This instructable is a beginners guide for those out there that have yet to delve into jewelry making. I think most people don't realize how simple it is to do on your own. A great craft project for kids and adults and also a way to make some extra money at a craft fair.
Once you have the steps down your ready to make more complicated earrings. In this instructable there is a tutorial on how to make beginner and intermediate chandelier earrings. Sometimes seeing how things are assembled can inspire even better ideas, hopefully this instructable does that for you!
Step 1: Jewelry Components and Tools
The only tool you will need is a tapered nose pliers with a cutter on it. Mine has a flat area as well that helps with straightening out the wire when necessary. I've had them for over a decade and they are still alive and well.
With the following components and some creativity you have endless jewelry possibilities.
Wire- These wires come in different gauges. The smaller the number the thicker the gauge. Thinner wire is easier to bend but doesn't hold shape. Thicker wire is harder to work with but has a better hold. I've found that 20 gauge is a happy medium and works best for me when making earrings.
Headpins- Like the wire these come in different gauges. The thicker the stronger. They have a flat head at the end that allows you to hold a bead flush and then connect it to other parts. You use this at the bottom of a drop, or dangly area.
Chain- Chain adds a professional quality to homemade earrings. It is used to connect parts together. Small chain has a light texture that I really love for chandelier earrings.
Jump rings- These are circles that am have an open end. They allow you to link things together. They also come in different gauges. You want a strong jump ring that when closed holds together and can handle gentle tugging that earrings can be a victim of.
Ear wires- These guys are pretty important when it comes to earrings. Too avoid allergic reactions I use sterling silver.
The last component is the fun part...beads! Whichever your heart desires. Just remember when picking them out that if the holes are too big or too small the headpins won't work.
Step 2: Making Links Using Wire
Making links with the wire is very easy. You will need tapered pliers like the ones pictured. As you hold the edge of the wire with the pliers you will roll towards the wire until you form a complete circle. Make sure you squeeze the edges together to make it secure.
Now you will add your bead or beads. Once you have them on you will cut the wire leaving 3/8"-1/2" of wire like in the picture. When it is cut you will bend the wire against the bead at a 90 degree angle. Then roll the edge of the wire just like you did the other end. Make sure that the loops go in the same direction and aren't twisted.
You can continue to make all of your links and then link them together at the end or you can link them as you go. When you want to attach one link to another you can unroll the edge of one, slip in the link of the other, and then pinch the edge of the open one back together.
You can apply this step to make any type of jewelry. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces etc.
Step 3: Using Headpins
Headpins are used for the bottom of a chain of links or drop. You place the bead through the headpin and cut the excess leaving 3/8"-1-2" end. Bend the wire at a 90 degree angle against the edge of the need then using the pliers roll the edge to form a circle and pinch the edges together.
Step 4: Chain
When picking out a chain you will want to make sure that your wire, headpins, and jump rings all fit through the holes of the chain.
It can be hard to cut the chain sizes evenly especially when using tiny pieces. Aside from counting the links I have trick to help. You will cut one at your desired length then hang it onto a headpin. Then place the uncut chain end onto the headpin and hold it level. Now you can easily see where to cut the chain so they are the same length as the first piece. This tip is a lifesaver when you are cutting a lot of chain.
Step 5: Beginners Chandelier Earring
These earrings are simple and great for beginners.
To make them you will need:
- (10) tear drop beads
- (12) dark 6mm beads
- (6) light 6 mm beads
- (8) light 4 mm beads
- (2) jump rings
- (2) ear wires
- (10) headpins
- (10) 6link chain pieces
- (4) 12link chain pieces
The first thing you will do is use the headpins and make 10 tear drops with links on top. Attach the tear drops to the 6link chain pieces.
Then you will make the bead links. 3 beads with light color in the middle (2x), 2 beads one of each color (4x),
and 1 dark bead (4x). When finished you will attach the chained teardrops to the beaded links.
Next using a long piece of headpin scraps or wire make a loop at one end. Add the links you made and then a bead after each one. Make sure the short ones are on the outside and the longest in the middle. See the picture for help. Once you have all of them on close the edge.
Now you will add chain to each loop. Then connect the chains at the top with a jump ring. Then slightly bend the wire to form a slight u shape like pictured. Attach that to the ear wire to the jump ring and you're done.
Step 6: Intermediate Chandelier Earring
This earring is slightly more complicated then the beginner version. Let me know if you have any questions.
Here's what you'll need to create these earrings:
- (8) pieces of chain with 4 links
- (2) piece of chain with 12 links
- (2) piece of chain with 21 links
- (16) tear drop beads
- (26) 4mm beads
- (2) jump rings
- (10) headpins
The first step is to make your bottom tear drops. Using your head pin cut of the excess leaving 3/8" to roll your link circle. Make 8 like this. Then make 2 of them the same way by with an 4mm bead right top of the tear. Save the excess parts of the head pin. This is what you will use for the other links.
Next you will make the beaded links. (4) of them with 2 beads, (6) of them with 1 bead, and (2) with four beads.
Assemble them like pictures. Attach the 2 bead link to the 1 bead link (4x) Attach the with one bead link to the tear with a bead on top (2x). Next you will add a 4link chain piece to each end of the linked beads. Look at the picture for reference.
Now you need to add your tear drops to the 21 piece chain. Attach one on the left on the 5th link, and one on the right mirrored 5 away from the other end. Then attach one in the middle of those two. Open the four beaded link and attach the edge of the chain to this on each side. Before you close the four beaded link you will attach the two other sides to it. Then close it. Looking at the picture should help make sense of the directions.
Now you will attach the 12link chain piece to the one bead links as pictured. Last you will take your jump ring and open it and put the right side on, then the middle drop, then the right side. Then close it really well. Attach the ear wire and you finished.
This one is a little more complicated but it gives you an idea of different ways to incorporate the chain. If you have any questions or need clarification feel free to ask.
Step 7: Designing an Earring
This part is totally subjective. Now that you know the basic steps to create links you can plan out what you want your earring to look like. Drawing it out can help give you an idea of what it will look like. Sometimes its fun to just make it up as you go. My favorite projects always seem to be made this way.
If you have any questions feel free to ask!