Handmade Earrings: A Step By Step Illustrated Guide
First, you need to acquire a few basic tools. These tools can be found at any arts and crafts store, at Wal-mart, or various online stores. For this exercise, you will need:
- 3-in-1 Needlenose Pliers
- 2- 5mm Jumprings
- 2- Fish hook earrings
- 2 each- 20mm Green Opal Triangles, 8mm open circle silver spacers, 6mm silver rounds (if you don't have these exact types of beads, you can substitute other beads or colors, but for the purpose of this exercise, try to use the same sized beads)
- 2- 25mm Headpins
- 2- Plastic earring backs
For styling purposes, if you use silver colored fish hooks, use silver colored jumprings, round beads, and spacer beads. If you use gold fish hooks, use gold colored jumprings, round beads, and spacer beads.
Step 1: We will begin by beading one of our headpins. This is very simple. You just put your beads on the headpin in any order that looks good to you. For this exercise, I've put the opal triangles first, the open circle spacers, then the 6mm round bead.
Step 2: Next, you will use your needle-nose pliers. The headpin is just a little bit too long. This can be solved by two ways. First, you can use a smaller headpin, such as a 20mm instead of a 25mm. However, for this exercise, I chose a 25mm headpin so that I could demonstrate the use of wire cutters. A wire cutter can be purchase separately from a needle-nose plier, but a 3-in-1 tool saves money. If you look closely at your 3-in-1 tool, you will see two parts of the tool:
- the long "needle-nose" part is used for holding small parts, as well as making loops in wire
- the cutters are used to cut wire
Cut the excess wire from the headpin, but make sure you leave about 1/2" of wire so that you can make the loop. If you cut too much, use another headpin until you cut the correct amount. It may be easier to take the beads off of the headpin and cut it down to size, then put the beads back on.
Step 3: Next you want to create a loop at the top of the headpin. You will use the needle-nose pliers to do this. There are two steps. First, bend the wire at a little more than a ninety-degree angle. Next, you're going to begin creating a loop by wrapping the wire around the needle. The needle starts at a small diameter and gets larger. For smaller loops, use the small part. For larger loops, go higher on the needle. For our exercise, start somewhere near the middle of the needle. Finish the loop. You may have to re-adjust your pliers or your hands (sometimes I have to switch to an underhand position). Make sure you completely close your loop so that it won't slip off of the jumpring. This part becomes easier with practice.
Step 4: Next you are going to slip your finished loop onto a jumpring along with one of the fish hooks. You may have to open your jumpring just a little. Hold one side of the jumpring near the opening with your needle-nose pliers, and the other side with your hand (if you have two pairs of needle-nose pliers, this step will acutally be easier), and gently use a twisting motion to open the ring. Do not pull it out of the shape of the circle! (See illustration to the right). Slip your loop and the fish hook onto the jumpring, and then close it back the same way that you opened it--with the twisting motion. Make sure the opening is completely closed.
You have now completed one earring. Simply follow the steps again to make your other earring, and you will have a completed, beautiful, custom-made pair of earrings.