “safety wait” you do before ordering (helps to stay away from impulse buys.) Thanks for telling me about these guys & letting me know they’re good to deal with. I’ll email and get some pricing information and go from there! Thanks again!

  17. I’ve been pretty lucky finding wire in Home Depot, West Palm Beach, Fl. It looks like the wire Cindy is showing. Its in the solder dept. and the picture hanging wire dept. of the store. I bought 2 rolls of copper wire. One is very hard and strong and the other one is thicker but softer. The other one is silver colored. I had a beautiful blackish colored one but I had to bring it back because it kept breaking. I also like buying chains and I take the links apart to put in pendants. I have them in black, gold tone and silver. I wasn’t so lucky with the O-rings or washers. for the extruder flower canes. I have every size I could find in the store but none of them worked. Too bad for the extruder flower cane. Hope this helps someone………Honey

  18. @Lynn: Copper wire is easy to find online. You probably will have to get it there, if you can’t find it in your local hardware store.

    @Rose: Thanks for the resource. That is very helpful!

    @Linda K: The problem with using wire strippers for removing the plastic from the wire, is that it is meant to help electricians who could care less if there were nicks in the wire. The better way to do it if you’re using the wire for jewelry, is to use an Exacto knife. If you don’t know how to do that, I have posted a free video on stripping wire in another post. Click the link by my name.

    @carolyn: Thank you too for the resource! The more options for finding wire, the better!

    @Helen: Thanks for the info. It does help! Too bad about the o-rings. If I find a source online, then I will let you know.

  19. @Cindy: Thanks for the link to the video. I knew I had seen it somewhere, but couldn’t remember where! I’ll try that out today.

    @Carolyn: Thank you for the website to the wire supplier. I’ve got it in my favorites and will use it when I’m ready to buy in bulk. How do their colored wires hold up to your tools? I’ve had some colored wire from the craft store that lost it’s coating as soon as I touched it with a tool, even with the gentlest touch.

    @Helen Sperring: Yes, I wanted to go to the picture hanging department, but I ran out of time that day. I’m going to town today, so I’ll be sure to check it out. I lived just outside of Boston all my life and retired to Vermont four years ago–I’m still trying to get used to the challenges of trying to shop in a rural setting :)

    • @Linda K.: The only color that I have ever had to treat gently is blue. All the other colors (and I have the full spectrum) have held up to being wound on mandrels, cut with a jewelers saw, and being formed with pliers. I’ve used this wire for several years and have never had a complaint from anyone who purchased one of my pieces, be it a pendant, necklace or bracelet. I do have one silver link bracelet that I have worn day and night for about six years. Just recently I noticed that the silver is starting to wear off and the underlying copper is showing. But I’d say with six years of 24/7 wear it is very durable.

      BTW: When using colored wires, ‘paint’ the cut ends with a matching colored marker, unless the ends will be hidden as they are with jump rings. You don’t want that copper showing on the finished piece. This would work if there is an occasional mar on the wire, too.

      If you are having trouble with working colored wire, use some of that fine sandpaper around the edges of your pliers. Make sure they are just slightly rounded on the edges. I have wonderful pliers (Lindstrom) and still I check and sand them periodically.

  20. Ooops! Sorry for my previous comment!

    @carolyn: Thanks for the tool tips, but I am soooo jealous of your Lindstom pliers. I’ve had them in my “shopping cart” for over a year now at Fire Mountain. I’m on disability, so my dream tools are going to have to wait. I figure food & housing are more important. (But, oh, to have those pliers–especially a pair of the bent-chain nose…Okay, better stop, starting to drool.)

    @Linda K.: (Jan. 5 comment), I also purchase that multiple-strand, twisted copper wire (18 gauge, or so.) I haven’t used it yet, but thought it was very pretty. I had been searching my local Riverside, CA Home Depot–aisle by aisle, in the store-provided motorized cart. After over an hour with no luck, I was determined to buy SOMETHING! So, I bought the pretty, twisted copper…

    I also ended up finding some steel wire in a couple of gauges (can always use,) and a few feet of their thinnest steel cable (about 16-18 gauge.) I haven’t tried using the cable yet, either. But I think it would look great strung with a couple of masculine, (as in “non-dainty,”) polymer clay beads.

    Thanks everyone, for the great tips for buying wire online! Still, if anyone finds a place I can buy cheap in Riverside/Southern Calif., I would love to hear about it!

    Thank you, Cindy, for this wonderful community you’ve built! I just love being able to access all of this fantastic information, not only from you but from other really helpful people, as well!

  21. I guess no one has “come around” this page lately. I’m hoping to find some local anodized (black) steel wire — I was only able to find the galvanized kind at Home Depot. Anyone have any luck finding the “black” steel anywhere in the Inland Empire, or even Southern California? If not, I guess I’ll have to just place another order online. (It’s silly, but shipping charges REALLY bother me.) I’m also still looking for a good “local” deal on copper (like Cindy shows at the top of the page.)

  22. Color coated copper wire tip: The cut ends always show the underlying copper. Dabbing the ends with a same color marker makes that copper disappear. I use Pentel Color Pens. This was brought back to my mind as I did the color coated copper wire wrapping on the calla lily set that I just posted (under What’s New) on my website. It’s also on my blog in case you might want to comment on it … dovedesigns.blogspot[dot]com.

    • @carolyn: Hi Carolyn, I took a look at your Calla Lily set – very beautiful! Great tip about using a color marker/paint pen, etc to hide the copper insides of colored wire. When you create something beautiful, it’s important to make sure all the little details are completely finished. This is a very good way to do that! Thanks! BTW, I love all the pretty things cropping up over at your blog…

      • @Phaedrakat: Thanks! It is kind of like a Spring Garden on my Dove Designs blog, isn’t it! And here I sit in mounds of snow. There’s almost 2 feet of snow on my roof – sure hope some of that melts off before we get another storm. And the ice at the eaves is 6-8″ thick. That’s a lot of weight on the roof. No wonder I think of Spring Gardens – it is much more pleasant!

  23. I remember this discussion about copper wire. I searched Lowe’s in Philadelphia (couldn’t find it at HD) and I found (in the area where picture-hanging wire was stored) “anchor wire.” As for copper wire, they only had 18 ga packaged in a 25 foot length for $4.58. images.lowes.com/product/converted/008236/008236181579lg.jpg . Hmmmm, 18¢ per foot; a little expensive to buy it this way, and no selection of sizes.

    I did a little searching, and these folks are a possibility for those of us who want to buy more than just a beginner’s length of wire:
    wesbellwireandcable.comBare_Tinned_Copper.html

    I’m interested in different gauges, so I did some “shopping” (adding and removing from the cart, so I could see how much shipping would cost!). For instance, 100 feet of 18 ga (this is soft-drawn copper, BTW) costs $16.75. Adding the $5.31 for UPS Ground, the total is $22.06. OK: 22¢ per foot. More expensive per foot than I paid (not incl. tax). Now, 500 feet of 18 ga is $37.00 (.074¢ per foot). Adding in shipping of $6.05, total is $43.05, or .0861¢ per foot. Even cheaper at 1000 feet, but I don’t think that I could possibly use that much.

    Just some ideas!

      • @carolyn:

        Yes, I live in Philly. ::sigh::

        I know a couple of Kens, but no one with a last name starting with H (that I can remember, LOL). Does he have copper wire to spare? 8^D

        • @Sharon B.: Wish I would have known about you a month ago. I was in Philly visiting my son and his family. While there I got in touch with Ken H. who is a member of this blog. We had a great day together. It would have been fun having you with us also. It is always thrilling when PC artists get together. Ken also makes fantastic faux jade! Don’t know if he has any wire to spare. I know that I looked for 10 gauge copper while I was there. I can’t seem to get it here … and couldn’t find it there either … went to Home Depot and Lowe’s.

          • @carolyn: Sharon I’m so sorry, if I had of known there was another Philly Clayer you would have been most welcome to join us. On the heaver gauge wire, go to the electrical section and get some electrical wiring, I have a bit of 12g copper, but I had to strip it. I’m not a handyman type, I think it is called romex or something like that, and the best thing of all is that there is three wires inside, so if you buy x feet of wiring you get x ft times 3 of copper to use for jewelry.

          • @Ken H: I have quite a bit of this type of wire. Once the outer covering is removed you’ll have 1 bare, 1 black, 1 cream colored wire. I just used the cream colored to make a bail for the orange and cream pendant. I’ll photo it and post it on Cindy’s Facebook so you can see.

  24. Thanks Natalie for the info. Cindy knows how to get color on the wire. And I am sure she has a tute for that as well.

  25. Hi,

    I’ve been trying to find out if I can hammer this for hardening and to splay out the ends like with silver wire. Will those kind of techniques work for this copper wire? My apologies if this is already mentioned somewhere!

    Thanks!

    Krithika

    • Hi Krithika, yes you can do all the wire techniques with this wire that you would do with any half hard wire. It will splay out when hammered, but since it is half hard and not dead soft, it will take a few more hits and it a little harder to get to spread out than a softer wire is. It is perfect for head pins and eye pins though!

  26. Hi Cindy.. Hope everything is good. I’m a huge fan of yours really your polymer clay tutoring and jewels are awesome. I inspired by you and learning myself through your tutorials. Here I have a doubt regarding wire. Which wire I have to use for inserting in hole which is used to hang in. Then which cord is used for stringing beads. It’s a kind of rope I don’t know . Please clarify it .
    Thanks,
    Uma

    • Hi Uma, that is a pretty tricky question since you can make the hole just about any size and can use just about any cord. The wire size I use the most for wiring beads is 20 gauge, so I make sure the hole is at least that size. Then I drill it larger if I am using a larger cording or thread to string them. Maybe do a search on this blog or Google or Pinterest or something to see if you can answer your question better. Good luck!

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