Learn Wire Working and Transform Your Beadwork

square_earrings

Delicas, peyote stitch; Swarovski crystals; sterling silver machine made earwires

My love affair with wire working started when I was creating earrings for a show. I was in a groove, making lots of seed bead and crystal dangle earrings – you know, production style – make the dangles then add the earwires later. Well. I ran out of the earwires you see in the picture and didn’t have time to get more before the show. Enter – handmade earwires!

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I didn’t have a big assortment of wire to draw from at the time or even that many tools, but I managed to make earwires from what I did have available and never looked back. Over the years, I have amassed a HUGE collection of tools as well as a lot of wire. However, you still don’t need a lot of either to bring wire into your work.

With a piece of 21- or 22-gauge round wire, a pair of round- and stepped-round nose pliers  (or a pen!), wire cutters, and a jeweler’s file, you can create a pair of earwires quickly and easily. Here’s how:

Use round-nose pliers to form a simple loop on the end of a 4” length of 21- or 22- gauge wire.

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Where you place the end of the wire on the pliers will dictate the size loop your form. Mark your favorite spot to create the same size loops again and again.

Place the stepped-round nose pliers above the simple loop just formed. Bend the wire over the larger section of the pliers, forming the curve for your earwire.

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You could also use a large-barrel pen if you don’t have a pair of pliers like these handy.

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Use the round-nose pliers to form a little bend in the end of the earwire so it stays in the ear when worn. Use wire cutters to cut a flush end. If you’d like, use a jeweler’s-file to smooth the cut end of the wire so there are no rough edges.

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Consider adding a bead to the wire before forming the large curve, creating a complementary pair of earwires for your beadwork design.

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Wire is the ideal medium to have on hand, not only so you can make earwires  but other findings too, even jumprings and clasps.

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In my upcoming webinar, Wire Frames and Findings, we’ll be covering lots of ways to form wire for use with your beadwork as well as all the ins-and-out of my favorite tools, . If you join us live, we’ll also be getting to as many questions as we can fit in.

Hope to see you there!

blue_tammy

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