Basic Head Pin




Introduction: Basic Head Pin

About: I have created and designed jewellery since I was 14 years old needing accessories on a budget. I enjoy creating expensive looking jewellery for less and have sold jewellery via my website since 2003. I also…

Have you ever been working on a jewellery project only to find that you have run out of that particular head pin required for the job?  It's too late to head for the bead shop and online won't deliver for 3 business days.  What do you do?

By keeping a continuous roll of craft wire around the house a head pin is only a few twists of a plier away.

Materials required for this tutorial:

Round Nose Pliers
Wire Cutter
A length of soft wire to practice on

Step 1:

Start with 3 inches (7.5 cm) of wire and the round nose pliers.

Put one end of the wire into the round nose pliers so that the end is flush with the top of the pliers.

Step 2:

With your thumb or forefinger, press the wire right up against the pliers to start bending the wire away from the centre of the pliers around one of the plier teeth.

Stop bending when the bent end of the wire resembles an "U" shape or curved handle of an umbrella.

Do not try to make this bend by holding the opposite end of the wire, as this results in a very large bend that will not serve as a head pin.  Work right against the pliers.

Step 3:

Hold the wire near the bent U end and place it in between the plier teeth.

Slowly close the plier, which should result in the "U" shape being closed shut.

Stop when the end of the wire touches the base of the wire (see photo).

Step 4:

Congratulations, you have made a head pin!

Now place your beads on, create a basic loop at the opposite, unbent end of the wire and clip off waste.

Notes:  Eventually as you gain practice, you can save wire waste by creating head pins by first putting the beads onto the wire, make the nub, do the basic loop on top of the beads and clip from the spool.

I save money by buying continuous wire in sterling silver and making my own head pins without waste this way.  The photos here are earring clusters I have made with my custom made head pins.

Sometimes pearls have very small holes, so I use a thinner gauge wire that will fit.

If you would like to find out more about Amanda's jewellery visit at

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    Not to be a butt head or anything but these are not head pins... They are called EYE PINS because of the loop at the end. Granted they can serve the same purpose in jewlery making but they can be used for linking things together or for creating chain. You cannot do that with head pins because they are just wire with a metal "stopper" at the end.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    If you look at a properly done eye pin, it is a complete full circle. What I am showing here stops the full circle half way completed and then pinches it closed. You would have to use a very thin gauge wire to hook onto this "nub" as I call it.

    A properly done eye pin should not resemble what you have at the end of this tutorial! It should look like a lollipop on a stick - a beautiful full perfect circle.

    But thanks for the comment! I wanted to show how to make a lot of metal stopping head pins from continuous wire.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Look at the photo I have attached, this is the perfect eye pin example.


    These eye pins are lovely!
    How to make Ball head pins :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    How to you make the other type of headpins with the flattened end or ball end in materials other than silver that's easily granulated with a torch or hammered flat in jaws of pliers? Folks have told me cooper will ball with a craft torch, but it didn't work for me & flats want to bend, instead of spread. Thanks!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think you could easily spread copper or silver with pliers alone. It takes a bit of brute force for this to happen!

    I have hammered flat pins (looking like paddles for a boat) in copper and silver the same way successfully. You need to have the copper wire pinned between two flat metal surfaces such as an anvil (or back of metal vice) and a metal hammer.

    I'll work on another instructable showing this soon.

    Then need to file the sharp bits of the flat end into a nice shape.

    As for balling with fire - I have not tried that at all with copper. I have done it a few times in Sterling silver and had much better results with fine silver. If it doesn't work well with your copper or your silver, it is possible your torch does not burn hot enough.

    Honestly I tend to just make my head pins with the bent nub as in this instructable - much easier to do on the fly and less fiddly!