Make LED earrings that draw attention even in the dark!
As part of the Content Creation course for my MLIS degree at St. Kate's (Check out our class
blog: http://scumakers.wordpress.com/ ), I needed to come up with a final project and wanted to jazz up my jewelry skills with a little light. After much trial and error, I came up with these LED earrings that are beautiful even when the LEDs are off. I designed them so the cell battery can be replaced when necessary, and they're light enough that they won't hurt your ears!
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
You will need these tools:
- Bead fix glue
- Flat toothpicks
- 3 mini bead bugs
- Round nose pliers
- Jewelry cutters
- Chain nose pliers
You will need these parts:
- Light silver thread
- Conductive thread
- Two plain silver earwires
- Two tree pendants
- Two silver 3-strands
- Two silver clasps
- Eight 4mm beaded heishi
- Sixteen 4mm Swarovski bicone silver beads
- 2 CR 2032 cell batteries
- Four green 3mm LEDs
- Clear or clear brown seed beads
- 2 clear seed beads
Cut a long piece of silver thread, at least 1 ft long. Leave yourself plenty to work with- you can cut off the excess once you've tied off. Slide the grey thread from front to back through the top loop of the 3-strand.
Loop the thread from back to front through the bottom of the tree pendant to the left of the tree
Slide the grey thread through the 3-strand's top loop again and loop the thread through the tree pendant on the other side of the tree.
Loop the thread one more time through the 3-strand and bring it through the tree pendant from front to back and then wrap the thread once around the trunk.
Repeat step 4 with the other end of the thread, wrapping the opposite way around the trunk
Pull the thread tight until the 3-strand overlaps the tree pendant slightly. The two pieces should still wiggle, but maintain position. Tie off the thread in the back of the pendant and cut off the thread ends. Cement the knot with bead glue to avoid slippage.
Lay this part aside and pick up your LEDs and round nose pliers.
Grasp the shorter lead wire of the LED with the round nose pliers as close to the base as possible
Wrap the wire around the pliers to make a loop.
Remove your pliers and cut off the excess wire with the cutters. The circle of wire that remains should be slightly open.
Slide a clear seed bead onto the wire and gently close the circle by placing your chain nose pliers on either side of the circle and pressing it inward.
Repeat this process with the longer wire of the LED, but do not add a seed bead to the circle. The bead marks which side is negative- this will be important later.
Repeat steps 9-13 with the other LED.
Cut off a 1-ft piece of conductive thread. Tie the end to the negative loop of the LED. Cement the knot with bead glue and trim any excess thread.
Dip the other end of the thread in the bead glue. The glue will prevent fraying and stiffen the thread to make threading the beads easier. Continue doing this with all your thread ends.
String on one silver bicone bead, one heishi, and another silver bicone bead. Then string on about 2 inches of clear brown seed beads. Secure the end of the string with a bead bug.
Repeat steps 15-17 with the other LED.
Cut another piece of conductive thread and tie it to the positive loop of the LED. Cement the knot with bead glue and trim any excess thread. Thread on one silver bicone bead, one heishi, and another silver bicone bead.
Loop the thread through an outer bottom loop of the 3-strand and tie it off. Do not cut the thread.
Run the thread up behind the 3-strand and through the top loop of the 3-strand from front to back. Run the thread up around the trunk and branches of the tree pendant a times and tie it in the center in the back. Cement the knot with bead glue and trim any excess thread.
Repeat steps 19-21 with the other LED.
Using your third bead bug, grab the two threads from the negative LED loops to hold them out of the way. You'll attach the battery next, electrifying the silver parts of the earring, and accidental touching from those negative threads can cause a short, fry your LEDs, and require you to start over.
Cut a short length of nonconductive silver thread. Tie the thread on one side of the tree pendant between the branches. Run the thread across the back of the pendant and loosely tie the thread on the opposite side. Slide the cell battery under the thread so the positive side lies flat against the pendant and tighten the thread until it is secure against the battery. Cement the knots with bead glue and trim the ends.
Repeat this step at different angles until your battery is secure against the pendant and will hold up to light shaking. You don't want the battery to fly off if you shake your head. However, keep in mind that the battery will need replacing after about 2 weeks of use- if possible, place your threads so the battery can be slid up and out of the threads.
Open the silver clasp and hook it onto the threads on the negative side of the battery.
Pick up the negative thread ends and bring them around to the negative side of the battery. The seed beads should reach to the end of the silver clasp-remove or add beads if necessary. Make sure exposed thread does not touch the silver 3-strand or tree pendant. Don't worry if the beaded thread touches, however; the seed beads act as insulators.
Tie both negative threads to the hanging end of the clasp. Cement the knots with bead glue and trim the ends.
Depending on your clasp, the nonconductive threads may be thin enough to slide out. The clasp also tends to slide around a bit on the threads. Placing a piece of tape over top will prevent this.
Open the loop on the ear wire with chain nose pliers and slide on the top loop of the tree pendant. Close the loop.
Repeat steps 1-29 to make your second earring.
Wear and enjoy!