Easy Fancy Earwires (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved
This easy, fancy earwire design is frequently used in handmade jewelry, and it’s good to know how to make this style for yourself.
These earwires are quick to make and add a lovely, graceful touch to earrings.
- Two pieces of wire, each 7cm long.Depending on the size of your ear piercings, you can use 18, 20, or 21 gauge wire – preferably hard or half-hard wire.
Your wire should be a metal that’s suitable for use in piercings – such as sterling silver, Argentium silver, gold-filled, copper, brass, etc. (I would not recommend using coated craft wire in ear piercings.)
For more info on choosing wire gauges and metals for pierced ears, please see my Earring Wire Guidelines.
For the earwires you see on this page, I used 20 gauge copper wire.
- Wire cutter.
- Cup bur, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone – for rounding and smoothing wire ends.
- Sharpie marker.
- Ruler that can measure centimeters.
- Round nose pliers.
- Flat nose pliers.
- A small piece of #0000 steel wool for additional smoothing of the wire end that will be inserted in your ear piercing.
- Optional: Jeweler’s steel block and hammer (plastic, nylon, or rawhide) for hammer-hardening finished earwires.
How to Make
Easy Fancy Earwires:
Let’s start by cutting your 2 pieces of wire – each 7cm long:
Next, use your cup bur, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone to round and smooth both ends of each of your wires.
We want them to be really smooth so they’ll go safely through your ear piercings:
Now we’re going to use a Sharpie marker and ruler to make two marks on each earwire (shown by the blue lines in the image below).
These marks will show us exactly where to bend the wire:
We’ll make one earwire at a time.
We’ll start by making the curve at the top of the earwire, which we’ll shape by using our Sharpie marker as a mandrel.
So place your wire across your Sharpie, so that the mark that’s 3cm from the wire end is centered on top of the marker:
Place your thumb on top of the wire’s 3cm mark, to hold it firmly against the Sharpie.
Use the fingers of your other hand to bend the wire ends downward:
Now your wire should look like this; notice that our 3cm mark is in the center of the curve we just made:
Now use your round nose pliers to grasp the other mark on your wire (the one that’s 1.5cm from the other wire end).
I’ve used my Sharpie to mark my pliers where I want to make this bend, so I can make exactly the same size bend in all the earwires I make during this jewelry session:
Use your fingers to push the wires upward on each side of the pliers.
Keep pushing until your wires touch each other:
Now your wire should look like this; notice that our 1.5cm mark is in the center of the bend we just made:
Use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp the tip of the wire that’s closest to your 1.5cm mark:
Roll that wire end into a tiny loop; you should be rolling it away from the rest of the earwire:
Now use your flat nose pliers to grasp the other end of your wire, right at the tip:
Make a tiny bend at that wire end:
Now your wire should look like this:
Repeat the above steps to make your second earwire.
Use your steel wool for a final smoothing of the wire ends that will be inserted in your ear piercings.
Then remove your Sharpie marks from the earwires using a small scrap of paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol.
(You can also remove the Sharpie mark from your round nose pliers with rubbing alcohol.)
I recommend hammer-hardening your finished earwires, using a steel jeweler’s block (or other smooth, hard surface) and plastic, nylon, or rawhide hammer:
Your finished earwires should look something like this:
Here’s how this fancy earwire looks as part of a finished earring: