Sunday, March 13, 2011

Make Earrings from Ballpoint Pen Caps

Before: Ballpoint pens
As soon as we saw the purple caps of these ballpoint pens, my daughter and I were excited. The color was yummy and we decided the caps would make great cone components for earrings. We used brass wire and added a pearl dangle taking advantage of leftover pearl earrings from an old beading project.

After: Pen cap earrings by
2 ballpoint pen caps
2 pearls
headpin or  20-gauge brass wire
ear wires or 22-gauge brass wire

Gather your tools
Jewelry saw and blades
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Needle files

Wire cutter
Nylon jaw pliers
Steel bench blockRawhide mallet

Step 1
Cut off the tails of the pen caps
Cut off the "tail" of the ballpoint pen cap with a jewelry saw to create a cone. The pen caps we selected are a lovely shade of purple, but you can use any caps you like. If needed, sand the caps with sandpaper until smooth.

Step 2
Make loop below pearl
Feed a pearl on the wire. Make a very small loop below the pearl so the pearl will stay on the wire.

Step 3
Measure 2 mm less than the length of the pen cap (about 2 inches) and make a second larger loop at the other end of the wire. Wrap the excess wire to secure the loop. Trim the excess wire with a wire cutter and file the ends of the wire until smooth using needle files.

Step 4
Make a loop on another piece of wire. Secure the wire wrapped loop of the pearl drop to the loop of the second piece of wire. Feed the second wire through the top of the cone of the pen cap until the loop is at the very top of the cone. (Our pen cap had a hole at the top of the cone, but some do not and may need to be drilled).

Step 5
 Create a third loop on the outside of the cone. Wrap to secure the loop and hold the pearl dangle in place. Trim the excess wire. File the ends of the wire smooth with a needle file.

Note: Only the third loop will be visible on the finished earring, so take care that this third loop is round, well wrapped and as close to perfect as possible.

Attach the ear wires
Step 6
Make the ear wires. Place the formed ear wires on the steel bench block and hammer with the rawhide mallet to harden the ear wires.

Step 7
Attach the ear wires to the loop at the top of the cone.

Related Tutorials
How to Make "Fish Hook" Ear Wires
Make Earrings from Copper Wire
Make Earrings from an iTunes Gift Card
Make Dog Earrings from Toys
Make Earrings from Scrap Wire  

Further Reading
"101 Wire Earrings: Step-by-Step Projects and Techniques"; Denise Peck; 2009.
"The Earring Style Book: Making Designer Earrings, Capturing Celebrity Style, and Getting the Look for Less"; Stephanie A. Wells; 2010.

Day 112. Month 5. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
Found materials: ballpoint pen caps

New Jewelry a Day.   

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