Sunday, February 26, 2012

Make Your Own Handforged Earwires: Step-By-Step With Pictures

Hand forged Copper Earwires

Hand forged Copper Earwires

Hand forged Silver-Plated Earwires

Hand forged Aluminum Earwires
Ever wanted to make your own handforged earwires for your jewelry? It takes some basic tools and about 10 minutes, but crafting your own earwires adds an artisan flair to your earrings and allows you to make jewelry even if you are out of findings. No more emergency runs to the craft store; invest in the basics and start practicing today. With the same tools, you can move on to clasps and eye-pins too. Plus, it is not difficult. I just got my hammer and bench block this week and I made the following items. Keep your eye on my online store, Mylana, for new and interesting handcrafted earrings.

In this tutorial, I will show you, with the assistance of many pictures, how to begin crafting your own earwires. You can use any type of wire you wish, except enameled wire- the color will chip off the exterior. Keep in mind that some people have allergies to some of the more inexpensive types of wire, like nickle, but pure precious metals can be very expensive! If you decide to use real sterling silver, vermeil, gold, or gold-filled, make sure to practice on cheaper metals first.

You will need basic jewelry making tools and intermediate level skills. This tutorial assumes you are proficient at cutting wire, making loops, and assembling the finished earrings.

-bench block or anvil (available at any jewelry supply or craft store)
-ball peen hammer
-20 gauge wire, half-hard, thinner wire will be more fragile
-side wire cutters
-round nose pliers
-flat nose pliers
-metal file
-rubber earring stoppers for finished earrings (optional)

4 x 4 Steel Bench Block and Hammer
If you are having problems finding a bench block locally, check online. Retailers such as Fire Mountain Gems and bead supply sites should have them. You can also check ebay or for a used one. I got lucky and got this one used for six dollars! They are abut 25.00 new at Hobby Lobby.

Scroll down to see all of the pictures of creating the earwires, then  try it yourself!


20 ga Copper Wire

Cut 2 sections of wire 3 inches long

Bend the 2 wires around a Sharpie or other object that is about 1/2 inch in diameter

Form the wires into two 1 inch long figure 8 shapes

Cut the wires so you have 2 horseshoe shapes

Form a loop at one end of each wire that wraps around 1.5 times

Lay earwire on bench block and lightly pound with ball peen hammer on each side. You can use either end or a different type of hammer if you wish to texturize the metal. The harder you hammer, the flatter your wire will become, making the earwires wider. Try to achieve a balance between strenght to hold the form of the wire and size of the earwires- to thick earwires will be painful and ones not pounded enough will bend. Experiment!

Pound the second wire flat, using your fingers to bend it and keep it as similar to the first one as possible

Snip the earwires at the ends, so they are even, using the wire cutters.

Use a metal file to smooth the ends and make sure they are not sharp. You are now done and ready to make earrings!

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