Handmade Ear Wires
By: Francesca West Watson of Roadhouse Arts

There's nothing wrong with store-bought ear wires… but when you've put that much thought and love into one of your creations, why not add a personal finishing touch? It's super easy and customizable for your particular design needs. These ear wire styles can be made with any kind of wire; sterling, copper, or craft wire will all work just fine. 20 gauge is the most popular choice for size; 18 gauge is good for heavier designs. (B'Sue sells a variety of wire that's perfect for this project.)

You'll need the following tools and supplies:
  • Wire of your choice
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Beadsmith Looping Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Bench block
  • Chasing hammer
  • Beads of your choice

1. Start with two 3" lengths of wire. Using your round-nose pliers, make a loop in the very tip of the each wire.



2. Drop one side of the round nose pliers just below the bottom of the loop on the side of the wire away from the loop opening. Using this bottom side of the pliers as leverage, bend the stem of the wire back towards you slightly. (This centers the loop on top of the wire like a lollypop instead of making a "P" shape.)



3. Place the wires (loops on top) into the Looping Pliers with the metal stepped mandrels towards you. Pull the bottom of the wire up and over the mandrel.



4. Remove the wires from the Looping Pliers. Use your flat nose pliers to gently bend up the bottom of the ear wires. Use the cutters to clip the wires off about a quarter of an inch below the bend. (Note: to change the look of the ear wires, place the bend higher or lower on the tail end of the ear wire.)



5. Finish the ear wires by gently hammering along the curve to harden the wire and make them springy. Then add your earring component(s) and enjoy!



CONGRATULATIONS! You made ear wires!

Now for a fun variation!
  • Cut longer lengths of wire to start - how long will depend on the beads you use to dress up the ear wire. Make loops on one end of each wire just like in steps 1 and 2 above.
  • Slide one or more beads onto each wire and snug them down against the loops. Bend the remaining wire over the bead(s) at about a 45 degree angle.

  • Being careful not to unbend the 45 degree angle you just made, place the ear wires in the Looping Pliers and bend the wire around the mandrel like you did in step 3 above. (If your beads are particularly bulky, reverse the Looping Pliers so that the beads hang down instead of being on top.)

  • Make the bend in the bottom of the wires like you did in step 4 above, allowing extra length to keep the ear wires balanced. Clip off the excess and hammer the curve to work harden it, then hang your earring components!


Whichever kind of ear wire you make, don't forget to take a piece of fine sandpaper or a file to gently smooth the cut end of the wire. No snags!



www.roadhousearts.com
www.francescawatson.com

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Would you like to design a project for our website? All designers will get full credit, links to their website and a gift certificate to spend any way they like at B'sue Boutiques website. Contact B'sue for details at bsue1441@aol.com.