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Friday, December 2, 2011

Classy Drop Earrings Tutorial

This is the last of the Handmade Holidays Tutorials this week, I hope that you have enjoyed them. ;0)

Today we will be making these lovely earrings.

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I’ll be teaching you a very simple wire-wrapping technique.  You will need a tool for this, a pair of special pliers.

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See how the tips are rounded?  That will help you make a nice loop for attaching your earring to the ear wire.  These are called “round nose” or “rosary” pliers and can be found at craft stores where they sell beading supplies (I think Walmart even sells them).  While you could pay a hefty price tag on high quality pliers, the cheap ones (under $10) are good enough to do this project and help you to decide whether you want to become a beader and invest more in a better pair in the future.  And they’ll last.  You’ll get many many pairs of earrings out of them.

For one pair of earrings, you will also need:

  • a pair of ear wires.  I used leverback earrings, but you can use any style you like.  You can also use posts if they have a little loop for attaching your earring.  These earrings are base metal.  You can use sterling, if you like.
  • 2 headpins in a finish to match your ear wires.  These are about 1-1/2 - 2” long.  On the headpins, choose lightweight wire ones that are easy to bend.  If they are perfectly straight as a rod in the package, you don’t want them, you want something that will be easy to manipulate. Don’t be afraid if they are slightly bent in the package, you can straighten them.
  • At least one bead per earring.
  • optional:  I added beadcaps (the little cup shaped beads) and some smaller accent beads.  If the head of the headpin goes right through the hole of your main bead, put a smaller accent bead (with a small hole) on first.

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Pick up a headpin.  It looks a little like a really thin nail.  The “head” of the pin will be the bottom of your earring.

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Thread on a small accent bead.  I chose a silvertone bicone.

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Thread on your main bead.  This is a glass 8mm two-tone firepolished bead.  Add your bead cap if you are using one.

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Now, notice that this beadcap has a large hole which means it doesn’t want to sit straight on the bead?  I added a small, round bead that fits in the hole and keeps it in place.

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Next, grab your wire just above the beads with your pliers, like so.

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With your fingers, bend the headpin against the pliers so it forms a 90 degree angle.

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Now, grab the headpin just above the bend with the tips of your pliers, like so.

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You are going to use the rounded pliers as a sort of mandrel to form a loop.  Gently bend the wire (with your fingers) back over the plier tip.

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Keep bending it around until you have a loop.. 

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Thread your ear wire onto the end of the head pin and slide it into the loop.

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Now, grab the loop you made flat in your pliers.

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Grab the end of your headpin with your fingers, and gently start wrapping it around itself, just above the beads and just below the loop you made.

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Gently use your pliers to make sure the end is wrapped tightly and your coil is nice and neat.

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Once you get the hang of it, you can use this technique to make more complicated designs, even chandelier earrings.

In addition to all the other prizes in the Handmade Holidays Giveaway, our winner will also receive these 2 pairs of earrings!

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Be sure to check out the Handmade Holidays Linkup for more ideas for simply crafty gifts.

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