Crafting Wire Elf Ears with Starlit Skies
Starlit Skies has been crafting and Designing Jewelry for over 30 years.
We have been making Wire Elf Ears for 4 years, and with over 2000 pairs of Wire Elf Ears made and sold to Great People all over the world, we have decided to share and make our first DIY.
We want to show our Gratitude by giving, and sharing our knowledge and experience. It is our way of Saying Thank You in hopes that others may benefit, and share in the Joy and Fun of making, and wearing, AMAZING Wire Elf Ears.
Crafting Wire Elf Ears is Easy to do, and they are so fun to make.
You can use craft wire that is strong and stiff. We Love 18gauge wire. You can get Copper, Brass, or Silver wires from your local craft store, or on line.
Colors are available, but they are usually too soft for long lasting product.
At Starlit Skies we use Sterling Silver Filled 'Half-Hard' wire for the Frame,
and 18g 'Soft' wire for the 'S' shapes.
We buy our wire on line from RioGrande.com
Step 1: Tools, Wire, and Beads
Tools: The Three most important Tools we use at Starlit Skies are
3. Flat Nose... No Serrations. Smooth inside.
ROUND NOSE Pliers are for Curling.
FLAT NOSE Pliers we to Flatten, and also to hold the wire.
Wire: 18g and 26g
Wire Frame and 'S' shapes: Starlit Skies base for wire is 18 gauge.It is the Strength in the Frame.
For a larger piece, more BOLD, we may use 16 gauge wire... looks Great especially in Copper wire.
Wire Wrapping: We use 26 gauge, which can be found in many colors at your local craft store, on ebay, and other craft suppliers. The Brand Artistic wire is fabulous. We buy it by the 1/4 pound: 0.25 Lb. This is fine to have in many colors. 26g is to unite, connect and wrap wires together, as well as embellish wire with stones.
Note: Professionally Speaking since we craft about 500 pairs a year for our Festivals, and Website, we use HALF-HARD wire for the Frame, and SOFT wire for the S shapes.
If you are crafting for Fun... try everything!
You can be creative and use what ever you like.
I keep on hand
*6-7mm... for the larger bead in the center
Step 2: Cutting Wire
Cutting Wire 18g:
1. Cut 2 Pieces 10.5 inches long.
2. Cut 4 pieces 3.5 inches long.
The 3.5 inch long pieces will be curled into 'S' Shapes.
The 10.5 pieces of wire, which will be the main frame, will be bent at 3.5 inches.
Curl the shortest end of the 10.5 Frame wire, to make a small spiral.
Cutting 26g wire:
Cut two pieces of 26 gauge wire 18 inches long. You will use the left over wire to wrap the smaller sections. And it is always better to have extra wire so you don't run out in the middle of your Wrap.
Step 3: Bending the Frame, and Curling 'S' Shapes
Bending the Frame
1. Take your 10.5 piece of 18g wire and bend it with your Round Nose pliers at 3.5 inches.
Bend it a little to make a Petal shape.
2. Curl a little spiral on the short end of the wire. This is your Frame.
With your Round Nose Pliers curl your 3.5 pieces of wire to be 'S' shapes.
1. Curl a little Spiral on one end first.
2. Curl the bigger Spiral on the other end second.
Flatten your spirals with your Flat Nose
Match and Size them up so they all look the same.
NOTE: I do all the little Spirals first, then I twirl all the larger ends next.
Then I flatten all the Spirals, and proceed to matching them up to be the same shape making any needed adjustments.
ROUND NOSE Pliers: we Curl.
FLAT NOSE Pliers: we Flatten.
Step 4: Begin Wrapping
1. Start on the long side of your Frame with you 26g wire (18 inches long).
Anchor the wire by wrapping it around 3 times. Leave a little extra wire hanging to hold on to so you can control your wire while wrapping.
2. Add your 'S' Shape by wrapping the wire around the large end of the 'S' shape three times.
Then add a bead, wrap the wire around, add a bead, wrap, add a bead - wrap, etc..
This is where you can get creative and make it your own design with beads, Colors, and different bead shapes and sizes.
3. Anchor the 'S' shape at the small end by wrapping the wire around three times.
4. Wrap wire around twice with some space in between each wrap ... you should be at the Tip Top now.
Step 5: Tip Top
1. After you have anchored the Top of the 'S' shape...
Wrap twice to get to the Tip Top.
2. Add a Bead at the Tip Top, and then begin coming down by wrapping twice with some space in between each wrap.
Step 6: Adding Second 'S' Shape and Finishing Frame
1. Squeeze your Frame a little, the Petal shape, and wrap the top of the 'S' shape three times with your wire to anchor it to the other side of the Frame.
2. Wrap once, then add a bead, wrap once.
Adding Second 'S' Shape
3. Add the Second 'S' shape by wrapping the 26g wire around the small part of the 'S' shape three times. This anchors the Second 'S' to the Frame.
Repeat the Previous steps of adding beads to the 'S' shape, and conclude by wrapping the wire around three times to secure the large end of the 'S' shape to the Frame.
You are now ready to add the remaining beads. Add a bead, wrap twice, add a bead wrap twice, etc.... until you get to the end. Notice our choice of beads in the photo.
I then wrap my wire around 6 times to conclude.
Snip off the extra wire, and also the extra wire where you first attached your wire to the frame.
Snip it close to the frame.
Use your Flat nose to tuck and flatten the wire you snipped so it does not scratch you.
Step 7: Joining the 'S' Shapes Together
Connect the 2 'S' Shapes:
Take a piece of 26g wire, about 2 inches long... use the left overs from your 18 inch piece.
Anchor on one wire by wrapping 2-3 times, then wrap around both pieces to connect the two 'S' shapes, and conclude by wrapping on the other 'S' shape 2-3 times.
Be consistent on your wrapping. Make it pretty, and the same on both ears for quality and professionalism.
The last Bead:
I use a 6-8mm bead. Anchor on one 'S' shape by wrapping 3-4 times, add your Bead, then conclude by wrapping onto the other 'S' shape.
Now you are ready to curl the back hoop.
Step 8: Curling the Back Hoop
Curling the Back Hoop last, allows you to be free to design and work the wire, and the beads, on your frame without the back hoop getting in the way.
-Establish what is front on the wire Ear.
-Curl the 18g wire backwards about a half inch from your 'S' shape on the Long Wire.
-Curl and bend the little piece into a curve, hold on to that area.
- Holding onto the little curve, Curl the long wire back and around into a BIG 'C' shape.
This will go around the back of the ear.
This is one of the most trickiest part, and will become easier with practice.
Step 9: Curling the Back Hoop
Curling the back Paddle
Curl the end piece of the long wire, and make a little spiral. We call the spiral a 'Paddle'.
Start the spiral with the round nose, then use the flat nose to hold the spiral while you continue to curl making the paddle. This Paddle should sit even with the little spiral on the front of your frame. These two should touch, and be even. When wearing the Wire Elf Ears they should hold the ear, and sit just above the ear lobe.
Our Suggestion to Clients is to, 'Tug down on the paddle, then Squeeze the 'C' hoop to adjust to the shape of your Ear. It should be snug, and comfortable enough to Dance All Night in!'
Note: The Photo above of the pair of Wire Elf Ears in Hematite has both Brass wire and Sterling silver filled wire. Sometimes it's fun to mix metal colors.
Thank you for participating in the Tutorial. If you have any questions feel free to contact me! I love to Help!
Cynthia Ann McDonald
Step 10: Our Next Instructable Tutorial
Thank you to ALL for the Many Views and the Vote of encouragement to make more DIY Tutorials!
Above are photos of the Style we will focus on in Our Next DIY Instructable Tutorial, our '2S-Tip' Style.
Thank you Again! We are Grateful!