Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Tutorial Tuesday - Hammered drop earrings
A tutorial from me this week! It's been a while since I wrote a tutorial for the blog - I'm always busy designing projects but most of them end up being sent off to magazines! This tutorial is for an earring design that I used to make a lot of for craft fairs. I'd almost forgotten it until a friend asked me to make a couple of pairs for her to give as presents as she liked the ones I'd made her a couple of years ago so much. I thought I may as well take photos as I made them, and also made a few more pairs too - one pair for me, a couple of pairs for a coffee morning at my Mum's on Thursday, and anothercouple of pairs for a giveaway. Details of how to enter are at the end!
You will need:
18cm 0.8mm wire
6 beads with holes not much larger than 0.8mm
round nosed pliers
nylon jaw pliers
flat needle file
To start, cut two 9cm lengths of 0.8mm wire. This will make you earrings approximately 4.5cm long. If you'd like them to be a different length then cut your wire accordingly! If necessary use the nylon jaw pliers to straighten the wire.
Lightly hammer the last 5mm of one end of each piece of wire. You are basically turning the wire into head pins so that beads will not fall off the end.
File the hammered ends so that they are nice and rounded. Give them a quick sand if necessary. I tried and failed to take a photo of me filing the wire, so instead here's a photo of one piece of wire filed and one before filing so that you can hopefully see the difference between them.
Thread on your beads. The bottom bead should fit snuggly on to the hammered part of the wire so that it doesn't fall off. Now is a good time to compare your pieces of wire. Make sure that they are the same length and the hammered section below the bottom bead is the same on each earring. Trim and file the wire if necessary.
Use a mandrel such as a pen barrel to bend the wire into a U shape with each leg of the U the same length.
Use nylon jaw pliers to flick out the last 5mm or so of wire - I find this makes the earrings easier to put on and also gives them a more professional look. File the end of the wire so that it is comfortable to pass through your ear.
Lightly hammer the front of the earrings to strengthen them. This photo shows how I hold the earrings on the bench block so that the beads do not get damaged by the hammering.
And that's it! Of course you can use as many or as few beads as you like, assuming that they will fit on the wire, but I think that odd numbers of beads usually look best. I've used purple jade beads that are actually a bit more plumy purple than the photos here show. I love the translucent appearance of jade - it makes lovely dreamy soft coloured beads.
Anyway, I mentioned a giveaway! It's been far too long since I had one, so I thought that as we've got two Bank Holiday weekends in a row (and both four day weekends at that thanks to the Royal Wedding!) that I'd have two giveaways, both for a pair of the purple jade earrings that I've just shown you how to make.
The first giveaway is for people on my mailing list - so if you're already on my newsletter mailing list then you're in the draw already, and if you're not just use the link on the left to sign up and get entered! To enter the second giveaway all you have to do is leave me a comment on this post and let me know the last thing you created, be it a cake, jewellery, beads or a mess in the kitchen, cos I'm in a nosey mood and anyway, I show you what I make!
You can enter both giveaways, but I'll make sure that there are two winners to be fair, and the giveaways are open to any country. You have until midnight next Monday 2nd May to enter - good luck!