Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tutorial: How to Make Earwires

Handmade earwires are one of those things that add an extra personal touch to your jewelry. When I first became a metalsmith, I learned all these fantastic techniques, but would still purchase my earwires. I decided to take it upon myself to learn how to make my own earwires and as it turns out, they are pretty easy to make. Below are some easy instructions for some simple, sterling silver earwires.

Materials you will need for this project: 20 gauge Sterling Silver wire, ruler, round nose and flat nose plyers, wire cutters, pen, leather or plastic hammer, anvil, jewelry file and sand paper
Step 1: Cut 1.5" lengths of wire. You can adjust the length of wire you need according to the type of earwire you are planning to make.

Step 2: Make a small loop at the end of the piece of wire with your round nose plyers. Consider making a mark on the plyers to remember your spot - so your loops will be the same size.

Step 3: Holding the loop in place with one of your fingers, wrap the wire length around the pen (mandel). Repeat for all lengths of wire, and check to be sure that your pieces are the same size.

Step 4: Use your round nose (or flat) plyers to make a curve towards the bottom of the earwire. Repeat for all pieces, checking to be sure you are curving all pieces in the same place. Trim earwires as neccessary (and to your liking).

Step 5: Harden the earwires by placing them on your anvil and tapping with a plastic or leather hammer. You want to use a plastic/leather hammer so you don't mark up the metal.

Step 6: File the bottom of the earwires until they are smooth. You may also use a cup attachment for your flex shaft/drummel to round the bottom of the earwires. Run the earwires over some sandpaper, if necessary.

Voila! You now have made your very own handcrafted earwires. You can make many pairs at the same time, so you'll be all stocked up. Have fun crafting!


Jamaila said...

I never knew this was so simple! I'm going to buy an anvil RIGHT NOW. :D

jenygwen said...

great tutorial

Elisa Shere said...

Thanks, I'm glad it was helpful!

S. Kahlon said...

I love this. Question though: How necessary is the anvil to the process. What does it do, exactly?