Jewelry Making Basics 4 – Five Ways To make Ear Wires
After many polymer clay tutorials, today I want to shift gears and discuss a basic wire wrapping topic — making ear wires. In this article, I am going to show you five simple and elegant ear wires designs using gold filled wire. And share the tricks to keep your two pieces of ear wire identical.
I’ve categorized five ear wire designs into two categories — circular and U shape. First, I’ll show you how to make the basic shape; then the design variations. Each pair of ear wires needs about 15 cm/6 inch long 20-gauge jewelry wire.
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Circular shaped ear wires
As you can see, the three designs above are all based on a circular shape, with one or two ends bended outwards. You can easily create something like that following the simple steps below.
To make two identical circular shapes, wrap a piece of wire in a ring mandrel three times; bend the two ends outward; then cut the coil in the middle using a cutting plier. As a result, you will get two identical circles with long tails (picture 6). This is the base for our next three ear wire designs.
Circular design No.1 — Closed Ear Hoops
Starting with our basic circle, bend the long end to a small U shape using a bail making plier. Cut the excess and file the ends down as in picture 4 and 5. Then bend the shorter end outward using a chain nose plier. Repeat the cutting and filing process as before. Finally, hammer the piece in a bench block to harden and flatten the wire a bit. Now you have it — a simple hoop earrings that can be closed at the back.
Circular design No.2 — Swirly Ear Hoops
Again, starting with our basic circle, bend the longer end into a swirl using a bail making plier and a round nose plier (picture 2-4). If the swirl turns out a little wonky, don’t throw the earrings out! You can carefully adjust the shape using a chain nose plier.
Cut and file the shorter end as in picture 6 and 7. Finally, hammer the piece in a bench block to harden and flatten the wire a bit. Now you’ve made a pair of elegant swirl earring hoops!
Circular design No.3 — Basic Ear Hoops
If you’ve mastered the previous two designs. This pair is just a piece of cake! I won’t go into the detail about the making process here. Simply following the steps above and you’ll get a pair of basic ear hoops!
Products used in this tutorial
U shaped ear wires
Now move on to the next category! The two pairs above are all designed based on a simple U shape. Let me show you how.
Fold the wire in half and bend it to a U shape using a bail making plier. Then slightly bend the two ends outward. This will be the starting point for our next two ear wires.
U Shaped Design No.1 — Wire Wrapped Loop Hooks
Starting with the basic U shape, cut the joint of the folded wire to get two identical pieces. For each piece, bend the longer end 90 degree outward using a chain nose plier. Then make a wire wrapped loop as shown in picture 5 and 6. If you are unfamiliar with the wire wrapped loop, I have a post explaining it in detail here.
Cut and file the other end as shown in picture 7. Finally, hammer the piece in a bench block to harden and flatten the wire a bit. Now you have it — a pair of ear wires with a wrapped loop at the end.
U Shaped Design No.2 — French Style Earring Hooks
Our last design is the classic French hooks. Again, starting with our basic U shape, curl the jointed end upwards using a bail making plier. Then separate the joint to get two identical pieces.
Using a round nose plier, make a small decorative loop at the curled end. Trim and file the other end as shown in picture 7. Finally hammer the piece in a bench block to harden and flatten the wire a bit. Now, you’ve made yourself a pair of French hooks!
For your reference, here are complete step-by-step pictures for the five ear wire designs we covered in the article. Let me know if you have any questions! Happy crafting!