Bead & Coil Earwires (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Bead and coil earwires are one of the most common manufactured earring findings.

But we’re going to put a creative spin on this type of jewelry component.
Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

We’ll make a pair of these earwires with colorful beads (and if you like, you can make contrasting coils too)!
Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I hope this tutorial also inspires you with how small changes can make a big difference between ordinary and unique jewelry details.

Supplies:

  • 20 or 21 gauge round soft or half-hard wire – 2 pieces, each 5.5cm (2.17″) long.
    We’ll use this for the earwires, so be sure to check my earring wire guidelines.
    I used 21 gauge copper wire here.
  • 22 gauge round soft wire – for the coils.
    I used Artistic wire for this.
  • 2 beads – one for each earwire.
    Recommended bead size: 3mm or 4mm beads in any shape; or size 6/0 seed beads.
    Make sure your beads’ holes are big enough to string onto your 20 or 21 gauge wire.
    I used size 6/0 pink & orange iridescent seed beads from this collection:
    Seed beads for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg
  • Round nose pliers.
  • Flat nose pliers.
  • Wire cutter.
  • Wire rounder, cup burr, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone – for smoothing and rounding your wire ends.
  • Small piece of #0000 steel wool – for final smoothing of your earwire ends.
  • Sharpie marker – for marking your pliers.
  • A piece of 18-gauge round brass wire, about 5 or 6cm (2 to 2.5″) long – to use as a mandrel for making your wire coils.
    I recommend using brass because it’s a fairly stiff, sturdy wire that won’t bend while you’re winding your coils around it.
    But you can use any sturdy wire – or any other object that’s the size of 18 gauge wire.

How to Make
Bead & Coil Earwires:

Tip:

The beads and coils for these earwires are quite small – and if you drop them, you might never find them in the carpet!

So you may want to work over a tray to catch any runaway seed beads or mini-coils. 🙂

We’ll start by making our coils.

Cut a piece of 18 gauge round brass wire, about 5 or 6 cm (2 to 2.5″) long, to use as your mandrel for winding the coils around.

Brass wire mandrel for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

We’ll be winding our 22-gauge Artistic wire around this piece of brass wire.

We’re going to work with the 22 gauge Artistic wire directly from the roll, since we don’t know the exact length of wire we’ll be using.

Hold the 18 gauge brass wire horizontally, and lay the tail of the 22-gauge Artistic wire across it at an angle.

Use your flat nose pliers to tightly grip both wires on the spot where the Artistic wire lies across the brass wire:

Making wire coils for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

With the fingers of your other hand, wind the Artistic wire from the roll tightly around the brass wire mandrel about 5 times.

Tip: You’ll make the best coil by pulling the wire taut as you wind it around the mandrel. Don’t push the wire around the mandrel; instead, pull the wire firmly and wind it tightly:

Making wire coils for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Remove your wire coil from the mandrel:

Making wire coils for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use your wire cutter to clip off both wire ends from your coil:

Cutting wire coils for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Make a second coil, so you’ll have one for each earwire.

Your finished coils should look like this:

Wire coils for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Set your coils aside.

Now we’ll work on the earwires.

Cut 2 pieces of your earring wire, each 5.5cm (2.17″) long:

Wires for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your wire rounder, cup burr, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone to round and smooth each end of both wires:

Smoothing ends of copper wire - Rena Klingenberg

To make your earwire loops a uniform size, use a Sharpie marker to mark a spot on one jaw of your round nose pliers, fairly close to the tip:

Marking pliers for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

(You can remove the mark from your pliers later with a bit of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel scrap.)

Now we’ll work on one earwire at a time.

Use your round nose pliers to grasp the tip of one of your 5.5cm wires. The wire tip should be on the mark you just made on the pliers:

Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Roll that wire end into a loop:

Making wire loop for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your wire should look like this:

Wire loop for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use the tips of your round nose pliers to straighten the loop so that it’s centered at the end of the wire, like a lollipop:

Straightening wire loop for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your wire end should look like this:
Wire loop for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

String one of your beads onto the wire, so that the bead rests against the loop you just made:

Adding a bead to Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then string one of your coils onto the wire, so that the coil rests against the bead:
Adding a wire coil for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll make a bend in the wire, just above the coil.

This bend will prevent the coil and bead from sliding off the hook of the finished earwire.

Using the tips of your flat nose pliers, grasp the wire just above the coil:

Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then make a bend in the wire so that your wire looks like this:

Bending earwire for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now use the widest part of your round nose pliers to grasp the wire, right above the bend you just made:

Making the hook for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your fingers to pull the wire tail tightly around one jaw of your pliers, forming the hook of your earwire:

Making the hook for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:
Almost finished - Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your #0000 steel wool to completely smooth the tip of your earwire.

Now use the tips of your flat nose pliers to grasp the tip of your earwire.

Make a small bend at the end of the wire:

Making the final bend for Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your finished earwire should look like this:

Finished earwire - Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Make the second earwire, the same way you made the first one.

Your finished earwires should look something like this:

Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Bead and Coil Earwires - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Want to Learn the Basics of
Designing Your Own Wire Jewelry?

Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components Class In my Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components video class, you’ll learn how to get great ideas for wire jewelry designs – and then follow my easy system for turning those ideas into successful pieces of jewelry.

By the end of this online video class, you’ll be designing and making your own artistic earwires, clasps, connectors, and pendant bails.

You’ll also learn my tips for making wire jewelry more easily, with more professional looking results.

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Rena, I love it 🙂
    Many thanks for sharing your unique and useful tutorial 🙂

  2. Rena thank you! Love your tutorials!

  3. What a clever and easy way to make beautiful earrings. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you Rena! I have been wanting to move away from using pre made findings. This makes me realize I need to push myself more into doing that. These are wonderful!

  5. Thank you for your consistent sharing of easy to understand tutorials. I look forward to them. They have always been helpful to me. This tutorial is so clearly laid out that I will definitely work on making my own ear wires!

  6. Thank you, Rena. What a lovely idea and your instructions and pictures are so clear. Your free tutorials are much appreciated!

  7. This is great!!! Thank You

  8. Thank you so much for this clear and easy tutorial. The ear wires are great.

  9. I love the way you make your ear hooks, and I’ve been doing the same but just a bit differently without cutting the wire to make the the coils, just by making one part of the wire much longer then the other side to finish, first making the coil on the longer side of the wire. Finishing the hook itself using my smaller wubbers. LI have to admit it took lots of practice and using my nylon straightening tool to perfect it.

  10. This is a great tutorial! I’m pinning it for later. I love the customised bead idea.

  11. I love this!!! Just the right info to fill in on the things I have wondered about. Thank you. 🙂

  12. I love these! Pinned and tweeted.

  13. Great tutorial 🙂

  14. This is an extremely well thought out and detailed tutorial! Kudos!! A lot of the jewelry making tutorials I have seen I would not feel were comprehensive enough. You did a stellar job!

    xo
    ~Cathy~

  15. Beautiful tutorial. I love your stuff, Rena. Best wishes for a wonderful New Year. Linda Crafts a la Mode

  16. Fantastic tutorial! I started to make my own earwires last year, but they are very basic. This adds a nice touch.

  17. This is so neat! Love your details with the photos!

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and not charging for tutorials. I do pay for a few, but I appreciate your generosity at this tight time in my life :). Your pictures and instructions are so easy to follow, anyone could make lovely baubles!

  19. I have made two pairs of bead and coil ear wires. I love the way they turned out! I used 20 gauge silver filled wire. I used a 6mm Swarovski crystal instead of a small bead for one pair of earrings. The 6mmm crystal didn’t look too big because the lace earring was large. I see how much sturdier they are than the ones purchased in bulk that I have been buying. I have had two complaints regarding the 925 sterling silver wires, because of their softness and how they go out of shape. I will make my own wires more often, now. Thank you, again, Rena, for your tutorial!

  20. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on this project! 🙂
    And Carol B, thank you for your update on how well this tutorial has worked out for you – that’s wonderful to hear!

  21. Angela Softley says:

    Thamks for shsring you knowledge with us I love the earring wires! Will def keep looking at this site, so inspirational ☺

  22. Carolyn says:

    I look forward to your newsletters…they are always jam packed with information. I started keeping a notebook of your tutorials. You show such great detail. I have never had a problem following them and I love the fact that you give measurements for everything. I am a precious metal clay artist and love to make the entire article, so making my own ear wires is great. Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge so freely. You are greatly appreciated by many.

  23. Thanks so much for your lovely message, Carolyn! I appreciate that. I’m glad to hear the tutorials are really useful for you!

  24. Roz Rogers says:

    Renal I’m so glad I found your newsletter. First day and I’ve learned so much already . Your instructions are so clear. I’m new to making jewelry and have found your instruction so encouraging. Anxious to learn more as I enjoy your tutorials. Thank you so much!

  25. Welcome Roz, and thank you so much for your lovely message! That’s wonderful to hear. Enjoy diving into the tutorials here! 🙂

  26. Sue Goodloe says:

    When I save a pattern from one of your journal newsletters how do u keep the project name of the saved pattern from changing to the issue number? This way u have to open every saved issue no. To find what u want to make.

  27. Hi Sue, thanks for asking! I need a little more info on what and how you’re saving. Are you saving the whole newsletter issue? Or are you going to the actual page the tutorial is on? And are you saving it to email, or other format? I’ll be glad to help if you can let me know a sort of step-by-step of what you’re currently doing that isn’t working the way you want it to. 🙂

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