How to Make Long Earwires
© by Rena Klingenberg; all rights reserved.
Here’s how to make long earwires (also called almond earwires or marquise earwires, because of their shape):
You can make these in any length, from short to ultra-long. The lovely curving lines make this style of earring finding a very graceful alternative to the standard French hook style.
These are fast, fun, and easy to make – and they add a wonderfully artistic touch to your handcrafted earring designs.
Tutorial: Make Long Earwires
Skill Level: Beginner
Supplies and Tools:
- 20-gauge round wire – half hard would be best; here’s how much wire you’ll need for each of the three sizes shown above:
* For long earwires (70 mm high) – two pieces of wire, each 116 mm long.
* For medium earwires (45 mm high) – two pieces of wire, each 83 mm long.
* For short earwires (25 mm high) – two pieces of wire, each 58 mm long.
- Sharpie marker or other felt-tip pen
- Round nose pliers
- Chain nose pliers
- Jewelry hammer – rubber, nylon, or rawhide
- Steel block or other smooth hammering surface
- Jewelry file or bur cup
- Mandrel (your cut wires should be able to go halfway around it); here are some things you can use for a mandrel:
* For long earwires (70 mm high) – shampoo bottle, soup can, etc.
* For medium earwires (45 mm high) – vitamin bottle, bracelet mandrel, etc.
* For short earwires (25 mm high) – ring mandrel, PVC pipe, etc.
Decide which earwire length you’ll be making (the long, medium, or short version), and cut the two pieces of wire you’ll be turning into earwires:
Using your ruler and Sharpie marker, make a mark on each of your earwires to indicate where you’ll be making the angled bend:
- For long earwires (70 mm high) – make your mark 35 mm from one end of each wire.
- For medium earwires (45 mm high) – make your mark 27 mm from one end of each wire.
- For short earwires (25 mm high) – make your mark 23 mm from one end of each wire.
Wrap each of your cut wires around your chosen mandrel.
Because we want shape the wires into a gentle arc (NOT a full circle), your wires should only be able to reach about halfway around your mandrel:
Remove your wires from the mandrel. You should have two nicely curved pieces of wire.
Now you’re ready for your round nose pliers.
On my pliers (shown below), the Sharpie mark that’s closer to the tip on the top jaw of my pliers is where I’ll be making my loop:
Take the end of your wire that’s farthest from the Sharpie mark you made earlier on the wire, and grip it in your round nose pliers.
Your wire should be lined up with your “loop-making mark” on your pliers jaw:
Now turn your round nose pliers till you’ve made a full loop at the end of your wire.
When your long earwires are finished, this is the loop that will hold whatever you decide to hang on the earwire:
Make an identical loop on your other wire.
Then put your round nose pliers aside and get out your chain nose pliers:
With the tip of your chain nose pliers, grip one of your wires exactly where you placed the Sharpie mark on it earlier for making your angled bend:
With the fingers of your other hand, gently press the two curved sides of your wire toward each other, creating an angled bend where your pliers are gripping the wire:
Now insert the very tip of your chain nose pliers into the loop you made in your wire earlier.
Gently bend the neck of your loop to center it at the end of your wire:
Do the same to the other wire.
Now you should have two earwires that look like one of these pairs (depending on which size you’re making!):
Using your steel block as a base, use your jewelry hammer to give each of your new earwires a good whacking all over – on both sides.
The goal here is to make the finished piece lie nicely flat, and to “work harden” your wire so the earwires will hold their shape:
When you’ve finished hammering your earwires, use your jewelry file or bur cup to thoroughly smooth and round off the end of your earwire that will be inserted into the earlobe.
Be sure there are no rough edges:
Now your lovely new long earwires (or medium or short ones!) are ready for you to hang your creations from the loops at the bottom.
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.