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How to Make Beaded Chain Earrings

Updated on January 2, 2015

A Free and Easy Beading Tutorial

Would you like to make your own earrings -- but can't manage those pesky head pins? Need a simple, handmade gift idea for a daughter, mother, or friend? Are you looking to get started with jewelry making, but not sure where to begin?

In these step-by-step instructions I'll show you how to craft unusual dangle earrings out of jump rings and beads. They're easy to make, and have a great "chain maille" look to them. Best of all, they're a quick and inexpensive beading project that anyone can do.

Beaded Chain Earring Materials

You will need:

  • 12 8mm jump rings
  • 24 6/0 (3mm) seed beads
  • 2 earring wires or clip-on earring backs with a loop
  • rubber backs for ear wires (optional)
  • needle nose pliers

Opening and Closing Jump Rings

Open the jump rings before you start. Some people do this with two pairs of pliers, but I find it easier to use one pair and my fingers; choose whichever works for you.

[illustration: Sonja Marshall-Bone at WikiHow]

Hold the jump ring on either side, with the seam pointing upward. Pull one side toward you, and the other side away from you. This is the best technique to open a jump ring, as it doesn't distort or stretch the ring. Closing a jump ring works the same way; simply twist the two sides together until the ends meet.

Supplies: 8mm Jump Rings - Jump Rings and Tools for Earrings

Jump rings come in a variety of metal tones. You can buy jump rings at your local craft or bead store, or shop online.

Take the first open jump ring and thread two beads onto it. Then close the ring with the same motion that you used to open it, in reverse.

Hang your beaded ring onto another open ring. Now thread on two more beads, but this time make sure the first ring is between the beads. Close the second ring.

Continue adding jump rings to make a chain, threading two beads onto each ring as you link it up. Arrange them so that each ring hangs between the two beads on the ring above. Each earring uses six jump rings. In the diagram above, you can see several ideas for arranging the colors of your beads.

Supplies: 6/0 Glass Seed Beads - 6/0 Beads for Earrings

6/0 seed beads (also called E beads) are 3-4 mm wide, just big enough to fit on the jump rings. Metallic beads, opaque glass beads, transparent or translucent beads, or beads with an iridescent finish give different effects to your beaded earrings.

Add Earring Backs

Now it's time to finish your earrings. Using your pliers just as you did with the jump rings, open the small loop on the bottom of your earring finding. Hang your beaded chain on this loop, and close it again. Do the same with the other earring.

If using French wires (also called "fish hook" earrings), you may want to add small rubber plugs to keep the earrings secure.

Supplies: Earring Findings - Wires and clips for earrings

French wires are the easiest findings to use for making pierced earrings. If making clip-on earrings, be sure to use a finding that has a small loop at the bottom -- not the kind you glue things onto.

Earring Ideas

  • You can try using bigger jump rings and beads to make bolder earrings, or smaller ones to make more delicate earrings.
  • Make the chain shorter or longer, depending on how long you like your earrings.
  • Use a large needle to poke holes in a handmade earring card to show off your earrings.
  • Handmade earrings make great stocking stuffers, Easter gifts, or party favors.

Got a comment, question or suggestion? Drop it here.

Did you enjoy this jewelry tutorial?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I really like these earrings. Easy to make and it won't be such a strain on my eyes as some of the other earring I made in. Great lens and tutorial, thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Cool i'll try to make 'em! I 9 and yes i did like this tutorial! )

    • profile image

      gaser983 4 years ago

      Awesome lens, thanks for sharing! Squidlike

    • damoiselle profile image
      Author

      damoiselle 4 years ago

      @anonymous: ....okay? Nobody's holding a gun to your head.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      maybe with brighter beads and colored rings, but i wouldn't do this.

    • nadinartglass1 profile image

      Nadin Art Design 5 years ago from Israel

      I really like the article! Already shared with my friends!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You've got my creative juices over flowing this is a good thing. Many Blessing to you.

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 5 years ago from California

      Very nice tutorial for these unique earrings. Angel blessings.

    • profile image

      ernad18 5 years ago

      nice

    • damoiselle profile image
      Author

      damoiselle 5 years ago

      @KimGiancaterino: Thank you!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I used to make earrings a long time ago. Maybe I'll try it again with French wires and some colorful beads. Excellent tutorial.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      It looks very helpful

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      This is perfect. I bought some beads on ebay last year because I thought they would make great earrings but it is so overpowering to go into Micheal's jewelry section with no idea what I need to pick up. I didn't want to have to buy a jewelry book just to learn how to make one pair of earrings. Thanks!

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 5 years ago from London

      Like the BIG diagrams...makes it really easy to understand.

    • damoiselle profile image
      Author

      damoiselle 5 years ago

      @greenspirit: Thanks! That was the goal :)

    • damoiselle profile image
      Author

      damoiselle 5 years ago

      @BusyMOM LM: Thanks, glad you enjoyed! :)

    • BusyMOM LM profile image

      BusyMOM LM 5 years ago

      Very cool lens. Nicely done. Will try this out myself!