Sculpture wire mesh is a flexible and easy-to-use material, ideal for creating lightweight, sturdy sculptural forms quickly. It gives added strength to plaster, clay, plasticine, papier-mâché, and paper sculptures, acting as a sturdy core for precise molding and modeling. Mesh is available in a variety of metals (aluminum, copper, brass, and stainless steel) and a variety of weaves. Meshes with small holes are usually better for detailed work; those with larger holes are best for large forms. Base your selection of wire mesh on its metallic properties, pliability, strength, water resistance, and heat resistance. To help you make your choice, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite products below.
1. Activa Activ-Wire Mesh
Are you looking for wire mesh to create the core of a sculpture? Activ-Wire is aluminum with holes measuring ¼ inch by ⅛ inch, and it is easy to mold into any desired form. It is sturdy and maintains its final shape well. The sheets measure 12 by 24 inches and may be cut down with scissors. (Be careful: Edges may be sharp, so wear work gloves.) The mesh will not rust and is an excellent core for clays, plasters, and papier-mâché. It’s also oven safe, so it works well with polymer clays. Avoid extreme high heat. The mesh arrives in folded sheets; if the folds may be an issue, you can order this mesh on a roll instead.
2. Amaco Wireform Expandable Metal Mesh
At first glance, this mesh resembles window screen due to its very small holes and silver color. It’s more flexible and malleable, however, ideal for creating molded forms with precise detail. Made from aluminum, this mesh is rustproof and works well with clay, plaster, and plasticine. It withstands heat up to 800 degrees. Shape it around a solid form to create an intricate mold of the object, a great base for sculpture. Or use it to free sculpt. The mesh also may be used to reinforce papier-mâché and plaster. It is 22 inches wide and comes on a 10-foot roll.
3. HICI Copper Mesh Roll
Art educators are hypervigilant when it comes to the safety of their students. This copper mesh is a good choice for the classroom because it’s an inert metal that won’t rust or stain and is 100 percent pure copper. Students can use scissors to cut it to the desired size and then shape it with their hands. It’s soft, gentle on fingers, and easily malleable The more you use, the sturdier the forms. Beginning sculptors will be creating copper artworks before they know it! The product comes in a 5-inch-by-50-foot roll, enough for a great group activity.
4. BSTOOL Chicken Wire Net
Chicken wire isn’t just for chickens: It’s a great sculptural material for creating installation structures, plaster and papier-mâché armatures, and more. Regular chicken wire can be unruly and comes in big sheets. BSTOOL’s product is more manageable because it comes in a smaller size (you get three sheets in this pack, each 13.7 inches by 40 inches) and because its hexagonal openings are much smaller than those of ordinary chicken wire. The galvanized iron wire can be a challenge to cut, but BSTOOL provides a mini wire cutter to cleanly do the job. (You’ll still want to wear work gloves while using this product, to prevent cuts.) This mesh stretches well over wooden frames and can be stapled in place.
5. Amaco Wireform Expandable Metal Mesh
Sculptors who mold large, sculptural forms depend on mesh like this for extra support. With its sturdy yet flexible diamond pattern and ½-inch holes, Amaco’s product is ideal for creating the armatures of large sculptures. The pliable mesh molds, crimps, and twists with ease, retaining its shape. Because its holes are relatively large, it is not ideal for precise work but may be used with other meshes as needed. It may be stapled or otherwise attached to metal or wooden frames. Made from aluminum, it is rustproof and inert, ideal for outdoor sculptures and installations. You get 10 feet of mesh on a 20-inch-wide roll.