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Techniques, Tools, and Tips for How to Make Earrings

Updated on May 19, 2015

Earrings are an easy wearable-art craft to start.

Dangle earring. Photo courtesy of Stock.xchg, user Porah.
Dangle earring. Photo courtesy of Stock.xchg, user Porah.

Ideas for Creating Custom Earrings

Ideas for creating custom jewelry, including earrings, can be a simple as looking inside your closet, using a favorite object for mounting, or creating a unique pattern.

  • Matching outfits or contrasting colors are easy starts.
  • Small objects for post earrings can be made out of scrap polymer clay pieces, or tiny shells, solid beads or sanded and polished precious rocks and stones.
  • Beads can be strung in various designs to create different patterns.
  • Favorite vintage glass beads can be strung with newer colored beads.
  • Hoops can be be used plain with a single object, or with¬†rows of¬†filled flat head pins.

Using Flat Head Pins

Flat head pins easily creat a mulititude of designs from one single piece of metal. A flat head pin looks similar to a sewing pin, in that it has a head with a long stick from the top, only it has a flat point and can come in varying lengths and widths.

They are strung by simply layering bead after bead or stone after stone, with or without spacers, until the desired design is made. The end is finished by turning it into a loop with the help of needle nose pliers.

Flat Head Pin and Earring Resources

Cousin Gold Elegance 14K Gold Plate Head Pin, 12-Piece
Cousin Gold Elegance 14K Gold Plate Head Pin, 12-Piece
Cousin 25mm Gold Elegance Flat End Head Pin - 12PK/14K Gold Plated

Basic Knots and Curves from Wires

Knots and curves can be made from shaping hooks with pliers or special shaping boards that twist pliable wire into intricate designs. Beads can be joined together by placing special loop-shaped spacers between them instead of spacer beads. There are many different basic loops in jewelry making that can be used to make earrings by threading beads:

  • P-Loop: This is a loop at the very end of wire, made by twisting the wire with pliers. It forms a 'p' shape at the end. The P-Loop is the beginning for many loops.
  • Centered Loop: This is a P-Loop that has been centered on the wire by simply bending the end of the P-Loop with pliers until it is centered on the wire.
  • S-Hook: This is a two small P-Loops that have made opposite each other, so the wire forms an 's' shape. These are generally small connector pieces for bracelets, and also necklaces, but can be used for making a unique dangly look with small beads.

Wires & Pliers for Jewelry Making

Wire and Pliers Used in Earring Making

Wire: Wire is an important element in earring making, as most earrings will use wire in the design or the structure of the earring.There are many different choices. Here are some terms for wire:

  • Gauge. This is the actual thickness of the wire. The higher the number the thinner the wire (and the lower the number the thicker the wire). For example a 28-gauge wire will be much smaller, thinner, than a 10-gauge wire. Wire thickness can be termed in gauge or measured in acual millimeters.
  • Temper. This is the thickness (or softness) of the wire being used for the earring. When picking up wire at the supply house (craft store, department store, jewelry shop, etc) notic the temper. Wire can come in dead soft, half hard or hard.
  • Shapes. Wire can also come in different shapes, although most wires used will be traditional round. Different shapes can be used for different looks, like twist or square.
  • Make-Up. The material used for the wire can be copper, copper that's colored or sterling silver, which are all three very easy to work with and can be fashioned into many shapes and designs. Brass can also be used, but it is generally left for advanced projects since it is so hard.

Pliers & Cutters: These tools will twist, cut, bend and gripping wires, beads and other findings.

  • Needle-Nose Pliers. Probably the most used. These are great for bending wires and picking up very small objects.
  • Flat-Nose Pliers. These have a flat end at the nose, making it great for bending wire, and also for holding it down while other things are being added/taken off.
  • Round-Nose Pliers. With their round noses, they can easily bend wires into loop shapes.
  • Nylon-Jaw Pliers. As the name states, these have a coating on the end.
  • Cutters. These look like little snippers, and are used for cutting wire.
  • Combination Cutters/Pliers. These are pliers with cutters just down below the nose. A popular combination is the round-needle-nose pliers with a wire cutter attached.

Favorite Earrings to Make?

What is your favorite type of earring to make?

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