When I made my first ear cuff instructable, I was mainly trying to experiment a bit with the techniques to be able to make something a bit more complicated: a dragon ear cuff. A wireworked dragon wrapped around my ear. I wasn't sure yet about how exactly it was going to look, but I knew I wanted to make it. Over a year later, I finally made the design and started wrapping!
Even though it didn't turn out exactly the way I wanted it to, I'm really happy with how it looks!
Step 1: Materials
The fun thing about wirework project is that once you have the wire and your pliers, you're pretty much set to go! A complete list of what I used:
- silver plated copper wire, gauge / 0,4 mm, gauge / 0,81 mm and gauge /0,2 mm
- a marker
- ruler/ anything to measure with
Step 2: Sketch
And there it is. After all that time, the final sketch. It follows the shape of your ear with the dragon's body and the wing just slightly extends from it. The inspiration for that look was giving the impression that the dragon just happened to land on your ear, ready to fly away any moment.
Step 3: Measurements
To be able to let this ear cuff fit properly, you'll need to measure the width and height of your ear at the places shown on the image. It can be helpful to get someone to measure this for you, ears aren't exactly the most reachable things.
Step 4: Prototyping
Using the measurements from last step, draw a rectangle. Sketch a flowing line that will roughly follow the shape of your ear. To check whether or not this is indeed the right size, cut off a piece of aluminium wire (really easy to bend) and bend it in the exact shape you just drew. Once it's bended, try if it's the right size and shape for your ear. If it is, you can use this drawing as a reference to make your dragon. If it isn't the right shape or size, make the adjustments that are needed and retry it.
Step 5: Starting the Dragon
Use your round nose pliers to bend a small circle. Continue following the curve a bit before straightening the wire for a bit and creating the dragon's chin. Bend another, bigger circle as it's snout. After that, follow the curve you drew by carefully bending the wire, don't use pliers to do this.
Step 6: Time to Fly
To start making the wing, it's easiest to draw the basic shape on the base line you already drew. Take your wire and line it up with the drawing as shown. Be sure to let it extend a bit further, this will give you a bit of extra length and you'll be able to work away the wire nicely. When you reach the pint where the wing has that little pointy part, bending it in an approximately 90 degree corner first and make the point using round nose pliers.
Step 7: Shaping the Wing
Once the wire gets to the point where the first part of the wing ends, you'll need to bend the wire. I used a combination of round nose pliers and flat nose plier to create the fold. After bending, as you can see the wire is bending outwards. To fix that, simply (but carefully) bend it the other way. Repeat this for the other two parts.
Step 8: The Inner Wire
To be able to wrap the wing in three parts, you'll need to add a bit of wire to separate the three parts of the wing. The easiest way to tell you how to shape this part is simply by looking at the pictures! Important to keep in mind: try to let the overlapping bit of wire sit next to the base wire as perfectly as possible.
Step 9: Wire Wrap: Part I
Cut off a piece of your thinner wire. Coil it around the top wire of the first wing part. After a few coils, start wire wrapping between the two sides. Once you start to get close to the part where the inner wire comes in, hold it in place while you wrap, so it becomes incorporated in your wrapping pattern. The first few wraps doing this might be a bit tricky, so be sure to keep the inner wire in place as good as possible.
Step 10: Wire Wrap: Part II
The second part you're going to wrap is the bottom part of the wing. Repeat the same steps as for the first part, but with one difference: before getting to the end (preferable somewhere halfway through), bend the ends of the wire as shown. This way you'll be able to wrap around them and they will become a lot less visible.
Step 11: Wire Wrap: Part III
For the middle part, the beginning is the same as well. The trickiest thing about this part is that there isn't a lot of space left to wrap, since it has already been used to wrap part one and two around. Zigzag your way through the still empty spaces to reach the end.
Step 12: Making It Stay
For the part that really makes the ear cuff stay on your ear, I initially wanted to make a dragon claw inspired thing, but that just didn't work out the way I wanted it to. As you can see in picture number three, I ended up making this oval loop (approximately 1 cm long). I added a second loop on the other side with the same size. The space between the two loops is 1 cm as well. You might need to adjust these values slightly, since these were made to fit me.
After making this part, you'll need to bend it. Once it has been bent, you can shape it to work as perfectly as possible.
Step 13: Marking
Place the part you made during last step on your ear and add the dragon body part. Mark the bit where the two overlap: this will be the place to connect them.
Step 14: Attaching the First Part
Connect the ear piece and the dragon body using the thinner wire. I used 0,2 mm wire for this, but that ended up being a bit too thin. Make sure to put the pieces on the right side (the ear piece should sit under the other part and the dragon has to be facing the correct way) before wrapping.
Step 15: Adding the Wing
Important for this last step is to determine where you want to connect the wing to the body. I went with the beginning of the wing and the end of the middle part. Wrap the thinner wire to connect them as shown. I added wire on the two connection points and then made the connection of the ear piece and the dragon a bit stronger, since the ear piece kept shifting.