Earring Essentials: 6 Tips for Making Earrings, Plus Make Stylish Wire Hoops in Minutes
My go-to gift for birthdays, Christmas, or I’m-glad-we’re-friends days is usually earrings. They’re as affordable as you want them to be, they always fit, and you can never have too many pairs of earrings.
When it comes to making earrings, there are six important things to remember:
1. To make earrings that match as well as possible, make them at the same time, one step at a time, instead of making one complete earring and then the other one. If the earrings have multiple pieces, make all of those components before assembling any of them to help ensure they match.
2. If you have wire (or head pins), you’ll never run out of ear wires. You can make your own ear wires in minutes by wrapping wire around a Sharpie marker, which is the perfect size for ear wires. Finish the wire and the design by adding a balled end or a flattened ball end.
3. The ideal gauge wire for making ear wires is 20-gauge half-hard wire, but 18- to 22-gauge can also work in a pinch. Thinner 22-gauge wire can be too flimsy to support the earrings and hold their shape. On the other hand, 18-gauge wire can be harder to work with and uncomfortable in the ear. If you have to choose between smaller gauge or larger gauge, go with smaller, preferably hard wire (or don’t forget to tumble or hammer it with a plastic or rawhide mallet on a steel bench block to harden it and help it keep its shape).
4. Fine silver, sterling silver, and gold are ideal for making ear wires, because fewer people have allergy issues with these metals. Nickel seems to be the most common allergy when it comes to ear wires; avoid using nickel-heavy metals in jewelry making. Craft wires, coated wires, and colored wires aren’t best for making ear wires. Titanium, niobium, and fine silver are good choices for ear wires for people with metal allergies, because they are nearly pure metals.
5. Don’t forget to file the ends of the ear wires for comfortable wear. With a metal file, push the file against the wire end, then lift and repeat. Do not file back and forth. You can also use a nail file (emery board) in a pinch.
6. Whatever you choose to hang on your ear wires, remember to consider the weight, especially when making earrings for gifts or to sell. A rule of thumb is to keep each earring under 5 grams, which is about the weight of a nickel, for comfortable wear.
Ready to make some earrings now, aren’t you? So we’ve got a convenient treat for you! We’ve put together a complete, exclusive kit for making the earrings on the cover of the February/March 2015 issue of Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine. Becky Nunn of Nunn Design created these stylish wire hoop earrings that are so simple, you can make them in five minutes and only five easy steps. “These earrings work up very fast. Use different gauges of wire and more or fewer wraps to instantly change the look!” Becky says.
Just how easy are they? We decided to see what a jewelry-making beginner would think of this project and kit, so we asked Lindsay Jarvis, a new editor in the Interweave Jewelry Group, to give it a try.
“These fun hoop earrings are not only beginner friendly, they are also very fast,” Lindsay says. “I whipped up a pair in vibrant green wire. Using a tube with a slightly larger diameter to form the hoops creates a different style. I also tried my hand at making ear wires, which was a blast! The design itself is so festive and fun – perfect to ring in the shiny New Year.”
Are you new to wire jewelry making? “These earrings are a great way to get familiar with wirework and using different pliers. The instructions are very easy to follow and include tips for keeping your work neat and tidy.” Lindsay says. “The Quick Hoop Earrings kit is perfect for any jewelry artist, even an absolute beginner! Not only do you get all supplies needed for six pairs of earrings, you also get a three-piece set of pliers–the perfect starter for your toolbox.”
That’s right, she said six pairs of earrings–so you can make enough earrings for your friends, your nieces, your bridesmaids, your teachers, your college besties, your supper club, or any other group of lovely ladies who know that hoops never go out of style! Grab your kit and get started today.