How to use spiral steel boning for corsetry and costume

Spiral steel boning can be used for straight or curved bone channels because it bends from side to side and forwards/backwards. Flat steels cannot be used in curved bone channels as it is not so flexible. Continuous spiral wire is easy to use when you know how, and it is much more economical than pre-cut lengths.

 

wire1

You will need:

- A pair of pliers flat or round nose
- A pair of wire cutters
- Spiral steel boning and end caps 

Spiral steel boning wire is made from a coil of steel - a spring - which is then flattened.  It is easy to cut with a regular pair of household wire cutters.

wirecut
Measure the length of steel you need for your bone channel, and then cut only the the first wire on each side - because this is a spring, the wire will come apart easily.
 
Minimal effort!  It's not as hard as it seems.
wire3

One end at a time, apply the cap.

You will need two pairs of pliers for this part and it can be fiddly, but with practice it is easy and quite strangely satisfying!

how to apply end tips to spiral wire
Placing one pair of pliers over your end cap , take the other pair of pliers and place perpendicular to the first - see pic.  Squeeze both pairs of pliers simultaneously until the endcap is flattened to the wire.
 
 
You may want to be extra secure by placing a little spot of  super glue or similar on the inside, of the cap but I have never found this to be necessary.
pfte tape for corset making Alternatively, you can use plumbers tape to add a little seal to the end cap.  Sometimes, if you have to pull a tipped bone out of a tight bone channel, the tip can get dislodged and stay in the channel - very difficult to remove.  The plumbers tape will prevent this and make the bone a bit smoother so it glides into the channel with more ease.

 

Useful links

All about corset boning - Which boning to use, where and why

Metal boning for corsetry and dressmaking - a blog post all about boning, where it came from, and why to use it.

Spiral boning to buy - includes more information on which type of spiral wire boning you need for which project

Flat boning to buy - includes more information on which type of flat boning you need, and why.

 


Note
: Before using spiral wire it is advisable to wipe it with a cotton cloth just incase any residue from the manufacturing process remains.