Introduction: Hand-made Earrings
This Instructable is designed to show you how to make a pair of earrings I designed. It includes instructions on making your own chain from which the bead assembly dangles. I made the light blue earrings pictured here for my mother for Christmas, and the others for my wife, daughter. I also sold a pair, which fetched $25, covering the cost of all the ones I have made so far.
The harder parts of this Instructable are accompanied by videos of that step, which should be clear enough for anyone to be able to make these earrings themselves.
What you need:
- 20" of 22 gauge Sterling Silver wire.
Depending on the size of the hole in the beads,
you may need a few inches of 20 gauge for the assembly
- A few glass/stone/metal beads.
The ones shown are a good size for a typical ear
- Sterling Silver earring hooks.
You could make these, but they are hard to make match each
other without a form, and hard to keep free from tool marks,
which could cut your ears on the way in.
- Round nose pliers
- Flat nose pliers
- Wire cutters
Step 1: Crimp Bottom End
Place the beads on the wire in order from top to bottom of the finished piece. Take a small bit of the end, say about 1/16" or so, and bend it as far past 90° as you can get. Then pinch it the rest of the way shut with the pliers.
Suffice it to say, you need to have a bead on the bottom whose hole is less then 2 wire diameters in, well, diameter. (If you do not have a bead with a small enough hole, you can make an eye-loop at the bottom to keep them on instead. Instructions for eye loops are in my rosary instructable)
Step 2: Add Wire-wrapped Eye-loop
For this step, make a 90° bend above the wire, leaving approximately 2 diameters of wire above the beads. This is easiest if you grab the wire above the beads with the round-nose pliers and bend the wire over it.
Now shift the pliers so that they are after the bend, and wrap the wire completely around one round jaw of the pliers. It will form a bit of a "P" shape.
Next, wrap the excess wire around the wire coming out of the bead assembly two times.
See the attached video for this step.
Step 3: Cut Off Finished Charm
Short step, with two ways to do it. One way is to cut the wire along the 2nd wrap and then use the pliers to bend the tip around with the rest of the wire.
But what I like to do is over-wrap the wire, then back it off a little and snip along the curve, then I squeeze it back into place. This way there is a curve already in the snipped wire, and that seems easier to me.
I have a video of the 2nd method attached here.
Step 4: Make the Chain
To start the chain, make a P on the end of the chain, keeping track of the size of the loop. You will have to make all the P's this size to have a uniform chain.
Now take the P in the jaws of the pliers in such a way that the jaws line up with the center horizontal line of the P, and the 'back' of the P is closest to the hinge. Bend the wire all the way around one jaw, completing the chain link.
Then cut the link off at the end of the last loop.
To make the next link, slide the chain link onto the wire from behind the loop you made last. That is, if you look you will see that the link you made makes a "L" shape (if it makes a "v" shape, open it until it makes an "L") Slide the end of the unused wire into the last-made loop from the outside of the "L"
Now make the P shape as in the first part, but this time when you are done, twist it open and slide the first link up the extra wire and into the loop of the P, then close it again.
(NOTE: Twisting the P open helps keep its strength; unrolling it will weaken the metal)
Finally, make the last loop, cut it, and slide it onto the wire from the outside of the L. Simply repeat this process until the chain is as long as you want it. Remember to make two chains!
I have attached a video of making chain here.
Step 5: Make Jump Rings and Assemble
There are other ways to make jump rings. You could use a metal rod of appropriate size and make a ton of them by wrapping the wire around it. Since we only need four, you can make them with the round nose pliers more quickly. I have a video of making jump rings attached here.
Take the end of the wire in the jaws of the pliers, close to the hinge to get a larger size. Just start wrapping the wire around one jaw for about five turns (to get four good rings), making the second, third, and fourth the same size as the first. Now you have a coil of wire.
Use the clippers to cut each ring off so that each is a full 360°. Make sure you get four.
Twist one open (do not unroll, as this weakens the rings) and put the bead assembly and one end of a chain onto it, then twist it closed again. Use another on the other end of the chain and earring back.
That is the anti-climactic end! You can now go through and tighten/close all the chains and rings to make sure nothing falls off.
Remember, you will get tool marks, but try not to squeeze too hard with the pliers. You will get the feel for it. Happy earring making!