Make Your Own Earring Earwires Without Tools
You can make your own ear wires easily at home, without using any special tools at all!
In my exploration of making jewellery and looking at tools, I've also taken time out to see what can be made easily, with the minimum of tools or even with no tools.
To make your own ear wires is very easy to do and the cost of materials is negligible - if you plan on making your own jewellery for resale, or for yourself, then being able to quickly make your own ear wires makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable and affordable.
Why buy 100 pairs of ear wires when you only need 2-4?
I have also costed the wire and compared it to buying ready made ear wires and it is significantly cheaper to make my own, sometimes ready-made ear wires are 4-5x dearer!
Best Wire for Ear Wires
If you are making your own ear wires then you do need to think about the thickness of the wire you're using.
Best Gauge of Wire To Use for Ear Wires
The best wire gauge for ear wires is 21 gauge (21ga), but you can use 20 gauge or 22 gauge as they are more readily available. In metric sizes, you want a wire that is 0.6mm to 0.8mm in thickness.
Too thick a wire and the ear wires will be uncomfortable and heavy to wear; too thin a wire and they will bend out of shape too easily and if you are attaching beads then they will pull out of shape.
Best Wire Shape to Use For Ear Wires
There are three shapes of wire: Round, half round and square. If you are making ear wires then you will need round wire else they will be peculiar and uncomfortable to wear.
Hardness of Wire
Wire is defined in hardness, for making ear wires you will just need half hard wire or soft wire. This will be easy to bend, then easy to harden once you've made your ear wire.
- 2x 2"/5cm of wire 0.6-0.8mm/20ga - 22ga. Once you've made your first wire you can measure it to get the length more accurate next time
- Scissors - the best tool is side cutter pliers, but this article is to make ear wires wtihout tools...
- A pair of round-nose pliers if you have them, or a thin rod of strong material - a nail is ideal
- A fat pen/pencil
- A regular pair of pliers, or two coins.
Using pliers makes life a whole lot easier, but the purpose of this ear wire tutorial was to show you how you can make your own ear wires without tools.
Pliers give you a consistent finish - and the best way to grip, hold and control what you are making.
To make ear wires you'd usually use:
- Round nosed pliers, to create the initial loop
- Flat pliers, to create the kink in the end of the wire
So, pliers are really something you need if you're planning on making 20-30 sets of ear wires, but if you're just wanting to make 1-2 today then you don't need pliers to make ear wires.
Materials to Make Your Own Ear Wires
All you need is some wire. You can do this with craft wire, sterling silver, silver plated wire, copper wire, or any wire you have in your drawer if you simply want to try this out. The wire needs to be soft, as you'll be bending it into shape.
For each ear wire you will need approximately 2"/5cm of wire. Cut two pieces to the same size using a pair of strong household scissors.
Step 1: Make A Loop
The first thing you need to do is to make a loop at the end of each piece of wire. If you have round-nosed pliers, then this is quite easy to do as the pliers grip the wire at the end and you simply use your finger to push the wire round the pliers.
If you are using a nail or other round short rod then you might find this a little fiddly as your wire isn't being gripped - but it's doable ...
Step 2: Make The Ear Wire Shape
You'll now need your big fat pen. You need to bend the wire round the whole pen, giving you your basic ear wire shape.
If you want to make larger ear wires, you can use a bigger pen, if you want to make smaller ear wires then use a smaller pen.
The loop you just made needs to be curving away from your pen, you can use the metal clip of the pen to help hold it in position.
Simply bend the wire round your pen carefully, all the way round.
Step 3: Make the End of the Ear Wire
At the end of your loop you now need to create a "kink" in the wire, so it points away from the ear wire loop - this makes it easier to put on and prevents it from sliding off.
You can do this with or without marking your ear wire with a sharpie or similar.
Simply grip the end of the ear wire in some flat nosed pliers and bend it outwards. If you're using coins then grip the wire between two coins and bend it away from the ear wire to create the bend.
And that's it! You now have an ear wire that you made yourself, that has a handy loop to attach beads or chains.
Finish Your Ear Wire
Now you've got your ear wire shape and kink, simply snip off the end of the wire with your scissors.
Flatten and Harden Your Wire
Your wire is probably still too bendy to stay in shape for too long - it might also not be entirely flat. You need to harden your ear wire and straighten it. You can flatten and harden ear wires by bashing them gently with anything nylon, or rubber or wooden. Bashing gently half a dozen times hardens up the metal. Hit the ear wires on both sides to make sure they are flat.
As a jeweller, you'd have a nylon hammer for this purpose, so that's something for your list of tools for the future!
... And Finally
This is the part you can miss out if you're really doing this with no tools - and if it's for you.
Deburring Ear Wires
Ear wires are made of .... well, wire... and as you cut it it has sharp edges. If you're going to put the ear wire through your pierced ear then you can expect some discomfort as it goes through. If you're making these ear wires for yourself because you need some right now, or because you had 10 minutes, some wire, a pen and found this article, then there's no need to deburr your ear wires.
But in the real big bad world you'll actually want to smooth off the end of your wire. In fact, you might have wanted to smooth off the first end before you turned it into a loop. That one's not so important as the end of the wire you put through your ear.
To smooth off (deburr) the end of your ear wire you've three choices:
- Grab your nearest nail file and run the end of the wire down the entire length (one long sweep, in the same direction, each time) a few times. Job done.
- Get yourself some fine sandpaper and run the end of the wire down the entire length (one long sweep, in the same direction, each time) a few times, until it feels smooth.
- Use a proper deburring tool. This is a special file that has a particular shape. Insert your ear wire into the end and twist it round a nunber of times. This will hone the end of the wire into a smooth (but not sharp) point.
That's it! Your own ear wires.