Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Make Earrings from Copper Wire

Before: Copper Wire
For this project, we took two copper orphan beads leftover from a past beading project and made the beads the focal point of our new copper earrings made from 18-gauge  and  20-gauge round copper wire  originally purchased at the hardware store for a household project.

Copper wire is an elegant and affordable alternative to sterling silver or gold wire. Some folks attribute certain health benefits to wearing copper. The fact that copper wire can be purchased at your local hardware store or electrical supply house is an added bonus.

These earrings are made entirely from copper. The earrings use the same ear wire findings as we used in our Earrings from Steel Wire. Theshape of the ear wire finding is the same. The gauge wire is the same. The look is very different. I love wire; wire techniques changed little since early man and yet the jewelry making possibilities are endless.

After: Copper Earrings by GeltDesigns
2 copper beads
20-gauge copper wire
18-gauge round copper wire

Wire Wrapping Tools
Nylon jaw plier
Wire rounder
Round nose pliers
Mandrel or three step pliers
Flush cutter or a side cutter 
Steel bench block
 Ball pein hammer

Step 1
Make the ear wire finding. Slide a copper bead onto the 20-gauge round copper wire.  Make a loop at the end of the 20-gauge round copper wire using your round nose pliers. Wrap the wire around three times to secure the loop.

Bend the wire just above the copper bead and then wrap the wire around a mandrel the size you want to make the hoop for your earring. We used an orange block "borrowed" from the toy box, but many household items can be used as a mandrel and ring mandrels designed for jewelry making can also be used.

Bend the end of the wire using a chain nose plier 
or a parallel flat nose plier to complete the ear wire. File the ends of the ear wire smooth using a wire rounder or flexible shaft  and cup burs.

Place the formed ear wires on a steel bench block and hammer the ear wires with a rawhide or plastic mallet to harden the ear wires without marring or adding texture to the metal.
Step 2

Make the dangles. Cut six pieces of 18-gauge round copper wire  so you have two lengths each of 1/2-inch,  3/4-inch and 1-inch long wire.

Make a loop at the top of each piece of cut copper wire. Place the copper wire on a steel bench block and hammer the copper wire with a  ball pein hammer to flatten and flare the ends.

Step 3
Assemble the earrings. Attach three of the dangles (one of each length) onto the loop of the ear wire.

Step 4
Repeat to create the second earring.

Related Tutorials
How to Make Your Own Wire Wrapping Tool Kit
How to Care for Your Wire Wrapping Tools 

How to Straighten Wire
How to Smooth Sharp Edges on Wire

How to Measure Wire
How to Use a Wire Gauge

How to Make Your Own Silver Bangle Bracelet
How to Store Beads 
GeltDesigns Tutorials by Topics  

Further Reading
Making Wire Jewelry: 60 Easy Projects in Silver, Copper & Brass
Inspired Wire: Learn to Twist, Jig, Bend, Hammer, and Wrap for the Prettiest Jewelry Ever
Wire Style: 50 Unique Jewelry Designs
Bead on a Wire: Making Handcrafted Wire and Beaded Jewelry
Wirework: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Wire Wrapping

Day 18. Week 3. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
Found materials: repurposed copper wire
New Jewelry a Day.


  1. Hello, I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wish you best of luck for all your best efforts. Switchgears, copper wire.