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Simple Gemstone Bead Earrings with French Hook Earwires
Everyone needs a pair of earrings like these! Simple french hook wires that dangle gemstone or pearls just below the ear lobe. These earrings make great gifts - especially for bridal parties - and I often make a variety of them to sell at craft fairs or home shows.
And - they are super simple to make! Read on for my simple step by step instructions.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Materials to Make Simple Bead Earrings with French Hook Earwires
This is another one of those projects that can be made with so many different types of beads or wire - and always look good. Here are my suggestions on materials you need to get started:
- 2 beads: these are the focal of your earrings. I used 8mm pink dyed quartz beads for these earrings - but any round smooth bead will work. I recommend using a bead between 6-10mm in size.
- Wire: The wire will wrap around the bead and be used for the earwire. I prefer to use 20g or 22g round sterling silver, silver filled, or gold filled wire. You can use copper, silver plated or craft wires to learn with, but know that some people may have allergies to the metals if you are giving gifts or selling them.
USE SOFT WIRE!! It will make your life so much easier. Half hard wire will spring away from the bead making it very difficult to achieve the close wrap around the bead. Not sure what wire you have? Refer to this article on How to Choose Wire for Your Jewelry Project. For my earrings, I used 20g Silver Plated Beadalon Artistic Wire.
- Tools: wire cutter, step pliers or mandrel (pen), file or emory board, sharpie marker. More information about tools for wire jewelry making.
Cut a piece of wire 5 inches long. Mark a point 1.5 inches from the end with a sharpie. This is the spot where you will align the top of your bead.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Wrap Wire Around the Bead
Holding the bead in place so the top of the bead is just covering the marked spot, push the wire coming out the other end of the bead to the side and press it smoothly against the bead. It should easily follow the curve of the bead. You will pass the wire around in front of the wire coming out of the top of the bead on the side that you want to be the front of your earring.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Continue Wrapping All the Way Around the Bead
Continue to wrap the wire around the bead, keeping the wire pressed close against the bead and passing the wrap wire in front of the wire where it exits the bottom of the bead. Also keep the wire in front of the wire where it was already wrapped around the bead. You will wrap the wire around the bead 1.5 times until it crosses in front of the wire coming out the top of the bead.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Secure the Wire to the Top of the Bead
Neatly wrap the wire around the wire coming out of the top of the bead. You can do this with your fingers. Just gently bend the wire and try to wrap it so it lays on top of itself forming a small coil.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Push the Wire Tail Around the Back of the Bead
Wrap the wire at least once or twice around in order to secure the bead. Make sure the wire tail is pointing around the back of the bead, so when you trim the wire, the cut end won't be visible.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Use Your Wire Cutters to Trim the WIre Tail
Use your wire flush cutters to trim the wire tail as close to the wrapped coil as possible.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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The Bead is Wrapped and Ready to Make into an Earring
Your wrapped bead should look like this picture. The wrap will fully encircle the bead with the wire securely coil wrapped around the wire stem coming out the top of the bead. You can use this component in your jewelry creations as a headpin. But, we are going to use the remaining wire to make a french hook to make an earring.
Refer to this article for information on how to use a similar technique to make a wrapped bead dangle.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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How to Add the French Hook Ear Wire
I love my step pliers for making french hook earwires. The center barrel is the perfect size - but if you don't have a pair, you can also use a standard smooth barrel of a pen. I hold the wrapped bead just above the coil wrap like shown in the picture.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Bend the WIre Around the Mandrel or Step Pliers to Create an Earwire
Bend the wire around the round barrel of the step pliers or the mandrel (pen). You should bend it into a U shape. Make sure the pretty side of the wrap will be in the front of the earring before making the bend!
Remove the earring from the pliers or mandrel. Make the second earring and then trim the earwires to the same size. File the end of the wire to make sure it will not scratch or irritate your ears. If it feels rough when you rub your finger over the end, it will definitely feel rough to your ear!
There is a tool called a cup burr than is very useful for smoothing the end of earwires, but I find an emory board, especially the kind with the foam center, works realy well too.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Repeat these Steps to Make the Other Earring
Make a small bend in the end of the earwire using chain nose pliers. This makes it easier to insert the earrings and also helps keep them from falling out. Repeat all steps to make a matching earring. If necessary, lighhtly hammer the curve of the earwire so it keeps the shape.
For more information on hardening and hammering wire, refer to this article at my blog: Hammer or Mallet, Which Should You Use When?Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Hints, Tips and Tricks to Make Your Classic Bead Earrings
Hints, Tips and Tricks:
If the wire is springing away from your bead - your wire is half hard, not soft.
If you are having difficulty with 20g wire, try 22g wire. It will be a slightly thinner earwire, but it will be easier to wrap around the bead. The thinner wire works well with beads between 4 and 6 mm in size.
When you make the second earring, wrap the wire in the opposite direction around the bead. One side of the bead will have two wraps around it and unless your wrap in the opposite direction, your earrings will both be the same instead of being mirror images which will make them look balanced when worn.
When you get more experience, try this technique with other beads such as faceted crystal, coin beads, and freshwater pearls.