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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wire 1 (Part 2)

My first pair of earrings - I made these earrings
during my Wire 1 class. Now I'm going to show
you how to make these.

Part 2 - My First Pair of Earrings

This is post is part 2 of a two part tutorial. It is recommended to read Part 1 first, which discusses recommended tools, supplies and teaches how to make the basic loop. This tutorial builds on the previous tutorial. We will be making a pair of earrings similar to the one pictured to the right.



  • round-nose pliers
  • chain-nose pliers
  • side cutters

Supply list

Supplies and Tools
  • 2 each 22 gauge head pins
  • 2-3 pairs of beads of your choice
  • 1-4 inches of chain, depending on how long you want it
  • 1 pair of earwires
I recommend two beads of different size/shape/texture plus a spacer bead. The spacer bead can be a flat "ball" type spacer bead or you can use a seed bead (like my first pair shown above).

You will want to make sure that the head of the head pin doesn't slip into  the hole of the bottom bead. If it does, a good technique is to use a small seed bead. I originally planned on having the pink bead at the bottom, but its hole was too large for the head pin. I tried one other arrangement before choosing this order. My seed beads on hand were too big too.


Click to enlarge
Step 1: String together one set of the beads of your choice on one of the head pins.
Step 2: Bend the wire over the top of the beads roughly 45 degrees. I bent it 90 degrees, but then had to back it up in order to get my pliers under it.  You may or may not need to use your chain nose pliers to bend the wire.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Step 3: Grip the tail end with your round-nose pliers such that the tail is pointing away from you and the pliers are snug up to the bend. The closer to the tip, the smaller the loop.  Closer to the back, the larger the loop.Step 4: Bend the tail end of the wire up, over and around the top of the pliers in a full circle in the opposite direction of how you bent it in step 2.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Step 5: Rotate the loop with your round nose pliers such that the loop is centered on the stem, forming an O instead of a P.Step 6: Remove your round-nose pliers from the loop. Before cutting the excess tail, thread the tail end through an end link of your chain. You will hear a small "tink" sound when the eye and link are connected.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Step 7: With your side-cutters, cut the excess wire tail from the loop. Make sure your side cutters are lined up so the flat edge is flush with the beginning of the loop where the tail crosses over the stem.

Step 8: With your chain-nose pliers, wiggle the end of the loop to be flush with the stem. Picture above demonstrates the gap prior to closing the loop.
Click to enlargeclick to enlarge
Step 9: Repeat steps 1-9 with the second pair of materials. In Step 3, make sure you hold the tail at the same location as the first in order to make a similar sized loop.
Step 10: Take a scrap piece of wire and thread it through the chain near where your beads are connected. Ensure that the wire is through the same number of links on either side, such that the beads are even with each other. Cut off the excess chain with your side cutters by cutting both chains at the same time. This will ensure that the length of chain is even for both earrings without having to count links. I was having a hard time demonstrating this step, as I was photographing from above. Fusion Beads has a tutorial with some clear pictures. My technique differs in that I cut both chains at the same time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Step 11:  Open the eye of the earwire. Remember to open the loop by using your chain-nose pliers and twisting the loop open to the side. Never open a loop like a jaw, as this will cause the loop to be malformed.

Step 12: Thread the end of the chain into the earwire eye and close the eye by twisting it back into place.
Step 13: Repeat steps 11 and 12 with the second pair.
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
Wallah! Your first pair of earrings! Check out more pictures on my Google+ page.

Alternate Designs

This style continues to be a very popular and a time tested style. There are so many variations that you can do. Instead of ending the chain with three beads on one headpin, try several beads on their own eye pins.

Out to Sea Earrings

Or add multiple chains with beads.

Blackbird Earrings

Or attach beads up the chain.

PetalescentGayrell Drop Cluster Earring

Before ever learning this technique, I came up with my Green Leaves Earrings:

Or you can skip the chain:

In Bloom EarringsCrystal Copper Turbine Bead Antique Style

Or use a link instead of a chain.

I'm sure you will come up with plenty more ideas. For more inspiration, check out Pinterest.


Got questions? Got tips? Post in the comments below!

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