Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Stainless steel wire question

I am in the process of making a series of brooches and am thinking
about making the pin backs out of stainless steel wire.

I have always made them out of sterling up till now but sometimes
they don’t hold up well so am going to try using steel for its
strength and springiness.

But I don’t live in the U. S. (here in Mexico I have not been able
to find it in less than 1 kilo weight rolls) and a friend is
traveling there soon and can buy me some but I don’t know where to
tell her to buy it. She can`t carry a huge, heavy roll due to weight
restrictions so where do you buy yours?

I have looked on line at Home depot, Ace, and Rio, but not what I
think I need in small amounts.

And any comment about what you think about using stainless for the
pin part are welcome.

My brooch series is enamel on copper and silver set in sterling
silver settings.

I am thinking of the double pin style setting.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Sharron, in central Mexico where the weather has been warming up.

Sharon- Try an auto parts store. I’ve used what is called stainless
safety wire.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Hi Shaaron,

Hmmm, central Mexico? so who uses stainless wire? my 1st thought is
your nearest industrial area where there will be a welding supply co
servicing all the local welding fabrication businesses.

S/steel welding wire is usually in 1 mtr lengths down to 1 mm in
dia, A standard alloy will be 316.

This will do well for brooch pins. But youll need strong hands to
bend it to make the loop for the hinge end. As your also using
copper etc the other option is to use nickle brass wire, a white
colour. Thats whats usually used on non sterling brooch products.

Also of course, theres non flexible sailing boat standing rigging
multistrand stainless wire, tho thats also a handful to unravel for
your needs. Try also a local scrap merchant who will have stainless
sheet from washing machines or pedal bins, and might just have some
stainless wire lying around. For example the external wire covering
fibre optic cable.


hello Sharon,

as you probably know most pre-packaged brooch back assemblies include
a nickel’silver’ pin stem (the pre-packs include the fichu, catch,
backing plate and stem). Nickel is a lot stronger than a silver (or
gold) alloy. You can always get a package of .036 or.039 x 36" ‘music
wire’ from hardware or home stores by the K&S brand. I think a
package of 5 tubes of 20 pieces each tube is around 7 USD (last
check!) from the largest home store chain. It is available in many
alloys from brass and plated tin, to nickel and stainless steel K&S
also sells flat sheet in different brasses, bronzes and pure copper,
etc. as well as nickel. I believe k&S has a website that you can
order from (they ship internationally). KS brand has a bunch of
useful stuff, like brasses in sheet form to use in roll printing and
many shaped products as well- like square tubing in many gauges and
copper that is pure enough to use when making your own alloys
requiring copper (far purer than a penny! which I never recommend
when alloying anything!)You can probably find them in hardware
stores in mexico too but at the source you have a far more complete
selection. Buying direct from the site or a retailer like homedepot,
lowe’s Ace hardware stores, etc. are much cheaper than* any *
jewelry supply vendor for the same metal in a wire ,sheet or shaped
form. As for rolls of annealed wire from hardware stores : yeah, it’s
cheap but the gauge aren’t high enough to make a good work hardened
pin stem and you don’t want to use copper or iron because of the
reaction with dissimilar metals and discoloration of clothing, skin
it may come in contact with, etc along with the contamination
potential in the studio ferrous metals, cold-rolled steel, aluminum,
etc common to hardware store binding wire presents. Nonetheless, you
can get a lot of these shaped or wire metal products for not much
money- and some of the metals and metal sheet or rods are actually
useful beyond making pin stems, or for practice work like engraving,
roll printing, casting, delft clay work, etching, enameling, etc and
learning to use equipment like a small plasma cutter, stick or arc
welding, etc. So check out the KS site first and then ask your friend
to check out hardware or home store for the exact product(s) you
want-be sure to specify gauge because even home stores carry a large
assortment of gauges and sizes up to 1/8 " brass and nickel in 8.5"x
8.5"sheet, and hot and cold rolled stainless and alloys of steel ,and
brasses and bronzes in many sizes as well (i have used the brass rod
for jump ring mandrels, to hang hammers and other uses in the
studio)…Hope this is at least a starting point on your quest. if
you need more feel free to contact me… rer

1 Like

Type 304, 32 thousandths (our 20 gauge).
Component Supply GWX-320.

Hello Sharon,

Harbor Freight carries 0.041" diameter grade 304 Stainless wire for
tagging purposes. It is available in store or by internet order. I
have used it for a variety of jewelry projects including practicing
wire forms and some soldering. Unfortunately, that is the only
stainless they sell as wire - although you might find something in
the world of welding wire that might help. Harbor’s web site is

and the part no is 8895. It is only sold in one pound coils at $8.49
each. Hope this helps and I have no affiliation with Harbor.

Have a great day.
Bob A. DeMarcki

The Harbor Freight 304 is on s spool and likely quite soft. have you
found it to be so?

What I use for some things that you should be able to find is
stainless welding wire. If you go to a place that works with
stainless steel they will probably give you some. .035 " thickness.
Small spools could be available also at a welding shop. SD

Most any decent hardware store, sending supply or big box store
should have SS welding wire in the welding supplies area. They
usually have a couple of spool sizes as well as a couple of wire
sizes. There are a number of different SS alloys so figure out what
one you want before going out to buy it. Most of these spooled wires
are work hardened but making a loose coil of the wire, wrapping a bit
of the tag end to keep it together, then heat it red hot with a
torch, let it cool and you will have softened it. The dark color that
forms should be easily removed or you could heath coil in your
burnout furnace and that could reduce the darkening (oxides). Heated
SS will not be rust free so if you need it so, you will have to
remove the iron molecules that have migrated to the surface with a
mild acid or pickle.



I have found the Harbor 304 grade wire to be reasonably soft although
I would not consider it “dead soft.”

I am able to bend it consistently around 3/32" diameter pins located
at 1/4" center to center using a piece of wire long enough to wrap
around two or three fingers then applying moderate hand strength-
pliers make it fairly easy. I would consider this bend difficult if
using only finger strength.

Hope this helps.
Bob A. DeMarcki

Where do I find ss cable wire like 7-16 to to used in jewelry.

OK, I missed the initiating question on this subject, but McMaster
Carr carries stainless steel wire. Check it out.

Hi Bob, I build a lot of brooches. My go-to stainless is 304 from
Component Supply Inc. which used to be Small Parts.Comes "barrel"
straight in 6 foot or 3 ft lengths. Nice and springy. Nice and
bright. I cut it with separating discs only.


Andy - What is the website address for “Component Supply Inc. which
used to be Small Parts”? Thanks! - Dan

The best source for hard drawn high polished stainless wire for pinstems used to be available from Small Parts, and they once sent me a package from where they got it. It was leader wire for deep sea fishing, comes in various thicknesses and is so hard you need to cut it with a separating disc or bend it back and forth with pliers.

Small parts is now Component Supply Inc.