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I love colour and I love glass and wire put them together with a little fire and my passion is here to see!



Saturday, 1 May 2010

Wirework Tutorial -- How to make your own Earwires

Well I did promise a while ago some wirework tutorials and here is the first of them ~

How to make your own Earwires



This happens to coincide with the Inspiration Avenue Blog Party where you could find many other different types of tutorial. Click here to go check them out!!

(In this tutorial I assume you know how to turn a loop in wire!)

So here we go then ~~~




Equipment and Materials you will need:

Half Hard Sterling Silver Wire 0.8mm
Wire Cutters
Round Nose Pliers
Ruler
Mandrel - I have used a piece of steel piping, sometimes I use a jumbo pencil or you can use a pen barrel (make sure it is completely round - no flat edges to it)
Silver cleaning cloth

You also need for forging the wire:

Hammer ~ a Chasing hammer is preferable but a ball pein hammer will surfice (make sure it has a nice smooth head any dents etc. will mark the wire)
Anvil or steel block
Needle file



 


1.  Take your wire and unravel enough to use approx 8" then to stretch/straighten the wire, run it through your thumb and forefinger and few times (this also helps to harden the wire!)



NB: You don't need to straighten the wire completely this just helps with measuring the amount your require, as the curve already in the wire can be helpful in the process of making the earwires.

Cut 2 x 4" pieces of wire.



2.  Now to make a turned loop in each wire, grasp the wire with the round nosed pliers, making sure it is right at the very tip of the wire.


Turn a loop around the blade of the pliers.


NB: If you left the natural curve of the wire make sure you turn the loop in the opposite direction to the curve (see below).


Repeat to make a loop in the other wire.


3.  Take the mandrel (piece of pipe) and place the earwire over it, making sure the loop is facing out (perpendicular to the mandrel)


Curve the ear wire around the mandrel, at this point you could do both earwires at the same time, this helps to make them to near 'exactly' the same!


Bend them around the mandrel so the ends nearly touch the loops.  They will spring back and open again.


4.  Still holding the earwires together, grasp them approx ¼" from the end with your round nose pliers, bend the wires back slightly to give them a straight end.






It is your choice how far you want to bend them.

NB: I usually tweak the earwires a little now so that they both look completely even, until I am happy with them.

5.  Trim the ends so they are equal in length, make sure that both the earwires are held in the same position




They should look something like this!!

6. Now the ends need to be filed with the needle file to remove all the rough edges.


First flatten off the end, and then work around the edges, always pulling the file down across the wire with fairly small sweeps.

NB: NEVER file backwards and forwards across the wire ONLY downward sweeps!!


Repeat for the other earwire.

Depending on what, the loop end of the earwire, seems like you may want to file these too. Either before you make the loop or you could twist the loop out slightly so you can get the file in to smooth the ends, don't forget to straighten again afterwards!

7. Now to help strengthen the earwires you need to do a little forging of the front part of the wires.  Place the earwire onto the anvil or steel block

With the chasing hammer now lightly hammer only the front part of the earwire, making sure not to hammer the loop,



turn the earwire over and do the same to the other side.

Repeat for the other earwire.

NB:  The forging process can distort the earwires sometimes so they will need a little tweaking to help straighten them again.

8.  Well all that is needed now is to clean the earwires to give them a lovely shine and remove any dust particles.  I generally use a silver cleaning cloth as they are quite small but if you have a tumbler this can help strengthen them or you can use a Dremel like power tool too.



There now your very first pair of earwires!!! All made by your own fair hand!!

Have Fun and Good Luck!

16 comments:

  1. What a fabulous tutorial, I'm sure loads of women will love this! So happy to see you joined in the fun!
    Hugs♥

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  2. WhooHoo ... I love this tutorial. I've seen custom ear wires and always wondered how one did that. Now I know! Thank you so much!

    Have a great weekend!

    Small Footprints

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  3. Great tutorial! These are the perfect addition to a lovely pair of handmade earrings!

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  4. Oh thank you Sharon, I hope to do more soon too.

    Thanks you Footprints I am so glad you like it.

    And thank you Maggie I have really enjoyed making my own earwires lately so I thought I would share!!

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  5. Great tutorial Elaine, very easy to follow and it's fascinating for a non-jeweller like me to see how you do that! Lovely to see you at the party!

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  6. Thank you Angie, been a bit absent lately but I am slowly getting back to everything again.

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  7. Thanks for this Elaine, I love the way they look! So elegant!

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  8. Gorgeous wires, Elaine! Makes me want to get back in to jewelry making. Thanks for coming to the party!

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  9. Very Nice! Enjoyed your post!

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  10. Very informative! I have always purchased the pre-made loops. You have encouraged me to try them on my own.

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  11. everyone can get useful information from your blog.

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  12. Thank you, I am having a series of jewellery making tutorials. More still to come yet! 80))

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  13. Your tutorial is an awesome inspiration! Many thanks for sharing. I would like to feature your designs at http://www.handmade-jewelry-club.com/

    Contact me here if you have a concern.

    Jane
    http://diylessons.org/

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  14. Very happy to be included. Thank you.

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