Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Make Earrings from Steel Wire

Earrings by GeltDesigns
I am not sure why we bought this 19 gauge annealed dark steel wire or with what project we used it. I found it in the junk drawer in the utility room of our basement and I was not sure what gauge the wire was until I measured it was our round wire gauge. Perhaps you have a similar drawer -- a place that collects the remnants of past projects and mysterious spare parts (for things that may have broken long ago and may no longer be in the house).

No matter why we bought it, I was excited when I found the wire. 19 gauge is a perfect gauge to make earrings. The fact that the wire was factory  annealed meant we could skip the annealing step when making our earrings and the wire would be easy to form. Moreover, since the steel was already dark meant we would not have to worry about aging the wire or other heat or chemical patinas to add color to our earring design.

These earrings are simple in design, easy and quick to make, but elegant to wear with blue jeans or ball gowns. As always, here is a tutorial on how we made them:

Step 1
Make the ear wire. Make a small loop at the end of the wire. Wrap the round wire around a mandrel. For these earrings we used a green block "borrowed" from the toy box. Cut the wire with flush cutters after you wrapped the wire completely around the block one time. Use a wire rounder or a flex shaft ( or pin vise) and cup burs to file the end of the ear wire smooth. Take care when you file the ends of the wires as sharp wires are not good for ears. :)

Step 2
Make the first component. Make another loop at the end of the wire and wrap the wire around a mandrel. You can use the same mandrel or you can select another size using a marker, pen, pencil, broom handle or ring mandrel. Trim the wire (with flush cutters or other wire side cutters) once you wrapped the wire around your mandrel. Create a second, identical size small loop at the end of the wire. File both wire ends as you did in step 1.

Step 3
Make the second component. Use your mandrel to make a large "S" link. If you do not know how to make an "S" shaped component, see our tutorials listed below. Trim the wire (with flush cutters or other wire side cutters). File both wire ends.

Step 4
Assemble the earring. Open the loop on the bottom of the ear wire with your pliers and attach first the "S" link and then second the hoop. Close the ear wire with your pliers.

Step 5
Repeat to create the matching earring.

Related Tutorials
How to Measure Wire
How to Use a Wire Gauge
How to Make Your Own Hoop Ear Wires (with or without Beads)
Make Your Own "S" Clasp 
Make Your Own Beaded "S" Clasp
Make Your Own "S" Chain
Make Your Own Beaded Drop
All about Patina
GeltDesigns Tutorials by Topics  

Further Reading
Wired Beautiful
Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders: Creative Wirework Projects for All Levels
The Earring Style Book: Making Designer Earrings, Capturing Celebrity Style, and Getting the Look for Less


Round nose pliers  or 3-Step wire looping pliers
Chain nose or bent nose pliers
Wire rounder or needle file
Wire side cutters or flush cutters
Mandrel or Wrap n' Tap Pliers
Small ball pein hammer, plastic or rawhide mallet
Wire rounder or wire rounder set with pin vise and 2 cup bursWire Gage

Day 10. Week 2. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
New Jewelry a Day.

1 comment:

  1. Wouldn't the coating on the dark annealed wire be bad to use on the earwire itself? Also the coating comes off easily, what do you treat the earings with so the black color doesn't rub off onto the wearer?