Ear Wires and Basic Hoops
In this lesson, I will be taking you step by step through the process of making ear wires and basic hoop earrings. I recommend reading through the entire process at least once before beginning. Always take safety precaution by wearing protective eyewear and gloves.
Step 1: Choosing Your Wire
I recommend starting with copper wire, and as you get more familiar and confident with the technique, you may move onto sterling silver or gold. I always work with dead soft wire. For this project, you will be using 18 and 20 gauge copper wire.
Step 2: Choosing the right Tools
Flat Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers
Chasing Hammer & Steel Bench Block
Other useful tools: jeweler’s file or wire rounding tool
Step 3: First we will make the basic hoops. Using your wire cutters, cut two 3” lengths of 18 gauge wire. You will notice that you have a burr on the ends of your wire.
Step 4: Using your jeweler’s file or wire rounding tool, smooth the burrs at the ends of thelengths of wire.
Step 5: Using your ring mandrel, wrap the two lengths of wire around the mandrel in the size 8 spot.
Step 6: With your round nose pliers, make a loop at one end of the hoop, and use your flat nose pliers to bend it slightly upwards. Repeat this on both hoops.
Step 7: Using your flat nose pliers agin, bend about 1/4” of the other end of the hoop and file it smooth with your jeweler’s file. Repeat this step on the other hoop.
Step 8: Slightly hammer the hoops with your chasing hammer and bench block. Do not hammer them flat, just enough to harden the wire and give them a more finished appearance.
Congratulations! You’ve completed your basic hoops. Now you can experiment with different sizes and adding beads and or patinas.
Step 9: Now we will make the ear wires using two 2” lengths of 20 gauge wire and filing the ends smooth like we did with the hoops.
Step 10: With your looping pliers, make a small loop on the ends of both lengths of wire.
Step 11: Using your looping pliers again, make a slightly larger loop the opposite direction of the first smaller loop. Repeat this step on both lengths of wire.
Step 12: Taking your looping pliers on the largest loop, bend the wire all the way around until you have a “hook” shape. Repeat on both lengths of wire.
Step 13: Taking 1/8” of the ends of the ear wires, slightly bend them outwards using your flat nose pliers. Repeat on both ear wires.
Step 14: Slightly hammer the ear wires with your chasing hammer and bench block. Do not hammer them flat, just enough to harden the wire and give them a more finished appearance. You’ll also want to make sure the ends of the ear wires are filed smooth.
Congratulations! You’ve completed your basic ear wires. Now you can experiment with different sizes and adding beads and or patinas.