Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.
Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

These changeable ear cuffs would be fun to sell (or to give as gifts) with a selection of dangles to wear on them.

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

You can wear a single ear cuff on one ear – or make a pair to wear at the same time.

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This style is a nice alternative for people who don’t wear pierced earrings.

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Or for people who like to wear more ear adornments in addition to their earrings!

Supplies for One Ear Cuff:

  • 1 piece of 20-gauge round soft wire, 4″ (10.2cm) long.
    I used Artistic Wire / Craft Wire.
  • Ruler – to measure where to mark your wire.
  • Regular black Sharpie marker (or other all-purpose marker) – for marking your wire.
  • Ultra fine tip Sharpie marker – to use as a mandrel.
  • Wire cutter.
  • Wire rounder / cup bur, jewelry file, knife sharpening stone, or emery board – to smooth and round your wire ends.
  • Round nose pliers.
  • Supplies for dangles to hang on your ear cuff – jump rings, charms, chains, beads, headpins, etc.

A Note About These Ear Cuffs:

Although many ear cuffs are made to wear interchangeably on either ear, this particular ear cuff design is made to fit specifically either a right ear or a left ear:

Left ear and right ear - Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

The long side of the ear cuff wraps around the back of the rim of your ear; the short side of the ear cuff wraps around the cartilage inside your ear:

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Both left and right ear cuffs are made exactly the same – until it’s time to bend them around your Sharpie mandrel.

That’s when you choose whether to make a left ear cuff or a right ear cuff.

How to Put on an Ear Cuff:

The easiest way is to put the ear cuff around the top of your ear, and then slide it down to the area where you’d like to wear it:

How to put on an ear cuff - Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

The short side of the cuff should wrap around the cartilage inside your ear, and the long side of the cuff should wrap around the back of your ear.

Gently bend the ends of your ear cuff to get a secure, comfortable fit for your unique ear.

How to Make a Wire Ear Cuff
with Changeable Dangles:

Cut your 4″ (10.2cm) piece of wire.

Now we’ll round and smooth both ends of this wire, using a wire rounder / cup bur (or jewelry file, knife sharpening stone, or emery board):

Smoothing ends of copper wire - Rena Klingenberg

Next we’ll make two marks on our wire so we’ll know exactly where to bend it.

Lay your wire against your ruler, and use your Sharpie to make these two marks on your wire (the blue lines represent where you’ll make your marks):
Marking wire for Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll bend the wire on the two marks we just made.

The instructions for each step are below this photo:
Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Photo 1:
    Use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp your wire, right on the 0.75″ mark you made on the wire.
  • Photo 2:
    Now bend both wire ends straight downward.
  • Photo 3:
    Now use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp your wire, right on the 1.25″ mark you made on the wire.
  • Photo 4:
    Bend both sides of the wire straight down.

Now your wire should look something like this:

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

It’s time to make the small loop at the top of the ear cuff.

Use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp the tip of the short end of your wire:

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . and roll that wire end into a small loop:

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like this:

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll make an open wire spiral with the long straight end of the wire.

(If you’re new to making open wire spirals, see my quick video, How to Make an Open Wire Spiral.)

Use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp the tip of the long end of your wire:
Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll curve the wire into an open spiral.

The instructions for each step are below this photo:

Making an open spiral for Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Photo 1:
    Roll the wire end into a tiny hook (which will end up becoming the center of the open spiral).
  • Photo 2:
    To grow the open spiral, keep moving your pliers a tiny way along your straight wire, making a small curve in the wire each time you move your pliers.
  • Photo 3:
    Continue to move your pliers along your straight wire in tiny steps, making a curve with each step, until you’ve built an open spiral that’s directly across from the small loop you made in the other end of your wire.
  • Photo 4:
    Now your wire should look like this.

Use your round nose pliers to tweak your wire a bit, to make the small loop and the open spiral each touch the straight wire that runs across the middle of your ear cuff:

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Your wire should look like the image below.

Look at the “wings” that stick out on each side of your ear cuff. You should see one short wing and one long wing:

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now it’s time to bend our wire around our mandrel (our ultra fine point Sharpie marker).

This step is where we choose whether to make the ear cuff fit the left ear or the right ear (as shown in the image below).

If you lay your wire across the Sharpie with the short wing on your left, you’ll make an ear cuff to wear on the left ear.

And if you lay your wire across the Sharpie with the short wing on your right, you’ll make an ear cuff to wear on the right ear:

Left ear vs. right ear - Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Once your make your choice of left ear or right ear, it’s time to bend your wire around the Sharpie mandrel.

The instructions for each step are below this photo:

Shaping the ear cuff for Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Photo 1:
    Place your thumb on top of your wire. Your thumb should cover the small loop and the open spiral.
  • Photo 2:
    With the fingers of your other hand, bend the “wings” of your ear cuff as far as you can around the Sharpie mandrel.
  • Photo 3:
    Now remove your wire from the Sharpie, and use your round nose pliers to give the ends of your ear cuff more of a curve.
  • Photo 4:
    Now your ear cuff is finished.

How to Attach Dangles
to Your Ear Cuff

You can wear your ear cuff unadorned, or add changeable dangles like charms, hoops, chains, beads on headpins, etc.

Simply thread them onto the open spiral at the bottom of your ear cuff like this:

Adding a dangle to Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Wire Ear Cuff with Changeable Dangles - 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. This is a great tutorial, Rena! Thank you! I’ve been meaning to get around to learning how to make ear cuffs, firstly for myself, because my piercings are low on my earlobe (I self-pierced when I was a teenager and should have done them higher). I have to be really careful of the pierced earrings I wear now – I usually only wear studs now to keep the weight up instead of pulling the earlobes down. So this is a good, and pretty, option for me, and will of course lead to me selling them hopefully. πŸ™‚

  2. Rena, your tutorials have very clear text and wonderful step-by-step photographs. This is a project I’ve seen many times but never with so much clarity. Great job! I’m reading your blog over breakfast and now I want to rush to my workshop and make things!

  3. Thank you, Tamara and Susan! I appreciate your kind words! πŸ™‚

  4. Exquisite tutorial! I don’t usually wear ear cuffs but this one has me thinking and reconsidering that adornment.

  5. Your tutorials are always so wonderfully detailed! My tween daughter is very into these right now. Over the summer she wanted me to make her some for her back to school wardrobe. So I made a few wild ones – not really knowing what I was doing, but she was thrilled. Then my mother took her shopping and she came home with a bunch of cool ones. Knowing she has many to choose from and seeing her come downstairs with the ones I made every once in a while makes me feel so good.
    I can’t wait to try the interchangeable dangles! I am going to show her your tutorial – maybe she can do it too! Thank you, Rena!

  6. I love this tutorials… This is something I wanted to try doing from long..cause I love it….tx a lot….it makes me so exited…

  7. Wonderfully simple design with endless possibilities. Thanks!

  8. Bula Rena!

    This is so cool! Must make some as have not seen any here in Fiji – maybe
    will start a trend!Thanks so much for sharing as have been making recycled copperwire bracelets and rings with freshwater pearls so this will be something
    new and different!! Vinaka (Thanks) Pat

  9. Dear Rena,
    Well, I tried the tutorial for ear cuffs and low and behold, inside of an hour I made six pair! Now I have another direction in which to go, thanks to you and you’re clever tutorials. Just think, of how well these will go with the dangerous curve necklace.
    Marcia Dooly

  10. Wow Rena! These are great and very simple to make. Thanks so much for sharing your hard work with everyone. I’m selling at a marketplace this weekend and will be making some in copper, brass and silver. I’m sure they’ll be a hit!!! πŸ™‚

  11. Dear Rena: Thanks so much for this tutorial. I’ve been looking for a tutorial like this.. you make it look so simple.. The pictures are so clear. I’m definitely making these!!
    Thanks again,

  12. I just made one….never thought I would wear one, but without the dangle on, it is so light and comfortable I cannot even tell I have it on!
    Thanks Rena, once again for a lovely and wonderful tutorial!
    Wonder if anyone has a suggestion on how to display these if you don’t have an ear form??

  13. Julia, thanks for your lovely comment on this project! I’m so glad to hear how well it worked for you. πŸ™‚

    For displaying several ear cuffs at a show or party, what about some sort of tree branch element? Either a natural branch or one from a craft store / floral shop. We have some tree branch jewelry displays people have shared here on JMJ. Or maybe some sort of display with one or more dowels that could hold several ear cuffs?

  14. What a great way to use up those single beads you always have left over from another project. I think at 61 I’m too old to wear ear cuffs; however, I think I’ll make one and wear it anyway. Thanks for such clearly illustrated instructions, I think I’ll make a pair before I go to bed tonight.

    Mary

  15. With this great tutorial, I could even make these great earrings.

  16. Hi Rena, This is a great tutorial, I am also passed the big 6,0, and think these would be great even for us older girls since you can change the dangles and make them to suit age and personal preference. I will be sure to try these for myself and for my new business as soon as I can get it started. That will be very soon I hope, hoping for the first show for Christmas this year. Am almost ready now. Thank you for all the great tutorials, I really like this one.
    Thanks Joan

  17. Great tutorial. You have made this super easy to follow along with even for those completely new to working with wire. I also love how the “dangles” or charms can be swapped out, it makes them that much more functional. I cannot wait to make one for myself (no pierced ears so cuffs are the way to go!)

  18. Wow, this is so so cool! I love ear cuffs so I’ll have to try it.

  19. I would love to have one of these. Do sell them too?

  20. Hi Tanya, thank you for asking! I’m not selling these right now, but you can easily make these ear cuffs from this tutorial. I promise it’s a simple, fun project! πŸ™‚

  21. I’m so psyched to hear from so many of you who have made or are planning to make these! Thanks so much for letting me know – I love to hear about what you make from my tutorials! πŸ™‚

  22. What a great tutorial. You make this look so simple – thank you for sharing. Cathy

  23. wow love this ear cuff! always such great step by step tutorials here.

  24. What a great tutorial πŸ™‚ love how they turned out πŸ™‚

  25. This is a neat project. Thanks so much.

  26. This is so cute! The dangles are especially pretty πŸ™‚

  27. Rena, thank you so much for this great tutorial.

  28. this is perfect Rena, I have also made some of these with hypoallergenic wires of various kinds. It was on my list for next so you are just in time, Next is ankle bracelats, easy t go with my toe rings, Great for my Boulder customers. These are somewhat seasonal, but the earcuffs are perfect all year round.

  29. Paula J Countryman says:

    I have pierced ears but I love ear cuffs too because they’re so versatile. Thanks! I know what I’m giving the women in my family for Christmas! πŸ™‚

  30. My website is under construction..there is a slight change in my domain name. Long story..Anyhow..
    Rena, I absolutely love your tutorials! I took the class and am hoping you do more classes!
    This earcuff is perfect! Thank you..

  31. Thank you for sharing Rena. I have seen these ear forms that you are showing your cuffs on and would sure like to know where I could get a set. If you wouldn’t mind sharing that infor please.

    thank you

    sherryk

  32. Thanks for asking, Sherry! Mine is from Etsy seller BodyDoubleArts.

  33. Thank you so much for letting me know.

  34. I love this tutorial! My sister has wanted me to make her some ear cuffs for awhile. Now I can. πŸ™‚

  35. That’s awesome, Paula! I’m sure she will love that they were made by you.

  36. Rena, I love your tutorial. I’ve tried to make earcuffs by looking at pictures and they have been a disaster. I can’t wait to try again using your tutorial. Thank you so much.

  37. Laresia Kelly says:

    were did you get your ear stands, its just what I’m looking for to help me with all my earring making and cuff making as well. Thank you for your time, and I loved all of your work, beautiful .

  38. Thanks for asking, Laresia! Mine are from Etsy seller BodyDoubleArts.

  39. Emmy Tarr says:

    Hi Rena:
    This is my first time commenting. I have enjoyed your newsletter and all the fellow beaders who respond. I have been making earcuffs for a while now and was wondering where I can buy display ears like the ones above. Thank you for all the information you share.

    Emmy

  40. Hi Emmy, thanks for commenting – it’s nice to hear from you. πŸ™‚ I’d love to see your earcuffs if you’d like to share them in our JMJ gallery!
    My ear displays are from Etsy seller BodyDoubleArts.

  41. Kendall says:

    love love love this! please make more ear cuff tutorials these are amazing πŸ™‚

  42. Thanks so much for your enthusiastic feedback on this tutorial, Kendall! I will add “more ear cuff tutorials” to my to-do list! πŸ™‚

  43. Judith says:

    Rena, I love this ear cuff and thank you for this. However, I am new to wire wrapping and the first time I wore it in public I lost the dangle I had attached to one cuff. Without making a new set of cuffs for every dangle, how can I ensure that I don’t lose any more dangles? Thanks for any help.

  44. Hi Judith, I’m so sorry to hear your dangle came off your ear cuff. I would recommend making a tighter spiral that holds the dangle, so it won’t be so easy for the dangle to travel around it and come off. Let me know if this works for you!

  45. This is a fantastic tutorial, great pictures and instructions. I will try those very soon. Thank you very much for uploading!

  46. Where can i purchase the realistic model of the ear you are showing??
    I am unable to find any good mannequin head that really accepts posts and hoops to use for photos.
    Thanks so much.

  47. Thanks for asking, Anna! Mine is from Etsy seller BodyDoubleArts.

  48. I had a go at making one of these for my daughter, but she finds the wire too soft and it is now misshapen. Should I harden it first or use a hard wire in the first place?
    I would love to master these as I have been inspired by this easy to follow tutorial to make so many more things like them.

  49. Denise, thanks for asking! You may want to try a harder wire or a heavier gauge, and see if that helps. The ear cuff does need to be a bit malleable so it can be custom fitted to the individual ear.

  50. What a Great Idea. Its look amazing and superb. Thanks for sharing ur Idea πŸ™‚

  51. Your tutorials are the best ever!!! I canΒ΄t wait to make my own ear cuff!

  52. Thank you, Erica! That’s lovely to hear! πŸ™‚

  53. Lawrence Dallas says:

    Thank you for your tutorial! It is easy-to-useβ™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯ Lawrence Dallas

  54. Rena, I just love your tutorials! I’ve made so many fun items. This ear cuff
    was fun to make and fits great on my own ear. Do you have another section of tutorials of various ear cuff designs besides the one above? I would love to make more.

  55. Becky, thanks so much for your lovely feedback on my tutorials – it’s wonderful to hear that you’ve made so many of them. This is my only ear cuff tutorial so far – but perhaps I should make another one? πŸ™‚

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