Introduction: Spiral Dangles and Spiral Head Pins

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…

Head pins are an essential part of making your own beaded jewellery, but who likes to use the same flat top head pin all the time?  Those "special" head pins from the bead shop are cost prohibitive.  What do you do?

I make my own out of continuous wire so that I can have a bit of glitz and glamour on a real budget.

Materials needed for this tutorial:

Round Nose Pliers
Wire Cutter
Sandpaper (optional)
Soft wire for practicing

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.

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

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

Step 2:

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

Step 3:

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

Slowly close the pliers, 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).

A nub has now been created.  A nub can be a tight U-shaped with no space, or it can be a very small circle into which the plier teeth can fit.

Step 4:

Place the nub (first spiral round) in the pliers like in the photo.

The pliers will need to be held with force to keep the nub pinned down.  This will leave some marks.  You can put masking tape around the plier teeth to prevent the marks from happening.  The marks can add glitz though.

Pull the wire in the direction of the arrows in the photo.

The wire will start to curl up on itself.   Always twist in the same direction.

Step 5:

Here is the start of the spiral twisting on itself in one direction.

Place the wire back in the pliers with force and continue to curl up the start of spiral in same direction.

When necessary, open and reposition the wire to continue the bending process.

Bending the wire close to the pliers will result in a tight spiral.

Holding the wire at the opposite end will create a more open, airy spiral.

Step 6:

Continue to repeat step 4 and the spiral will start  to appear.

Here is an example of the spiral after two full rotations.  This is a tight spiral with no gaps between the wire in the rotations.

Continue rotations until spiral is to the desired size.

END BASIC SPIRAL DIRECTIONS.   (From this point, make a basic loop and use as a dangle.)

Notice the plier marks (the spots where the flash is bouncing back as white) on the spiral.

The other photo is an example of an airy spiral with gaps between the wire in the rotations.

Step 7:


In order to make a head pin with the spiral at the end, a kink needs to be made so that the post for the beads will be centered above the spiral.

Hold the wire as in the photo at the very tip of the pliers for a tight bend.

Turn the pliers in the opposite direction the spiral was created just a few degrees.  It is a very small movement.

Step 8:

Stop bending when the straight part of the wire is centered above the spiral just like a lollipop/sucker.

Here is the spiral head pin after the kink has been made.

With your fingers, or the pliers, continue to tighten the spiral curl until the spiral is nestled directly up to the wire post.

Step 9:

Congratulations!  You are finished!

Beads can be placed on the post and the spiral will stop the beads from coming off.

To minimize wastage, use a spool of continuous wire.  Put the beads on the spool first, make the spiral, make a basic loop on top of the beads and chop off  from the spool.

If you do not like the plier marks, cover your pliers with a few layers of masking tape before starting.  The masking tape will need to be changed often.

Alternatively, use a bit of 400 grit sandpaper and sand down both sides of the spiral until the marks are gone.

Step 10:

Some examples of my jewellery with spiral head pins I have made.

If you want to learn more about Amanda's Jewellery, visit at