I have jewelry in all states of decay- plastic jewelry twisted around flaking metal chains, bangles bent out of shape (some of them look like dinosaurs!), and earrings found in forever alone pair-less corners. So I decided to take some old 24kt hollow hoops that were indented and make them into something that I would either be proud to give my mother as a grown adult, or wear to my own wedding!
Hoops (can be old, new, or flaking color as long as they close securely, I used 24kt hollow hoops)
14kt gold dead soft 28gauge wire (I am not putting an amount of wire needed because depending on size and diameter of your hoops it will change. I used around 3 feet)
96 2mm-4mm Faceted Tourmaline beads(or any type of small beads you want) (I used 48 on each side)
round nose pliers
low to medium
depending on skill - 2 hours
*you might want to try this with craft store wire before shelling out for the more expensive silver and gold. It is worth it to practice and get a feel for keeping the tension on the hoops. Also, make sure you have time to get past the first stage of wrapping, or you might have to go through and re-tension the wire so it is not loose around the hoops.
Step 1: Wrapping the First Layer
Secure the end of the wire so that it does not unwind or loosen from the hoop.
I tried to get a close up, but my camera does not do macro well, so let me know if you have questions.
Also, I did not cut my wire - I had a 15 foot length, and I was unsure of how much I needed at first. Since the diameter and size of each earring is different you will want to start out with more than what you believe you will need. Also, if you run out of wire, use this first step below to add on a piece and keep wrapping.
I started at the back of the earring, I have a little "tail" of wire being held by my thumb in the first picture.
I put it near the side so it would not be seen. You do not want it on the inside because the inside is where you want to see the wrapping in the final earring. Go slowly. You don't want any large or "hard" kinks in the wire. Start the first loop and make sure it is not loose or it will fall off. This is one of the hardest steps and I practiced with 28 gauge wire from craft stores before doing this with my 14kt wire, so don't lose hope if it takes a few tries!
Once you have the first few loops on, keep going. I found that if I loop the wire around the hoop that the wire gets slightly turned and creates stress on the wire. So I started twisting the hoop around the wire. Hard, yes, but better for the wire.
Keep looping until you reach the very front of the hoop. Do not go onto any moving mechanisms as this will make it difficult, if not impossible for you to open/close the earring.
Step 2: Wrapping the Tourmaline Beads
This second step is where you will decide where to place your beads for optimum light catching effect.
I chose to only use tourmaline beads on the outside around the hoop, with them crowding in toward the center at the bottom. I wanted to show off the wire wrapping, and the gold also picks up a nice shine when in the sun.
Put the bead on the wire and push it down until you reach the hoop. Make sure about where you place it, if you have to go back and move it will take time and will put little dents in your wire. While not bad, it will take more tension to then set the next few beads to make sure they all line up due to the dents. I usually only place one bead per loop, but sometimes, especially at the bottom I used 2. My hoops were too small to use 3 as it looked like a full row of beads instead of a "cluster". But you can place the beads however they fit best on your hoop. Go all the way until you reach the back of your hoop again.
*when you get more skills, you can put multiple beads on the wire at one time then wrapping each individually goes very fast- just don't tip your beads off the end or the wire or you will have to find them in the carpet-of-doom.
Step 3: Finishing the Earring
Now that you have finished wrapping all the beads you need to "tie off" the wire.
This is a little difficult. The only way I could figure it out was a sort of "weaving" ending. I threaded my wire through previous bead loops (don't use the original non-bead loops!) and I wrapped the wire once and then go to a second wire loop and do it again so that multiple loops would be supporting it. Make sure to keep this ending on the inside either near the beads or flat against the sides so that it can't be seen when you wear the earrings. When you feel that you have enough support that this will not unravel (3-5 threadings is what I used) then on the last one, loop it twice and use your wire cutters to clip the wire close (be careful not to cut anything else!) and smooth the wire down inside so it is not poking out.
Now just do the these same step with the other earring and you will have a perfectly matched set!
Remember to put the beads on the opposite side for the other earring, other wise you will have the beads going the same direction!
*I wear these a few times a week now and they hold up very well, but I wouldn't wear them in the shower or to sleep on as they will get particles stuck in them and could bend.
Hope you enjoyed this Instructable, Cheers!