Florist Wire Gauge Explained
For today’s Tip Tuesday video, we’re talking all about florist wire gauge! If you’re new to wreathmaking, it can definitely be overwhelming to decide what kind of wire you should be using. There are different types of wire for different situations and most of them also come in different gauges. So stick around and I’ll try and make some sense of it all for you!
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What Are the Different Types of Florist Wire?
Florist Wire is separated into two major categories: Stem Wire and Paddle wire.
Paddle wire is sold on a paddle or a spool, and is measured and sold by weight. You will typically find more color options with paddle wire than with stem wire – especially during the holidays.
Some of them even come with a cutter right on the spool so you don’t have to try and mess around with wire cutters while both hands are already busy! I love using that kind for when I’m wrapping stems around a wire frame. I think it’s just so much easier!
Stem wire is cut into straight pieces and sold by length, usually 18″. It is usually a plain green wire, but you can also get it pre-wrapped in a white or brown fabric.
Fabric wrapped wire is great for securing foam to your project because it will not cut through the foam as easily as an unwrapped wire.
For the most part, I use stem wire in my projects. I find it more convenient having them already cut and laying flat. It just saves me some time from having to unwrap, straighten, and then cut every piece of wire I use.
Those are the main kinds of wire, but there are a couple other ones you may come across as well that are great for different situations.
Roping wire is a thicker wire that is wrapped in a type of brown paper to make it look like grapevine. It’s great for securing additional items to a grapevine wreath, or making a loop hanger for the back of a grapevine wreath.
Bind wire is another paper wrapped wire that is not as common in the wreath making industry but is very popular with florists. It is a thinner, paper-wrapped wire that is good for securing stems together, tying bows, securing ornaments, etc.
Note: if you decide to use bind wire, make sure to leave the tape on, and pull from the inside of the coil. Otherwise the whole thing will unravel and make a big mess!
Decorative Aluminum Wire – In the video, I show a big coil of fuchsia wire, but you can find it in lots of colors. I typically only use this for decorating and adding a pop of color to my arrangements. Things like wrapping ornament toppers, or wrapping the stems of a bouquet.
What Florist Wire Gauge Should I Use?
First, let’s go over what gauge is – the thickness of the wire. Most packages will have a number on them between 16 and 32. There’s no hard and fast rule about what gauge to use for what purpose. All you really need to know is:
The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire. The thinner the wire, the higher the gauge.
Let’s start with the high gauges and work our way down.
The binding wire we talked about doesn’t have a gauge written on it’s package. (Mine, anyway. But who knows how long I’ve had this.) But I’m estimating it to be about a 28 gauge. That’s very thin, which makes it very flexible. But it also makes it easier to get bent out of the shape you wanted it.
Most paddle wires are going to be about a 24 gauge.
My favorite is 22 gauge. It’s pretty thin, so it’s nice and flexible, which makes it pretty versatile. But it’s also thick enough that if you have fat fingers, or even arthritis, it’s still pretty easy to hold onto.
The 20 gauge and the 18 gauge are next, and now we’re getting to a point where if you bend one of them in a certain way, that’s how it’s going to stay. It takes a little more effort to bend them, but they’re definitely not going anywhere. I like to use these for adding ornaments and things to my wreaths because it’s nice and sturdy and I’m not worried about it getting loose.
The lowest gauge that I usually have is the 16 gauge. If you watch me playing with the 16 gauge in the video, you can tell it’s pretty stiff. It takes a good amount of effort to bend it. I definitely would not use a 16 for something like tying a bow, because you’re never going to be able to get it tight enough without really twisting up the ribbon.
I do like the 16 gauge for things that need some stability. Like if I wanted to have an ornament sticking up at the top of an arrangement upside down, or even if I want to wrap a floral stem and have it stay bent in a certain direction.
The decorative aluminum wire is a 12 gauge.
I hope this has been a helpful Tip Tuesday! Watch the video if you’d like to see the different wires that I have been talking about and how well they bend. Let me know in the comments if there’s a specific Tip Tuesday video you’d like to see and I’ll see you next week!
Craft Tip Tuesday Video – Florist Wire Gauge
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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
How to Make a Hanger on the Back of a Wreath
How to Use an Electric Skillet Glue Pan
How to Correctly Insert Flower Stems Into a Grapevine Wreath
Where do you get the mesh dreams at?
Very informative. I’m getting excited to try one of the deco mesh wreaths. Mahalo
Very helpful! Now I know the higher the gauge the thinner the wire. Thank you. Nancy A-G