Why not give your friends and family a homemade jewellery gift this Christmas?
These festive earrings don't require any soldering, just a few simple hand tools (pliers to form the shape and a hammer to add texture), so it's ideal for beginners and shouldn't take longer than half an hour to complete.
Start by cutting your length of wire in half, one half for each earring.
First, we will make a coil in each length of wire using your round nose pliers. Start by bending a tiny loop around the finest end of the round nose pliers to make the centre of the spiral. Then switch to using snipe nose or flat nose pliers and hold the beginnings of the coil between the pliers and gradually bend the wire around with your fingers, holding the coil in place with your pliers as you go.
Repeat with the other length of wire.
Now to add some texture with a hammer to add some sparkle. Put a spiral onto a steel block and hammer using the flat end of a small jewellers hammer in a random pattern. The criss-cross of the hammered pattern will add a nice sparkle.Repeat with the second spiral.
Now to give the wire a quick polish to make it really shine. First we will polish the bottom (flat side of the spiral) first use some fine sanding sheets if there are stratches that need polishing out. If not you can go straight to the polishing papers - lay them flat on your work surface and holding the spiral down flat with your finger rub backwards and forwards, repeat this through the grades of the polishing papers until you have a nice shine. Then turn the spirals over and polish the textured surface with the polishing papers in the same way.
Now pull out the spiral using either your fingers or pliers until the spiral is elongated and resembles a Christmas tree shape. Use your pliers to tilt the smallest loop upwards so you can connect your ear wire to it and ensure the loop is closed properly so the ear wire cannot come loose.
At the widest end of the spiral, turn a small loop in the end of the wire and tilt it downwards - this is where you will connect the opal bead on a head pin.
Slip the opal bead onto the headpin and trim so there is about 1cm of wire above the bead. Then using your round nose pliers bend a loop in the end of the wire, tilt the loop back on the stem slightly so the bead hangs centrally from the wire. Then twist open the wire loop so you can hook it onto the end of the spiral and close again to secure. Repeat this to complete your second earring.
Snipe nose pliers - essential for wirework
Round nose pliers - for bending loops in wire
Jewellers hammer - a lightweight hammer, ideal for flattening and texturing wire
Steel Bench Block - ideal for using to hammer wire or metal on
Polishing papers for a quick way to add polish the wire hoops to a high shine - not essential but will give you a nicer finish (this is a large pack so will last a long time)
Bead reamer an optional extra but one we would highly recommend as part of your basic beading kit, a fantastic, easy to use tool for gently enlarging and neatening the holes in beads. Briolettes and other similar beads often have small holes so this is particularly useful if you like small, sparkly beads and like using them on wire instead of thread.
'The Encyclopedia of Wire Jewellery Techniques' by Sara Withers
'The Basics of Bead Stringing' by Debbie Kanan
'Beading Design' by Kim Glover
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Additional information: matching for earrings please
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