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Monday, January 19, 2009

My First Ear Wires and New Earrings

I decided toward the end of last year that I wanted to learn to make ear wires. I had been looking at online tutorials and decided that this was something I could do and wanted to do. My Christmas list included some things I would need and I got those gifts for Christmas: larger pegs for my Wig Jig, a hammer and bench block. With the busy-ness of the holidays and all my other projects, I just gave this a try a couple days ago. I started with the only 20 gauge wire I had, some inexpensive craft wire. My first practice ear wire turned out well, so I was ready to make real ones! Yesterday, I bought some sterling silver 20 gauge half hard wire at my local bead store and I was ready to go. After printing several online tutorials, the one I followed was this one provided by Wig Jig.

I started by making a loop on the end of the wire with my round nose pliers.

I set up my jig with a half inch peg and a regular size peg next to each other and placed my loop over the small peg as shown in the photo.

I wrapped the wire around the large peg. I used the small peg as a guide for where to snip the wire so I would make sure I used the same length of wire for each ear wire.

This photo shows how the wire springs open a little bit so the size of the circle is a little larger than the size of the peg used.

This is the cup bur I got for Christmas. It's used to file the end of the wire to make it smooth. The tool is rough inside and files down the sharp edges. Just insert the end of the wire into the cup and twirl the tool around on the end of the wire. I've read that many other types of files work just as well.

I used my pliers to make a little bend at the end of the wire. And here's what my ear wire looked like. (This is my sterling silver ear wire. When I photographed it against this background, it didn't look very silver. Not a great photo for color, but it shows you the shape.)

If the wires did not lay flat, I found it was easiest to bend them back into shape with my fingers. Then the last step was to lightly hammer the ear wire using my rubber hammer and bench block. This step not only helped make the ear wire lie in one plane, but the hammering hardens and strengthens the wire.

Here is my first batch of ten completed ear wires! I may never buy ear wires again!

I decided to get adventurous after my easy success with my first batch of wires. I set up my jig with a 1/4 inch peg and two small pegs as shown at the left.

And I made this pair of ear wires.

I couldn't stand having these great ear wires just sitting there, so it was time to make some earrings. I have accumulated quite a collection of these cute flower shaped beads - I just love them! So I made four pairs of earrings, shown below. I hardly ever make earrings for myself, but the pink ones and the turquoise ones are mine! (I'm wearing the pink ones right now as I blog.) The others will be listed in my Etsy shop soon.

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  1. Wow, I wonder if this is something I can do. Thanks for the information.