Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a huge fan of working with wire (except for the projects I made from Rachel Nelson Smith's fabulous book, Seed Bead Fusion.) But sometimes it pays to know your way around a set of wire-working tools, especially when you want to make a quick pair of earrings as a gift or to match a fabulous new beaded necklace.
I found my (meager) wire-working skills came in handy earlier this year during a weeklong class I taught at a local middle school. We were making gorgeous beaded jewelry, and suddenly we ran out of ear wires! Tragedy was narrowly avoided when I realized that I could whip up ear wires using the sterling silver wire I had brought along for another project using nothing more than a pair of pliers, a wire cutter, and a permanent marker. Here's how to do it:
1. Cut a piece of wire about 1½ inches long.
2. On one end, make a small loop. Don't make a wrapped loop, or you won't be able to attach your earring dangle later!
3. At this point, you can slide on a small decorative bead, if you'd like.
4. Grasp the top of the wire just above the bead (if you added one) with your pliers and make a 90-degree bend in the wire parallel to the loop you made.
5. Place a permanent marker (or pencil, dowel, or other smooth round object) against the wire and bend the wire around to form a large curve.
6. Shape the ends of the wire with your fingers and trim any excess, if desired. You can also smooth the ends of the wires down with a metal file or jeweler's file.
7. Make a second wire to match the first, and you've got a pair of handmade ear wires!
Here's a hint: want to make it even easier? Use a premade eye pin with a loop already there and just add a bead and bend the wire!
Are you "hooked" on wire now? Get 10 5-Minute Wire Jewelry Projects and explore some more fast and easy wire jewelry projects!