Most of the time when someone goes about creating "post-backed" aka "stud" earrings, he or she uses a purchased finding and then glues his or her pieces onto it. But just like making earring "hooks" a bit of wire, patience, and tools will result in earrings that are truly one of a kind.
In the photos you will find some of the earrings I have created with this technique, but the variations are almost endless- and you don't even need a bead, as beads can be made from wire, too!
You will need four things for this tutorial:
Wire (around 20 gauge)
Earring Back (salvaged from other earrings or purchased)
Beads with Holes (matching or not, holes must accommodate your wire)
Wire Cutters (flush cutters are best)
One can also use the "stoppers" that come with dangle earrings sold in stores, as I have for a couple pairs shown. If you don't have access to flush cutters, make sure to file the ends of your wire so no rough edges will cut you! (always a good idea to check even when using flush cutters)
A specialty tool exists for wire ends known as a "cup burr". That would be ideal [and I'm jealous if you have one].
Step 1: Step One: the Wire
Cut a section of wire, about 8 inches long. Make sure there are no sharp points at one end, this will be the end inserted into your earlobe (or the earlobe of whomever will be wearing the completed earrings).
Choose a bead and slide it onto the wire, until about 1cm of wire is out the opposite side. Bend the wire in front of the bead at a good angle. If you really want things to be as symmetric as possible, you may wish to start the next earring right now, too.
Step 2: Step Two: Secure the Bead
Continue bending your longer end around the bead to the back. This will secure things. Wrap it once around the short end (henceforth the "post") of your wire if you are not choosing to do a ton of wrapping around the bead. We don't want the bead to slip off somehow. If you are going to do something more complex, wrapping it around the post might not be necessary.
Depending on where you go from here, you are almost done with the first earring!
Step 3: Step Three: Continue Wrapping and Finish
At this point you can get as fancy as the wire will allow, or keep it simple. For this instructable, I just wrapped it around a couple times and finished with a loop. Eight inches is a good, general starting length and will usually leave just enough extra that you are not fighting with your end. However, if you are going to make really complex or really simplistic, you may find a different amount works better for you. Experimentation and experience are key!
Check your bead is secure and your post is smooth, put on an earring back, and you're ready to go... make another earring. haha
Step 4: Variations: Just Wire; Add a Dangle
I don't have any just wire pictures (I have only made 2 pair), but created some "tornado" beads (tutorial here) that give you an idea of what just wire beads could look like. When making just wire earrings, however, you will start with the bead and end with the post, instead of starting with the post-- unless you make a wire bead separately.
With that small loop left in the previous step, you could easily add a dangle and make even more complex earrings!