Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Make All in One Headpin Earrings Tutorial

By on Thursday, July 25, 2013 9 Comments

Some people use ball headpins for this style of all in one headpin earrings.  However, you can also use headpins for the faux metal work look!  I made this pair of earrings for myself using stainless steel headpins from Prima Bead's latest products.

I was testing both the hypoallergenic qualities of the stainless steel used in their range of products as well as the strength of these 2.5" thin (approximately 24G) headpins.   I had no trouble wearing the earrings given how sensitive I am to nickel.  Stainless steel is a strong metal and the thinner gauge worked. I would not be making this style with 24G sterling silver that's for sure.

One reader left a comment in yesterday's post asking about possible lead content.  Stainless steel is an iron alloy and needs at least 10.5% chromium to have its stainless and rustless properties.  As far as I know, lead is not typically used in stainless steel alloys.  Perhaps a material scientist out there could confirm?

Only a nerd like me would do this! I actually tested these stainless steel components with a magnet and found they were by in large, not magnetic.  I guess it is an alloy with a higher than normal chromium content without no nickel similar to the 400 series. To be sure, we'd have to ask Prima Bead. You can read more about why magnets don't work on some stainless steel in this Scientific American article

Anna of Almost Precious was relieved to know that the findings were not magnetic.  She said, "I once purchased some stainless steel chain and then realized I could not use a magnetic clasp with it because it was attracted to the magnet. It was not a pretty sight, sort of like wearing a skirt with a lot of static cling. :D"  LOL!

You can make this pair in about 1 minute. Really!  Here is what you need :

I used 8 mm faceted rondelles but you can use anything you like including pearls which I think are are also fabulous for this style.  Just make sure the little bead caps you use are correctly proportioned for the size of beads you use.

First add the beads and bead caps as you would a dangle.

Next carefully bend the head pin to a 90 degree angle at the base of the bead only.  Keep the rest of the headpin straight.

Keep bending past the 90 degree angle until the wire can't go further.

The next step is so much easier and quicker if you have large bail forming pliers as you can grip the wire between its jaws.  If you don't have this tool, use a marker pen as a mandrel.  Make sure you place either tool at the top of the bead.

The larger jaw should be placed away from you. The dimension of this jaw is perfect for the curved parts of earrings.

Now bend the rest of the headpin around that cylinder.

Not quite done.  The earrings still look a little too long.

So I put them together and trimmed just under 1/2" off with wire cutters.  Note that stainless steel is a lot stronger than the other metals we usually use, so heavy duty cutters are needed.  And you'll need to exert some force too!

Cup burs don't work well with stainless steel either. So I removed the burs by stroking the cut ends (in one direction) a few times across an abrasive pad.

The easiest way to make a kink at the wire ends simultaneously is to use a flat nose pliers.

Even though the stainless steel was strong, this jewelry grade metal still needs some work hardening by lightly hammering it.  I used a nylon hammer because I didn't want to flatten the wire.  Another benefit of using stainless steel wire is its resistance to tool marks!

The resulting earrings are elegant in a minimalist sort of way, strong and yet light to wear!


Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Great tutorial and cute earrings. I emailed Prima Beads to ask about the lead content of their stainless steel components.

  2. I had a reply from Prima and was told the following - "Our stainless steel does not contain any lead or plating".

  3. That's great Willi! Thanks for asking and sharing here!

  4. WOW, great turoial!!! I just love those earrings!! ~KM

  5. Great tutorial - I love your blog Pearl! I'm really sensitive to nickel as well, and am really happy with this line of components as well. :)

  6. These earrings are adorable and definitely cuter than it looks in the picture. I would love to make this beautiful pair.

  7. I have made earrings like these a few years ago, best result is with abacus/roundel shaped beads, but round beads and pearls work too.

    Try different beadcaps and colors for fun, simple yet elegant earrings.

    Off now to check out those stainless eyepins. :)