Basic Wire Wrap Earrings Tutorial
Basic Wire Wrap Earrings: A tutorial that covers the basics of making your own wrapped headpins and eyepins.
Needle nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers (optional, but very handy to have)
Sterling silver wire (I used 22 gauge half-hard here, but for the most part any gauge and hardness will do, though I suggest not using full-hard.)
2 sets of 3 complimentary beads
2 earring wires
Creating the headpin:
I'm really big on NOT purchasing headpins, when I can make my own for most projects for much less expensive. If you figure you spend an average of 21 cents per 2 inch sterling silver headpin, you can save around 10 cents per pin by using the same 2 inches of sterling silver wire purchased 5 feet at a time. And that's assuming you use the full two inches of wire, which in most situations, you end up wasting when you use the pre-cut headpins.
First, create a tiny loop at the very end of your wire.
Flatten this loop closed against itself with your needle nose pliers. You may need to start at the bend in the loop and work in towards the end to get it nice and tight. This is going to create the beginning of the spiral base that will be our headpin.
Grasping the flat area of the spiral with your needle nose pliers, continue the wire around until you are on the opposite side of the first end, which is now tucked neatly in the center.
Bring your pliers to the edge of the spiral, and bend the wire 90 degrees up from the base.
Flatten the wire across the center back of the spiral by squeezing it over with needle nose pliers.
Center the edge of your pliers across the back of the now-folded-over wire and the middle of the spiral. Bend up 90 degrees, so the wire is coming up out of the center of the spiral.
Place your bottom bead onto your newly created headpin.
Grasp directly against the bead with your needle nose pliers, then bend the wire 90 degrees against the plier edge.
Grasp the wire about 1/8th of an inch (or somewhere around 2 millimeters) away from the bend with your round nose pliers.
Rotating your wrist toward the bead, begin to create the eye loop. Finish the loop by pushing the bead back toward your pliers.
Hold across the flat part of the eye loop with either your needle or flat nose pliers. This is going to put you in the position to begin wrapping your loop.
Note: if you do not want to wrap your loops, this is where you cut your excess wire. However, I prefer the stability of wrapped loops on anything less than 18 gauge wire when working with sterling silver or gold-filled wire.
Begin wrapping your loop by bringing your wire around the shank of the eye. If you keep your head and eye pins attached to the mass of your wire while creating them as I do, you can use the remaining length of wire for stability and tension as you wrap your loops.
Coil the wire a few times around, until there is very little space left between your coils and your bead. Be sure to leave a little space to push your wire end into.
Cut the excess wire from the wrapped coil, pushing the flat back end of the wire as close to the coil as possible.
Tighten up your wrapped wire by pushing your wire end around and flat against the shank of your head pin with your needle nose pliers. Squeeze the cut end tight, tucking slightly into other wraps to avoid the sharp edge catching on anything.
Creating a wrapped eyepin:
Begin by bending your wire 90 degrees, about an inch from the end.
Grasp a small distance from the bend, create your eye loop, and wrap loop as before. Cut away any extra wire.
Place your second contrasting bead onto the eyepin, keeping in mind that this will be your next section up from the bottom.
I try to make a variation in shape or color here, and have an element that ties the top and bottom two beads together. In this case, I'm using similar blue tones, while keeping the bottom and top beads round. The square bead in the center picks up on these blue tones, but the shape adds interest. However, all in all the design elements are strictly up to you.
Create a bend next to the bead as before, placing your needle nose pliers directly against the bead and placing a 90 degree bend against the other edge.
Make an eye loop with your round-nosed pliers, being careful to keep the size of the loops as close to the same as possible. Don't wrap this loop until you attach it to the next link.
Before wrapping your loop, slide your previously wrapped headpin onto the eye. Then, grasp across the flat area of the eye loop, wrap end around shank of eye pin, cut your excess wire, and flatten your end.
(optional) Continue making links until you're happy with the length of your earring dangle. In this case, I created one more beaded eyepin.
Repeat all steps to make a second identical earring.
Open ear wire loop by twisting loop open, not pulling loop apart. This maintains the original shape of the loop, and makes it easier to get a tight closure.
Hang earring body off ear wire loop. Twist loop shut tightly. Repeat for other earring, wear and enjoy!