Wire Jewelry Tip of the Year: Make Perfect Ear Wire Sets in Minutes

7 Mar 2012

 
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 spot for great wire jewelry techniques and inspiration. Get a whole year's worth of great wire jewelry-making projects, stylish designs, and helpful wirework tips all in one convenient package when you pre-order the Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry 2009 collection CD.

Do you have a great wire jewelry-making tip? Don't hold out on me--share it in the comments below!


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Comments

CatherineD@8 wrote
on 7 Mar 2012 9:05 AM

This is possibly the slickest thing I have ever seen.  It makes so much sense, but I never would have thought of it on my own.  A million thank you's.

Sally@6 wrote
on 7 Mar 2012 9:12 AM

Hi Tammy -- This is the smartest, coolest trick in the book! I kept reading thinking why would anyone want to put double wires in their ears, and then voila! The solution! Perfect. And keeping them together until needed is also a great idea! Thank you so much.

Sally

Morgane@3 wrote
on 7 Mar 2012 10:20 AM

That is quite simply brilliant. Thanks for sharing the tip.

llaunius wrote
on 7 Mar 2012 10:32 AM

I love this tip ,you are a rock on wire bender LOL

YvetteF3 wrote
on 7 Mar 2012 12:16 PM

I was thinking like Sally. "Why would you want to put 2 wires through your ears? Then I got to the end and thought what an amazingly simple, absolutely perfect idea! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful technique.

on 8 Mar 2012 7:36 AM

I too was thinking "two ear wire thickness",...but then, the reveal - how cool is this. I'm going to try it to see if it will be as exact as I am able to get my pairs now - hopefully it will be as it would be a great time saver since I have an online store where I sell ear wires!  I'll let you know how it stacks up! Thanks Tammy!!

lamoney36 wrote
on 13 Mar 2012 9:48 AM

Wonderful idea, and you did share when you found it...Love people who share

Melissalc wrote
on 18 Mar 2012 11:54 PM

This is quite posssibly the best wire tip ever! Thanks for sharing!

dianimal65 wrote
on 19 Mar 2012 5:01 PM

That's a great system!  Thanks for sharing!

HalinaF wrote
on 14 Jun 2012 1:48 AM

Thank You SOooooo Much for sharing this tutorial.

I always agonize of making sure my ear hooks are identical.

Wonderfully simple......why didn't I think of this?????????

Blessings and (((Hugs)))

Halina in Australia

TammyJones wrote
on 14 Jun 2012 10:07 AM

You're all welcome! I wish I'd thought of it, too. Brilliant!

Thanks for being part of JMD!

BeaderArt wrote
on 2 Jan 2013 10:27 AM

Regarding the little bend at the back of ear wires, it does help insure they stay on the ear, but I feel another reason it's done is to also make the ear wire more comfortable to wear.  The small curve angles the end of the wire away from the back of the ear, which might otherwise poke and irritate.  It may also actually help the wearer to aim the end of the ear wire toward the ear hole more easily than if the wire was left straight down.

Definitely a great time-saving tip, though!!  So glad I joined JMD this year so I got to see it in the blog roundup!  Thanks for sharing!!!

on 2 Jan 2013 12:34 PM

Absolutely brilliant - so simple yet so logical - thanks for sharing! :)

geewhiz99 wrote
on 3 Jan 2013 8:32 AM

I can't thank you enough for sharing this tip with us - thank you, thank you, and thank youagain!!!  I remember when I first saw this and thought, "Wow that's such a great idea!"  And I have used it several times since then.  Since that time, I have got some other neat ideas from you (you are so talented and have such great friends to share with us!) and I appreciate them all!

Thank you for all of your hard work!

TammyJones wrote
on 3 Jan 2013 11:10 AM

Such kind comments, thank you all! I appreciate you being part of JMD and sharing in our community. Here's to a great new year of having fun and making jewelry!

Tammy

R A Fields wrote
on 3 Jan 2013 5:59 PM

Fantastic idea. Both earwires are identical and you can make them in all different sizes and shapes. Just draw your earwire design in MS Word and save. When you need a template to bend to just print it out and if you want it smaller or larger just re-size it in Word. Volia, 2 perfect earwires. Mandrels help.

on 6 Jan 2014 9:00 PM

This is genius. Thank you!

on 20 Apr 2014 4:06 AM

Thanks so much. Hmmmm, nice one.

on 8 Aug 2014 6:09 PM

I've made ear wires lots of different ways, but this tops them all. Thank you so much for sharing! I love the idea of keeping them paired together until needed. Saves on small plastic bags. Instead of using a Sharpie, I use my wire looping Wubbers.