I had a great time catching up with my new friend Eleanore Macnish, the fun and incredibly talented lampwork glass artist and metal jewelry designer behind Ellie Mac Beads, in Tucson last month, and while we were chatting, she showed me a super quick, super easy wire technique for making perfectly matched sets of ear wires in mere minutes. It’s so simple, as all good tips are–which left me wondering why I hadn’t thought of it first!
Ellie graciously offered to share the brilliant ear wire tutorial with Jewelry Making Daily readers, as it was shared with her by her friend Judy Jaramillo. If you haven’t seen this little wire tutorial yet, you’re in for a treat. (And if you have seen it before, why didn’t you tell me!?)
|1. Begin with a 4″ length of 20-gauge wire. Using round-nose pliers, grasp the wire at the half-way point and slightly bend.|
|2. Remove the pliers and bend the wire in half by hand.|
|3. After you squeeze the wire together by hand as best you can, shore up the end with pliers.|
|4. Grasp the wire at the bent end with round-nose pliers . . .|
|5. . . . and make a loop.|
|6. Bend the wire piece around a Sharpie marker (or whatever size pen or mandrel you like to use for making ear wires).|
|7. Grasp both wire ends (at the open end) and cut them to match evenly with wire nippers/flush cutters. File the wire ends smooth with a nail file or a cup burr.|
|8. Using round-nose pliers, bend out the ends of the ear wires just a bit. (Ever wonder why ear wires have this little bend? It creates balance in the ear wires and also helps keep them in your ears without having to create a hook closure like French ear wires have.)If you are making a bunch of ear wires for future use, this is a good place to stop. Make a bunch and throw them in your “ear wire box,” connected like they are, until you need them.|
|9. When you’re ready to use a pair of the ear wires, bend out the end loop a little bit and cut off the tip of the loop with wire nippers/flush cutters.|
|10. Using round-nose pliers, bend the loop closed again on each ear wire.|
|Wahoo! You did it! You’ve just made a perfectly matched pair of ear wires in minutes. If you’re making several ear wire sets at once, Ellie recommends keeping them attached until you need them; then you can cut off the rounded wire ends when you’re ready to turn the looped wire into perfect ear wires.|
When I don’t have friends like Ellie around to give me brilliant wirework advice, Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine is my go-to mag for great wire jewelry techniques and inspiration. Subscribe to Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine and stay in-the-know with all the best wire jewelry tips and project designs. And if you’re mad for earrings, get the endlessly inspiring 101 Wire Earrings book by Denise Peck.
Do you have a great wire jewelry-making tip? Don’t hold out on me–share it in the comments below!