Hoop & Bead Earrings (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg.
These classy hoop and bead earrings are simple to make – and will quickly become a favorite to wear!
Although I’ve adorned these earrings with beads, they’re also lovely to wear as plain hoops without beads.
- Two pieces of 20- or 21-gauge round wire, hard or half-hard; each 69mm (2.72″) long.
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.
I used 20 gauge copper wire in this tutorial.
- 6 Beads – 2 rondels and 4 seed beads.
To make sure you can slide your beads around the curved wire, choose rondel beads with holes that are slightly large fit on your wire.
I used these 2 Czech glass faceted rondel beads in 8x5mm size, plus 4 seed beads in 6/0 size:
- Ruler for measuring and marking your wire.
- Fine-point Sharpie marker (or other all-purpose marker), for marking your wire.
- Wire cutter.
- Cup bur or jewelry file for smoothing and rounding your wire ends.
- Ring mandrel – or other cylindrical item with a diameter of about 14.07mm (0.554″) – or a circumference of about 44.2mm (1.74″) – for shaping the bottom curve of your hoops.
- Flat nose pliers.
- Round nose pliers.
- Chain nose pliers.
- A small piece of #0000 steel wool for additional smoothing of the wire ends that will be inserted in your ear piercings.
- A few drops of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel scrap to remove the Sharpie ink from your wire.
- Optional (but recommended): Jeweler’s steel block (or other smooth, sturdy surface) and a nylon, plastic, or rawhide hammer for work-hardening the finished earrings.
How to Make
Hoop & Bead Earrings:
The earrings we’re making here will have a finished size of 15x27mm (0.6″ x 1.06″) – including the beads.
We’ll start by cutting our two wires. Each wire will be 69mm (2.72″) long:
Now we’ll use a cup bur, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone to smooth and round both ends of each wire, so there won’t be anything sharp on the ends:
Now working with one of your wires at a time, use your ruler and Sharpie marker to measure and mark the 2 places on your wire shown below.
The blue lines across the wire show where to mark your wire:
Now mark your second wire the same way as your first wire.
When you’re finished, your wires should be marked like this:
Now we’re going to work with one wire at a time to turn our wires into earrings.
Get out your ring mandrel (or other object you’re using as a mandrel).
We’re going to shape the bottom curve of your wire hoop.
Place your wire across size 3 on the ring mandrel.
The 30mm mark you made on the wire should be centered across the mandrel.
Now wrap the wire ends smoothly downward around size 3 on the mandrel, making a horse-shoe shape – with the 30mm wire mark in the center of the horse-shoe curve.
Press the wire ends slightly toward each other, so that your horse-shoe is now almost a teardrop shape:
Remove your wire from the mandrel.
It should look like this (with the 30mm wire mark in the center of the bottom curve):
It’s time to use your plastic, nylon, or rawhide hammer and steel jeweler’s block (or other smooth, sturdy surface) to work-harden your earring.
This will help make your earrings stronger and sturdier.
Hammer all over one side of your wire; then turn the wire over and hammer all over the other side:
Now string your beads onto your wire:
Slide the beads around till they’re centered on the big curve of your earring:
Now we’ll make the top part of your earring.
Use your flat nose pliers to grasp your wire, with the plier jaws just above the 12mm mark you made on the wire:
Bend the wire straight over toward the other end of your wire:
Your wire should look like this, with the two wire ends crossed:
Now we’ll make the little hook that will be the latch for your earring.
Use the tips of your round nose pliers to grasp the tip of your vertical wire end:
. . . and roll that wire end downward into a neat little hook:
Now your little hook should look like this:
Let’s take a moment to straighten and adjust your wire, so the top wire of your earring will work nicely with the little hook you just made.
You may need to use your fingers to press the long sides of your earring closer together, so that the top wire of your earring protrudes slightly beyond the hook, as shown in the photo below.
Also use your flat nose pliers to adjust the angle of your top wire so that it touches the inside of your little hook:
Now use the tips of your chain nose pliers to grasp the tip of the straight wire at the top of your earring:
. . . and make a tiny bend, so that the wire tip will point upward when the earring is worn:
Use a small piece of #0000 fine steel wool to completely smooth and “sand” the tip of your earwire so there’s nothing but smooth surfaces to go through your ear piercing.
Now your finished earring should look like this:
Remove the Sharpie marks from your earring using a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a scrap of paper towel.
Now make the second earring, the same way you made the first one.
When you’re finished, your pair of hoop and bead earrings should look something like this:
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.