Cozy Sister's Jewelry Making Blog

How to Make Wire Wrapped Jewelry

Spiral Head Pins and Simple Spiral Earrings – Free Tutorial

Posted on | December 8, 2009 | Comments Off

Elaborate earrings are fun to make and lovely to admire, but in everyday life many people prefer to wear simple earrings.  This tutorial will show how to make simple spiral earrings like those shown below.

Simple spiral wire wrapped earrings

Simple spiral wire wrapped earrings

Each earring is constructed in one piece, from a single piece of wire, rather than by attaching a dangle to an existing ear wire.

In the process of making these earrings you’ll be making spiral head pins.  While you’re making them for your earrings, why not make a few extra?  You’re sure to find many uses for these in your jewelry projects.

Wire wrapped spiral head pins

Wire wrapped spiral head pins

Materials (for one pair of earrings):

  • 2 6-inch lengths of dead soft 20 gauge wire
  • 2 4mm beads.  The sample pair uses Czech glass beads.

Tools:

  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Flush cutters
  • Chasing or Ball Pein Hammer
  • Anvil or Bench Block
  • Wire Rounder / Cup Burr (They’re easier to find online by Googling “wire rounder”)
  • An 8mm mandrel, such as a Crayola crayon

When making these earrings, it is best to complete each step for both earrings before moving on to the next step; this is because later in the instructions you will have to compare the earrings for symmetry as you are working.

First, use the tips of your round nose pliers to bend one end of each wire into a simple loop, or use Fee’s tutorial to make round loops instead.  Make this loop as small as possible.

Bend the end of the wire into a simple loop or a round loop

Bend the end of the wire into a simple loop or a round loop

Next, grip the simple loop with your flat nose pliers and continue to curl the loop along the length of the wire to form a spiral.  Reposition the pliers frequently as you turn; each time you close the pliers on the spiral you will be aligning the layers of the spiral into the same plane; this will help you form a neat, flat spiral.

Begin to form the wire spiral

Begin to form the wire spiral

Continue to spiral the wire until the spiral is five rounds thick all the way around.

The wire spiral is five rounds thick

The wire spiral is five rounds thick

Use your flat nose pliers to bend the wire tail so that the spiral is centered at the end of the wire tail like a lollipop sitting on its stick.  The wire tail should sit in the same plane as the spiral.

Bend the wire tail

Bend the wire tail

Hammer the spiral (only the spiral, not the tail) to flatten it and make the shape more stable; after hammering one side, flip the spiral over and hammer the other side as well.

The spiral headpin is ready

The spiral headpin is ready

Slide one bead onto the spiral headpin so that it sits directly atop the spiral.

Add the bead

Add the bead

Bend the wire tail of one of the earrings slightly just at the point where it meets the top of the bead, as shown.

Bend the wire tail slightly.

Bend the wire tail slightly.

Bend the wire tail of the other earring in the opposite direction so that the earrings will be symmetrical to each other.

The wire tails must be bent in opposite directions so the earrings will be symmetrical.

The wire tails must be bent in opposite directions so the earrings will be symmetrical. This angle shows what will become the back sides of the earrings.

Position your crayon or mandrel on the wire tail just above the bead.  The crayon should be above the bead (i.e., it should not be between the wire tail and the spiral.)

Wrap the wire tail all the way a round the mandrel until the wire tail meets the bottom of the spiral.  When you let go of the wire, it will release slightly leaving a gap between the wire tail and the spiral.

Forming the earwire

Forming the earwire

Remove the mandrel.

The earwire begins to take shape

The earwire begins to take shape

Repeat with the other earring; check your work to be sure that the curves of each ear wire match each other so far.  Make minor adjustments if necessary.

Check for symmetry

Check for symmetry

You can begin to see the earrings taking shape.

You can begin to see the earrings taking shape.

Grip the wire tail with the flat nose pliers at the point directly across from the point where the base of the bead meets the spiral.  Bend the wire out slightly at this point.

Bend the wire tail

Bend the wire tail

Cut the wire tail about 1/4 inch below the bend you just made.

Cut the earwires

Cut the earwires

Insert the end of the ear wire into the wire rounder’s cup.  Twist the wire rounder back and forth until the end of the ear wire is smooth.

Smooth the ends of the earwirs with your wire rounder

Smooth the ends of the ear wires with your wire rounder

Hammer the ear wire slightly on each side to make its shape more sturdy.

In order to hammer the ear wire, place only the earwire portion on the bench block or anvil; allow the spiral to hang over the side.

In order to hammer the ear wire, place only the earwire portion on the bench block or anvil; allow the spiral to hang over the side.

The ear wires have been hammered.

The ear wires have been hammered.

Check the earrings for any final adjustments needed to make the earrings symmetrical.  The earrings are ready!

The simple spiral earrings are ready.

The simple spiral earrings are ready.

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