Easy Pastel Hoop Earrings with Portuguese Cork Cord

Close-up of cork cordI love working with new materials.  Whenever I need to buy some beading essentials such as jump rings or ear wires, I try to also buy one new-to-me item just for fun.  That's how this pretty cord ended up in my beading studio a few weeks ago.

Portuguese cork cord is cork wrapped around a cotton cord.  It has a soft texture and comes in a range of colors and shapes (oval, flat, braided).  It's sustainably harvested and makes a great vegan option if you like the look of leather, but don't want to use animal products in your jewelry.  The cord cuts easily with sharp scissors.

This cord has a distressed look out of the package and will become more cracked and worn-looking with lots of handling.  I wanted to preserve its weathered look exactly as it was, so I opted to create earrings rather than a piece like a bracelet which would get more wear. 

According to InStyle magazine, pastels are trendy for spring and summer this year, so I chose a combination of pale turquoise (a shade close to mint green) and pink for this project.  These earrings are quick to make and very lightweight to wear, despite their larger size.

2 pink 9x6mm fire-polished glass rondelles
2 silver-plated 4mm daisy spacers
2 silver-plated 20-gauge 2" head pins
2 silver-plated 4mm jump rings
2 silver-plated 8mm jump rings
1 pair of sterling silver ear wires
8" of pale turquoise 5mm flat cork cord

Pencil (optional)
Screw-down hole punch
Round-nose pliers
Wire cutters
2 pairs of chain- or flat-nose pliers

Finished size: 2 1/4"


1. Use the 1.5mm side of the screw-down hole punch to add 1 hole about 3/16" from the end of one 4" piece of cork cord.  Repeat, adding a hole at the other end of the cord.  If you like, you may want to mark the place to punch with a pencil.

2. Use 1 head pin to string 1 daisy spacer and 1 pink rondelle; form a wrapped loop that attaches to one 4mm jump ring.
3. Use one 8mm jump ring to string 1 hole of the cord, the 4mm jump ring attached to the pink dangle, the other end of the cord, and 1 ear wire. Close the jump ring.
4. Repeat Steps 1–3 for the second earring.

Tip: Some shops sell this cord by the inch, while others sell it in longer lengths, so be extra careful when comparing prices!

Resources: These materials were all from my personal bead stash; you will probably find similar materials at many different shops. Cord: Lima Beads. Glass: Raven's Journey International. Spacers, jump rings, head pins, and ear wires: Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

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