I am often asked “Are beading wire and regular wire the same thing?” or, “Can I use the enameled coated wire to string a necklace? Will it drape?”
The answer to all of these questions is no. Beading wire and regular(or shaping) wire are not the same thing. Shaping wire will not flow and drape like beading wire will. Much of the confusion between these two products comes from the very general term of “wire” and the lack of descriptive words used to differentiate the two in most shopping environments.
Beading wire is a stranded and coated draping wire most commonly used for stringing bracelets, necklaces, and anklets. It is terminated with a loop that is crimped with a special bead or tube and a pair of crimping pliers.
“Regular” wire is a solid shaping wire used to create all manner of stiff, formed items such as earwires, jumprings, clasps, and more.
Both types of wire are used in jewelry making, and they are not interchangeable. Shaping wire will not replace stringing wire for a beaded necklace unless you drastically change your fabrication approach.
Likewise, stringing wire will not work to create a shaped bangle, since the only shape it will hold is a very sharp crimped bend (and it usually won’t hold that firmly, only as a kink in the wire).
Yes, you can technically “string” beads onto shaping wire and you can “shape” stringing wire with clever use of weaving, but when it comes right down to it, they are very different beasts of the jewelry making jungle, so hunt accordingly 😉