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How do you store your wire?

It’s a new year, it’s time I tidied up my extremely messy work
bench. I receive my silver wire orders loosely rolled and in a
plastic bag. That’s how they stay, scattered over my bench. How do
you store your wire? Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Lorraine Allan
G&S Lampwork

I use a plastic file box with hanging file folders. Works great.

John Fetvedt

Hi… on the subject of storing wire:

This is very unique. Years ago (lets say 35+ years ago) when the
corporation I was working for got rid of the old computers that had
the big round cases for the computer discs, I was able to convince
management that I could use the cases to store all my silver wire. I
have enough cases for round, square, triangle wire, etc. They are
stacked and labeled and are off the bench.

I store my solder wire in the gallon plastic bags and have them
labeled also. My studio has metal shelf units where I have many items
stacked in plastic see-through shoe boxes; items such as, cuttle
bone, epoxy, masks, wax, carved tufa stone, etc. I got the shoe box
idea from a former student.

Rose Marie Christison

Hi folks…I store my wire, coiled, in an accordion file. The kind
with 31 compartments each having been marked for shape and gauge. I
use a total of 3 files and they keep the wire easily identifiable.
Available at any office supply store.


Hi Lorraine,

I’m a very messy person, but surprisingly (probably because I do
everything at my bench: cutting, forming, soldering, pickling,
filing, polishing, ultrasonic, setting) I can’t stand a messy bench.

I, like you have my different gauges of wire loosely coiled in
plastic bags marked with the gauge. That’s how they arrive and that’s
how they stay, like yours. But I do keep them in a draw. I have a
sort of “work in progress” draw which contains obviously work in
progress, plus different grades of sheet, wire, jump rings I’ve made,
etc, etc. Also little pots of gems I intend to make into something or
that someone has given me. It’s a bit of a messy drawer but I know
where everything is.

When I finish for the night I have to put all my tools away so that
I know exactly where they are and so that none of my children nor my
husband are tempted to just “borrow” a pair of pliers or the like
and forget to return it! My eldest son just can’t seem to help
himself. If he walks past my bench, he has to pick something up and
fiddle! He’s 21 but has the fiddling habits of a small child!

All my tools are in specific drawers too so I can lay my hand on
anything at any given time.


I store my wire and sheet in plastic bags identifying their guage.
So, I have a couple of messy drawers identifying my metal.

jennifer friedman

Acordian folder for bills, large one, made of plastic, office supply


I use the heavy brown paper 30-day accordion folders sold at office
supply stores. One for wire and one for sheet.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hi Lorraine,

How do you store your wire? Your suggestions will be greatly

I’ve been using expandable file folders that are closed on all sides
except the top. I use 1 folder for each size/type of wire. I put the
wire in a plastic bag before placing it in the file folder. A
description of the contents is written on the front of each folder.
The All the folders are stored in an old brief case.

The brief case makes it handy to put the wire supply away or to take
it with you if you’ve got a class to attend or teach.


try ordering your wire in straight pieces. stuller puts it in twelve
inch tubes which are great for storage. I order wire in twelve inch
straight pieces.

I took a tool from my husbands work area, I tried to find a picture
on the Home Depot but no luck so I will try to describe:

I use a peg hook board that is just one board around 3 feet long
with long wooden dowel rods that are made to go into the holes. (It
was used to hang rakes and such in the garage) I then hung it
vertical behind my door and I hang my loose silver wire on the pegs.
Most of my wire is on spools so they fit nicely. The ones that are
not, I used a long board hung horizontal and put metal hooks to hold
the wire in baggies.

Hope this made sense,

Tina in Texas
CreatedWithFire Studio’s


For me, putting it all in a drawer was a disaster. I had to pull
everything out to find anything.

Not a ton better than your method, I put them in the zip-lock
freezer bags on receipt and mark the outside of the bag with the
contents and I use duck tape to put over the center top of the bag
and outside edge on the ones that hold plate. I use one of the little
single hole paper punches to place a hole in the center top of the
bag through the bag and duck tape. I put a long finishing nail in a
piece of plywood and hang them there. I have one nail for round,
square, half round smaller pieces of plate and gallery/bezel wire.
Since adding Argentium and some base metals, I am up to about a half
sheet of plywood now. I still put the larger sheets of plate bagged
and in the drawer but I put a piece of paper in the bag on the hook
indicting it is there, I found if I don’t, I forget and buy more, not
good with today’s market prices.

Also, you might want to put some of those little tarnish strips in
the bag, I think 3M makes them.


Hi, I bought one of those cheap rubbermaid clear plastic containers
with drawers, they usually come with 3, and I use each drawer for
different shaped wire; round, square, etc… Also, for some reason
the wire,(I work with silver) doesn’t really tarnish. Good luck. I
too hate all of those plastic bags.

Lauren Stineman

canisters that are used for storing film for projection work well…

I store my wire a hanging file folder plastic box with jackets in
the file holder

Dear Lorraine,

I have found a very simple and organized way to store wire and even
sheet. Go to your local office supply store and pick up those
monthly file folders- the ones that have 13 dividers for monthly
bills- 8.5 x11" size; not the ones for cancelled checks. I label each
monthly divider with progressive gauges instead of the months. I use
one folder for round wire, one folder for square wire, one for
half-round and double half-round, one for pattern wire, and even one
for sterling and Argentium silver sheet. These folders will fit
neatly under a workbench or compactly in a safe.

Simple and obvious, but it works- especially for the packrat in all
of us.

Ruthie Cohen
Mountain Metalsmiths School of Jewelry & Lapidary

Hello Lorraine,

You asked how I store my silver wire. I use some of those cheap
plastic stackable drawer cases (3 drawers/case). I mark the plastic
bags the wire comes in with the gauge, wire type, material, etc. Each
labeled drawer contains a single type of wire, ie. round, half-round,
gallery, etc. The bags of wire are laid flat, one on top of the
other, in order of gauge no less (did I say I was anal??). I always
know where to find whatever I’m looking for, unless I failed to put
it away.

There. Oh yes, the drawers are stacked on top of my polishing
machine, so they are accessible, yet out of the way.

Judy in Kansas, where the weekend has been absobloominitly lovely.

Hello Lorraine,

How about hand towel rollers? They can mount on the wall, and keep
your wire sorted by gauge. When you need wire, just pull. Personally,
I keep my wire on thread spools. (Not enough wall space or hand towel
holders available!)

A beautiful 68 degrees today, had the front and back doors open.

Hi Lorraine, I purchased a couple of expanding folders, the sort that
are used for filing paperwork. different diameters and different
profiles in separate partitions, and there is already a tab for
writing details on. Also easy to pick up to put in the safe, and BTW,
this was a tip i read on Orchid a couple of years ago!

cheers, Christine in Sth Australia

Lorraine, i use round tins as are available from auto audio
installation firms. they are generally given free and come in sizes
for all speakers - so from 6" diameter to 20" and some are imprinted
with the onkyo brand…they make it easy to coil and keep the wire
stored airtight so that you can place 3m’s anti-tarnish strips inside
the containers and save time in removing it later…works well for me-
I detest the appearance of plastic bags and have so many filing
cabinets taking up room that I can’t bear to even clear out the ones
that have been accumulating paper and ephemera since only 2005
(hurricane Katrina helped me rid myself of 30+ years of paperwork so
it’s a relative downhill battle though as paperwork is prolific in
itself!) to add wire or dedicate one to its storage seems strange to
me- as i prefer to keep it coiled if small, and straight if large (in
screen printing fabric or masque tubes)…and anti-tarnish strips are
my friend so a closed container is apropos. rer