Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fiber Wire: How it's done

I had someone ask me how fiber wire is made so I decided to write a post about the steps involved in making it.  

1.  Materials include 24 gauge copper wire, something to hold the wire such as the mini spools you can get it on in some of your craft stores.  I will include a picture of this at a later time when there is enough daylight out to take pics.  Also, you will need a spinning wheel of course and the fiber you plan to spin.  (It is easiest to spin fiber wire from a batt FYI)

2.  Take the string attached to the bobbin and tie a loop on the end.

3.  Pull the wire through the loop and bend it about an inch over and twist it together manually with your hands.

4.  Begin to core-spin the fiber onto the string right above where the wire begins making sure you are ONLY holding on the the string.  At this point you are trying to generate twist in the string only and get fiber on the string area right above where the wire begins.  

5.  Once you have some fiber on your string, you can either push some of it down onto the wire or once you do this enough, you can just go on spinning onto the wire.  Make sure you do NOT hold the wire tightly when spinning onto it.  The wire should be held loosely enough to twist in your hand as you are spinning the fiber onto it; continue to core-spin your fiber onto the wire.

6.  Make sure the wire bobbin you are using does not touch the ground or get caught on anything because any time the wire stops twisting in your hand while the wheel is turning, the actual wire will get a knot in it from twisting and may break.  The smaller the gauge of wire being used, the more likely the wire will break if this occurs.  You must then continue this method by spinning some fiber onto the wire, then wrapping the wire onto the spinning wheel bobbin somewhat manually, then letting out more wire, etc. until you either want to stop and cut the wire or you run out of course.

7.  Once you reach the end, spin the fiber on all the way to the end, then fold the wire over about an inch as you did in the beginning and spin more wire onto this area so there is a somewhat nubby looking thing on the end.  (This will be cut off eventually.)

8.  Felt the wire by having a bucket of very hot water and very cold water next to each other and dipping the wire back and forth in each.  It helps if you put lots of ice cubes in the cold water because you will find that when you go back and forth, the hot water will cause the cold water to not be so cold very also helps the other way around if you try to poor out and replace more hot water in the hot water bucket.

Here are some pictures of the batt I made this fiber wire from:

Here is a picture of the wheel I used to spin on, (I use a Louet S10):

And finally here is a picture of where I got my inspiration from for the colors I used in this batt/fiber wire; these are beads made by Genea and Staci in collaborative sets composed of glass and poly clay:

I hope this helps and is clear enough for those of you interested in making fiber wire!  I will try to take some pics of some of the things I'm talking about to make this more clear.  If anyone has questions, please don't hesitate to ask!  =)

Here's something I've made with fiber wire...=)


  1. I am so excited about your fiber wire and even more excited that you made some to match Staci and my beads!! I love that you took some step by step photos and showed your inspiration! I'm so glad we inspired you to create a wonderful piece in your medium! xo Genea

  2. Thanks Genea, as you know, I just think the colors you guys did are amazing and I couldn't resist making something fiber related in one of the colorways you guys did. I love using bright and vibrant colors as you and Staci also seem to be very fond of, so it's no surprise I have found inspiration in the beautiful work you both have done! =)

  3. This is fabulous -- thanks for the explanation of how to do it.

  4. That's so cool! What do you make with the fiber wire?

    1. Fiber wire can be used for a number of things, just use your imagination..some ideas might be for jewelry, (some people just wrap a little piece of the wire around the end to make a bangle bracelet), making a little basket, or other cool figures..I will post a little fiber wire house I made..which is actually on my google profile picture as well. =)

  5. you know this is a really stellar development - i love the fiber wire! you took amazing and made it amazinger (yes, in your case, this is a word)
    thanks so much for the walk through - it gives us a full appreciation of what you are doing - the time and skill it takes...
    and i love your little house -

  6. Hi Eleanor, Thanks for the invite to your blog it's awesome!! I was so excited to see that you had a posting on fiber wire. I just spun some fiber this week and made some beautiful coiled beads. I am new to spinning and I can't sponge up enough inspiration. I am curious if felting the fiber wire in your instructions allow you to cut the sire without the fiber unraveling??? I have been steaming the fiber wire and it doesn't seem to be always enough. Thanks for the beautiful pics and step by steps. I am off to your etsy store!!

    Thanks, Cindi

    1. Hey there, thanks so much for the compliments..=) Felting the fiber wire in the way I mentioned should prevent the fiber from unraveling..although I'm not sure how thick or thin you spin the fiber onto the wire..the thicker areas will be more likely to unravel if you cut the wire there, even after felting, so try to cut in at the thinner areas if you spin the fiber this way. =)

  7. This is an awesome tutorial. I'm totally inspired to go home tonight and try it!

  8. Thank you so much for describing the fiber wire spinning process. I have no idea what I would use the spun wire for but it looks so cool and I will be running out to my local hardware store to buy copper wire right away!

  9. This is amazingly helpful and what I was looking for! Thank you so much for explaining it. I can't wait to give it a try.