Image by Cyndi Lavin
An armature is a wire framework which supports a sculptured piece.  The wire is usually thick aluminum which is both lightweight and inexpensive. You could alternatively use thick gauge sterling silver wire (14G-16G) for jewelry designs if you prefer and can afford it. Copper is another option.

One word of caution if you chose aluminum. Although it is fun to work work, aluminum becomes brittle if you overwork it. So go easy with it.  I would use either half hard or full hard tempered wire rather than soft.

How would you use thick wire as armatures?  Cyndi Lavin over at the Beading Arts blog has a gorgeous example with her Passion Flower necklace tutorial shown above.  The focal piece features peyote beading spanning the wire armature as well as a lovely polymer clay floral medallion by her friend, Amy Fraser.

That free form wire work can be applied to cuffs or you can use a more regular approach. Check the past tutorial links below for more ideas.

Armature wire can also be used to make neck wires.  Try this super easy hammered necklace tutorial Linda Peterson for Amaco.  There is a typo in the instructions - it should read anvil not awl. The tutorial link for the friendly plastic pendant is not working.  So check out my past post on how to make friendly plastic jewelry instead.

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