by Rena Klingenberg.
These waterfall earrings can be as simple or as dramatic as you wish. And this project is a great way to use up some of your wire scraps!
On each earring I’ve used 10 copper sticks that are 3 cm long. But you can make yours much longer or shorter – and you can use more or fewer sticks (and you can also use ready-made headpins instead, if you prefer).
- 20 beads – 3 to 4 mm size (I used Czech glass beads).
- 20 pieces of round wire, each 3 cm long. Use the thickest gauge of wire that fits comfortably through your beads. (I used 20 gauge soft copper wire). If your wire is thinner than 20 gauge, use half-hard wire. (Note: You can also substitute headpins in place of making your own wire sticks.)
- 1 pair of earwires (I used copper handmade earwires).
- 2 large jump rings (mine are 15 mm). I like having the jump rings in a color that contrasts with the rest of the earrings.
- Wire cutter.
- Cup bur or jeweler’s file for smoothing and rounding wire ends.
- Round nose pliers.
- Flat nose pliers.
- Metal hammer for flattening wire (I used a chasing hammer).
- Steel jeweler’s block.
How to Make
Cut your 20 pieces of 3 cm wire (or trim wire scraps to that size).
Use a cup bur or jewelry file to smooth and round both ends of each piece of wire:
Place one of your 3 cm wires on your steel block and use your hammer to flatten one wire end into a paddle shape. Then do the same with one end of each of the rest of your wires:
Your wires’ paddle ends should look something like this:
Now string one bead onto each of your wires, with the paddle end as the stopper that keeps the bead from falling off the wire:
Next we’re going to make a plain loop on the opposite end of each of your 20 copper sticks. (If you’re new to making loops, or have trouble making them, see my 2 minute video, How to Make a Plain Wire Loop).
Use a Sharpie marker to make a mark on one jaw of your round nose pliers, so you can make all of your loops exactly the same size on your copper sticks. This finished loop will need to be a nice size to fit onto your big jump rings:
To make the wire loop, use your round nose pliers to grasp the non-hammered end of your copper stick. Your wire should be right on the mark you drew on your pliers:
Now use the tips of your pliers as shown, to bend the loop backward until it’s centered over the main wire stem like a lollipop:
Now your wire stick should look like this. I’m making my loops perpendicular to the paddles, so that when the loop end is strung onto my big jump ring, the flat side of the paddle blade will be facing outward. (You can easily use flat nose pliers to gently twist either the loop or paddle to make them perpendicular to each other.)
When you’ve finished making the loop on each of your wire sticks, you should have a pile that looks something like this:
Now bring in your two big jump rings:
And use your flat nose pliers to gently twist one of them open:
Now start stringing your copper sticks onto the jump ring:
. . . until you have 10 sticks on your jump ring:
Use your flat nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut again. Your earring should now look like this:
Now attach one of your earwires to the jump ring (depending on your earwire design, you may need an additional small jump ring to attach your earwire):
Now finish up the second earring the same way you did the first one.
And your finished pair of waterfall earrings should look 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.