Monday, May 31, 2010

Headpin Inspirations and Tutorials

By on Monday, May 31, 2010 11 Comments

Head pins are indispensable in jewelry making - they stop your beads from falling off. Don't you hate it though when you run out?  Or perhaps want something different?  Then, here are some ideas to jazz things up.

Gailavira wrote this unique knotted head pin tutorial on which will look good for pendants as well as earrings. (Update - it is now in the free section on her website).

Doubled wire
Prefer something simpler? Then just do what many artisans soon learn to do when they are out of head pins. Make a tiny bend with the tips of your chain nose pliers and squeeze it tight against the main wire. I think the little bit showing adds character to a design but if you'd rather not see it, then just tuck it away out of sight.

You can buy paddle headpins but why bother when you can whack the end of some wire yourself for the same effect? Just make sure you debur or file the end before you flatten it with a hammer. If you need a tutorial for this, check out Geltdesigns' on eHow.  

Tip : the flattened end is more noticeable with thicker wire. Which gauge of wire you choose will depend on whether you want the flattened end to show more. The picture shows 20G wire.

The ball head pin is also popular. An easy way to get the same effect is add a small silver ball to a regular head pin.

Closet pyromaniacs, however might like to check out Jo of Daisychain Designs' tutorial on how to torch wire and create ball head pins.  It makes sense to make a batch. Jo's got some great tips on the process.

Custom bead
 Heck, if you can add a small metal ball, you can add all kinds of beads to give that special head pin look with just ordinary head pins.

Scrolled or Spiral
It's really easy to scroll wire. Cozy Sister's excellent tutorial shows us how to make perfectly scrolled head pins. Hammering flat gives the work added appeal. She also showed how to easily convert the pins into custom ear wires.

Tip : use your nylon jawed pliers - it's broad enough to handle the scroll and yet won't mar your work with all that extra handling. (For more wire scrolling tutorials check my past post on 3 tutorials on how to make scrolled wire connections )

Wire wrapping
Play with your wire and come up with some neat ideas of your own!

If you have a jig, then you can do some fancy looping for the ends of your pins. Check out Wigjig'sQueen of Clubs earrings how to. They also have an excellent video tutorial for this.

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Cool post. I bought some jewelry-making tools earlier in the year but haven't tried them yet. This would be a good place to start.

  2. Great tutorial Pearl...I think it adds to a pair of earrings to have a pin on the fancier favorite is the ball pin but I've do others as well.

    I haven't tried the knotted head pin...I'll take a look at the tutorial...


  3. I also like the knotted head pin. Checked out the tutorial and I would like clarification from the community. The author spoke of hardening the wire by tumbling. Is this a common practice? what alternatives are there to harden round objects?

  4. Yes, tumbling is a common way to harden wire. Another way is to use a hammer - a plastic or rubber one if you do not wish to flatten the wire. Also bear in mind, the more you work a wire, the more it hardens. That's why wire breaks if it has been overworked.

  5. All wonderful ideas - I really need to dig out my jig and actually try it sometime.

  6. Great post! I've used some of the ideas before..jig, ball. I absolutely hate running out of head pins -it really stiffles the creativity to have to wait for more. I think I'm gonna need to bookmark this post for future reference!

  7. Great post! I like the paddle ones most, as I found they are easy to make and make a piece look more unique.

  8. Each time I visit your blog I find something new and wonderful hidden in the back pages. It's like a wonderful treasure hunt. I adore the knotted headpin and will check out the article on how to make it.

  9. I found the article on

    1. Thanks Phyllis! I have updated the post with the link!