Monday, February 2, 2009

How to Make Earring Wire Tutorials with Variations

Have you ever run out of ear wires or wish you could hand forge your own for the ultimate artisan look? Here are several options to try using common tools you already have. You'll also need to stalk around the house and look for a few more.



1. First find something cylindrical - approximately 1/2 " in diameter. A dry erase marker pen works really well. Now coil 20G wire around the pen. The recess at the cap edge is a good place to start because it helps you secure the wire as you begin to wind it.

2. If you're going to make one, then you might as well make a whole bunch more at the same time. So coil around the form many times. Don't worry if you have more than you need - trust me, you'll use them!

3. Use a flush cutter and cut straight across so that you get large jump rings.



4. Now make a loop at one end - going either direction works so you choose which you prefer.



6. Put a kink at the other end using your broad nose pliers - the width of the pliers will set a consistent distance from ear wire to ear wire. Then gently squeeze the ear wire so the "tail" and the small loop are a little closer to together.

7. You must file smooth the wire end that has to go through the ear hole. You can use 400 grit sandpaper but be careful you don't create a sharp point. I prefer to use the bur cup (below right) because it smooths out the burs the easy way. Insert the wire all the way in and twirl in both directions several times.



8. What if you decide you don't like it so large and round? Easy, just reform it around a smaller mandrel. A marker pen, mascara applicator tube, 1/4" wooden dowel or a knitting needle (American size 13) will do the trick (Step 11 shows you how).

This pretty variation adds an additional loop in the front - this also takes up the excess wire which results when you are making the ear wire smaller. There is no need to trim as in Step 11. First place your round nose pliers just above the inward facing loop and coil upwards.



It looks oddly open (above right) so this is where that reforming comes in. Place the ear wire as you see below and coil around the dowel or whatever you are using.



9. Always hammer your ear wires. Lightly if you just want to work harden the wire. More forcefully over the main curve if you like the flattened look.

10. How about adding a small metal ball? Just slip one down to the loop and place your chain or round nose pliers above the ball and slightly bend the wire. Readjust the small loop so it is more balanced. Also make the main loop less open by gently squeezing it together or make the ear wire smaller (see next step). You must hammer flat the ear wire otherwise the ball is going to fall out the other end!



11. Use 28G wire to make tiny coils. Either wind in on some waste 20G wire and then transfer it or coil directly on the shank of the ear wire which has been pre-bent as with the ball variation. I made this coiled ear wire smaller by reforming it around the wooden dowel. As there is now excess wire, I re-kinked with the broad nose, trimmed and de-burred. Make sure you check and adjust so it is identical to the other ear wire in the pair.



So have a go if you've never done it before. Remember those extra jump rings? You can use them to make your earring dangles too like I did below.


Also check my post on how to use a large bail forming pliers - this wonderful tool can also be used to make ear wires easily.

______________________________
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips  />

30 comments :

BetteJo said...

Y'know I saw a tutorial on making earwires somewhere, by wrapping the wire around a sharpie. Same idea - it worked quite well - I was surprised I could do it! I hope others try it!

StripyPixieSocks said...

Lovely tutorial, thanks :)

Bev's Jewelry / www.bevsjewelry.1000markets.com said...

Nice tutorial. If I run out of ear wires, I'll try it. Actually, wire anything never interests me. I don't do chain maille rings either. But it is nice to know how just in case.

The Beading Gem said...

I find it useful to know how as I don't know of any supplier of bronze ear wires. Bronze as you know is my new metal favourite.

Hand forged ear wires really do give that artisan look too.

Calico said...

awesome tutorial! I love this as I can now make whatever style of earhook i want, with the matching wire I have chosen. Thank you this is fantastic!
And I must share this with you all, I found yesterday...

Calico said...

http://www.wrapturewirejewellery.on.ca/Tutorials/Free001-FRENCHKIDNEYEARWIRES.pdf

Diana Norman said...

Thanks for the awesome tutorial, love that there are so many variations! the earwires are so beautiful!!! This is great to know if you have metal allergies -- that way you can pick up whatever charms, and use the wire that you react with least!

Crystal Allure said...

What a fantastic tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I've been thinking about doing my own earwires soon. I'll have to bookmark this page! : -)

Dave Robertson said...

Hi Pearl, I love your approach. No specialized tools are needed if you want to make some great jewelry! I believe I'll be talking your blog up on Twitter. Worthwhile reading!

--Dave
at Rings & Things

Lisa said...

Hi there! Wow, these are great instructions, very easy to follow. It really does make me think I can do this!! Thanks for sharing!! Lisa C., www.abeadaday.blogspot.com

The Beading Gem said...

Calico - that's an awesome link to the kidney wire style, thanks for sharing!

Thanks Dave for the thumbs up on Twitter! I hope you will subscribe or check into my blog often for all sorts of articles.

TLCSilverJewelry said...

Hi Pearl, I love your tutorial. I will definitely use it to try making some ear wires.

Jamie said...

Great tutorial! I will have to try these soon. :)

Jamie
Creations by JAE
http://creationsbyjae.etsy.com
http://creationsbyjae.blogspot.com
http://www.creationsbyjae.com

Kokopelli said...

I really HAVE HAVE HAVE to try some earwires now. I saw them first in Mark Lareau's All Wired Up, but never tried one (I only tried some of his clasps and they turned out great!).

A Beaded Affair said...

Wonderful job. Just love working with copper. Will be back to see more of your tutorials.
Lois

Adventures with Millie Making Jewelry said...

It is frustrating to run out of earwires as I did the other day! One of my goals is to learn how to make a variety of earwires, so this post came at a great time... I will be giving this a try. Thank you!

Liz said...

For the first time I made my own earwires by reading these instructions one time. Great Tutorial!

5Beads said...

Besides Silver or Sterling Silver wires, can I use other types of wires like the artistic wires, silver-plated wires to make the earring hooks?

The Beading Gem said...

Silver-plated wires will be okay for many people. Some people may be allergic to other types of wires. Copper may turn skin green or black on some people. I think if you stick with sterling, sterling-plated, gold or goldfilled, with some copper for those who love it, you'll be fine.

Niobium is also an excellent alternative as it suits people who are allergic. It comes in natural grey as well as other colors. So if you want color, I would pick niobium.

Marzia said...

Wonderful! Thank you very much for this tutorial.

Paper Demon Jewelry on Etsy said...

I love this! I actually got about halfway here just by experimenting on my own, but your advice on using broad nose pliers is great. And how much time i would have saved if I'd just come here first! thank you!!

Paper Demon Jewelry on Etsy said...

i keep trying to post a comment here and it's not working so far :-(. I just wanted to say I love this and why didn't i think of making a bunch of the jump ring bases at once??!! duh! thanks so much!

The Beading Gem said...

Commenting on older posts like this one needs my approval before it publishes. Don't worry, I have removed the accidental duplicates.

Dita said...

Great tutorial and nice tips. I'll try to make my own ear wires now. Thank you.

Doris said...

Thanks Pearl for the Tutorial on earwires. I have also learned how to make them BUT what I liked about yours was the EXTRAs I didnt know:) I started using Non-tarnishing wire and have been pleased with it so far and very inexpensive. Gave several pair of earrings away to test the Metals on irritation NO problems so far.
*By the way you can buy replacement BUR tips(?)and a handvise that will hold it if you dont happen to have one. PROBLEM shipping/handling costs doubled the cost so check around. Little long but then thats my way!
Thanks Have a GREAT day! Doris

The Beading Gem said...

You could also try sterling silver filled wire which behaves much like sterling and is far more cost effective. Thanks for letting me know that replacement bur tips are available. The kind I have isn't replaceable as far as the tip is concerned. But it is cheap enough to replace entirely.

QueenBee said...

Awesome! Thanks so much for posting.

Anonymous said...

just found you and this tutorial--thank you! 1 question: what size metal balls do you use on those ear wires-looked thru all the comments but didn't see it mentioned.
thank you again!

Pearl Blay said...

I think they are 3 mm ones. But you can use any size you want!

Please also check my newer tutorial which uses the large bail forming pliers - http://www.beadinggem.com/2010/01/how-to-use-bail-forming-pliers-tutorial.html

Andrew Campbell said...

Thanks for this great tutorial. You’ve put up some great pics too and you make it all look so simple. Sometimes I can’t find the shape I want in my metal of choice so I’m excited to try the variations you’ve suggested. I’m already imagining all the dangly earring designs I can make with all the extra hoops I will be making!

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