DIY Wire Headpins

  • 01 of 14

    Spiral Headpins

    Spiral headpins
    Lisa Yang

    Making your own headpins is a great way to make your jewelry special. It is also a great way to use up scrap pieces of wire that are two or three inches long.

    This project gives instructions to make headpins with a spiral headpin on the end. The headpin has a V-shaped groove in the bottom that can be used to add dangles or link other components. 

    Continue to 2 of 14 below.
  • 02 of 14

    Start to Make a Wire Spiral

    Grasping wire at tip
    Lisa Yang

    To make a two-inch headpin, you will need at least three inches of wire. The exact amount will depend on the size of your spiral, so to be safe you may want to start with just over three inches of wire and make adjustments once you have made a couple of headpins. The example uses 20g red brass wire, but these headpins can also be made with 22g wire.

    Grasp the wire at the tip with your chain nose or round nose pliers. A pair of chain-nose pliers that are very thin at the tip work very well.  

    Continue to 3 of 14 below.
  • 03 of 14

    Turn a Loop at the End of the Wire

    Adding loop at end of wire
    Lisa Yang

    To start the spiral, you need to turn a simple loop on the end of the wire. You can make the center closed or slightly loose. Experiment with this a little to find the look that you like best.

    Continue to 4 of 14 below.
  • 04 of 14

    Grasp the Loop and Wrap the Wire Tail to Make a Spiral

    Making a wire spiral headpin
    Lisa Yang

    Using your chain nose pliers, grasp the loop so the wire is just below the jaws of your pliers. Using your other hand, you will push the wire tail so it curves around the loop at the center. Again, you can make this a tight spiral or slightly loose.

    If you are unfamiliar with making wire spirals, it is recommended to watch this video Perfecting the Wire Spiral by Lisa Niven Kelly at the Beaducation website.

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Making a Wire Spiral

    Making a spiral in the wire
    Lisa Yang

    Make sure you stop wrapping periodically to assess the size of your wire spiral. At some point, you will be making a small V shape that will make the finished headpin spiral more oval and less round. When it is slightly smaller than you want the finished spiral end to be, stop wrapping.

    Continue to 6 of 14 below.
  • 06 of 14

    Make a Right Angle Under the Spiral

    Adding a V under spiral
    Lisa Yang

    Using your chain nose or round nose pliers, grasp the straight part of the wire slightly underneath the spiral. Bend it at a sharp angle to make a V-shaped indentation. You may need to move your pliers to the other side of the angle to keep both sides straight and the angle sharp. When you just bend the wire over the edge of the plier, it tends to be rounded instead of a sharp angle. 

    Continue to 7 of 14 below.
  • 07 of 14

    Continue Wrapping the Spiral

    Spiral headpin
    Lisa Yang

    Continue wrapping the tail around the top edge of the spiral until it is across from the V shape you made in the last step. 

    Continue to 8 of 14 below.
  • 08 of 14

    Straighten the Wire for the Headpin

    Making a spiral headpin
    Lisa Yang

    Using your pliers, grasp the wire directly above the V and bend the wire end straight up. This will form the pin to add beads to. 

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Make Adjustments to Straighten the Spiral Headpin

    Spiral end decorative headpin
    Lisa Yang

    Use your pliers to make any minor adjustments to the headpin. You may want to make the angle sharper, straighten the pin wire or tighten or loosen the spiral. 

    Continue to 10 of 14 below.
  • 10 of 14

    Hammer the Spiral (Optional)

    Hammering the spiral end flat
    Lisa Yang

    You can use a metal bench block and chasing hammer to flatten the spiral and add some texture. Do not hammer the pin part of the headpin since it will make the wire hard and more brittle--which will make it harder to add a loop to the headpin.

    Continue to 11 of 14 below.
  • 11 of 14

    Finished Spiral Headpins

    Handmade spiral headpins
    Lisa Yang

    Make several spiral headpins at one time to make sure that some will match--especially if you plan to make earrings.

    One of the nicest things about these spiral headpins is that you don't have to worry about making a spiral in the opposite direction. Just flip the headpin over and you will have a mirror image--perfect to make earrings. 

    Continue to 12 of 14 below.
  • 12 of 14

    Add Beads and a Loop

    Tulip bead on a spiral head pin
    Lisa Yang

    These cute coral beads carved like tulips are added with a wire wrapped loop above the bead to keep the beads in place and provide a loop to hang them from.

    Another option is to hang beads from the V indentation in the spiral headpin.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Add Earwires to Make Earrings

    Coral tulip beads on handmade spiral headpins
    Lisa Yang

    It is easy to make handmade ear wires to finish these into earrings. Using a very similar technique, you can also make wire spiral post ear wires that look great alone or with bead dangles.

    Continue to 14 of 14 below.
  • 14 of 14

    Add Dangles to Spiral Headpins

    Pearl beads on handmade Spiral Headpins
    Lisa Yang

    These earrings have pearl beads on 22g brass wire spiral headpins. At the base of the spiral headpin, hematite dangles have been attached with wire wrap loops. The dangles are on handmade paddle headpins.