by Rena Klingenberg.
Each of these earrings is made from a single piece of wire – it’s a hoop and earwire all in one.
I added small glass dagger beads to these earrings, but you can design them with any beads you can string onto the wire.
Alternatively, you can omit the beads and make these into lovely plain hoop earrings:
- Two pieces of round soft or half-hard wire, in 20 or 21 gauge. Each piece of wire should be 16 cm (6.3″) long.
Be sure to use a type of wire that’s safe to use in ear piercings (see my Earring Wire Guidelines).
In this tutorial I used 21 gauge copper wire.
- A small collection of beads that will fit on your wire.
I used small glass dagger beads in gold and purple – 5 beads on each earring:
- Wire cutter.
- Cup bur, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone to smooth and round wire ends.
- Ring mandrel for shaping hoops and earwires.
Or you can use any hard cylindrical objects (dowel, PVC pipe, pill bottle, marker, lipstick tube, etc.) – one with a circumference of about 8 cm; and one with a circumference of about 4.25 cm.
- All purpose marker (such as a Sharpie) for marking your wire.
- Flat nose pliers.
- Chain nose pliers.
- Small piece of #0000 steel wool to smooth the end of your earwire.
How to Make
Beaded Hoop Earwires:
We’ll start by cutting our two wires – each 16cm (6.3″) long:
Now on each of your wires, use your marker to make a mark that’s 5cm (2″) from one end of the wire:
The 5cm end of your wires will become the earwires, and the 11cm end of your wires will become the hoops.
Use your fingers or nylon-jaw pliers to straighten the 5cm part of your wires.
Leave the natural curve in the 11cm part of your wires.
Now we’re going to work on one earring from start to finish, and then make the second earring.
Use your cup bur, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone to smooth and round the end of your wire that’s closest to your 5cm mark:
Use the tips of your flat nose pliers to hold your wire, right next to the mark you made on it:
Bend the wire at a 90-degree angle, so that the mark you made is now in the middle of the bend:
Now your wire should look like this; the short straight end will be the earwire, and the long curved end will be the hoop:
Now pick up your ring mandrel (or whatever you’re using as your 8cm-circumference mandrel), and wrap the long, curved end of your wire around the widest part of it to form the wire into a complete circle.
Your circle should have a wire tail a few cm long.
Keep the straight, shorter end of your wire pointing upward:
Now your wire should look like this:
String your beads onto the hoop part of your wire:
Now your wire should look something like this:
Place your hoop back around your mandrel and gently shape it up, without damaging your beads or kinking your wire:
Holding your hoop firmly in this shape with your fingers, slide your wire off the end of your mandrel.
Now we’ll secure the hoop’s shape by wrapping the tail of the hoop wire around the straight earwire stem.
(If you’re new to making this type of wire wraps, see the technique in my easy 3-minute video How to Make a Wrapped Wire Loop.)
Use your flat nose pliers to hold your hoop near the top, and use your chain nose pliers to wrap the hoop’s wire tail about 3 times around the base of your straight earwire end:
When you’ve finished your wraps, use the flat side of your wire cutter to snip off the remaining tail of your hoop wire end.
Use your chain nose pliers to squeeze down the end of your wire wraps so it won’t poke or catch on anything.
Now your earring should look like this:
Now we’ll turn the straight end of our wire into an earwire.
First we’ll bend the wire stem slightly backward, so that when we make the earwire curve it will stand up nicely instead of drooping forward.
Hold the earring so that the wire hoop faces you and the straight stem points upward.
Just above the wire wraps you made, grasp the wire stem with the tips of your flat nose pliers.
Use your flat nose pliers to bend the straight wire stem backward, at about a 30-degree angle.
Now your wire should look like this:
Now we’ll use our ring mandrel (or your smaller mandrel) to shape the earwire.
Pick up your ring mandrel (or whatever you’re using for your 4.25cm-circumference mandrel):
Beginning with the tip of your wire stem, wrap the wire around ring size 3 on your mandrel.
Wrap the wire as far around the mandrel as you can:
Slide your earring off the mandrel, and grasp the tip of your earwire with the tips of your flat nose pliers.
Make a slight bend at the tip of the earwire:
Now use your fine steel wool to thoroughly sand, buff, and polish your earwire ends so they’ll be smooth and comfortable in your ear piercings:
Your finished earring should look something like this:
Now make your second earring, the same way you made the first one.
Want to Learn the Basics of
Designing Your Own Wire Jewelry?
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.