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How To Make Your Own Balled Head Pins For Earrings

In this tutorial, Kim Thomson shows you how to make simple balled head pins using sterling silver round wire and a gas torch.

This is a really simple technique and is great for using when creating handmade earrings. The ball can be used as a decorative effect or act as a stopper if you would like to thread beads on to them.

Kim walks you through every step from creating the balls, finishing them to transforming them into simple bead earrings.

This video is part of our 12 Months Of Metal tutorial series with Kim Thomson!

Basic Instructions:

1. Turn on the gas torch and place the piece of wire in the tip of the blue flame until it forms a ball.

2. Quench in cold water.

3. Repeat with another piece of wire and ensure the balls are the same size.

4. Next, you need to clean the head pins by either pickling the piece or using wet and dry sheets.

5. Use a rawhide mallet to work harden your head pins by gently tapping them on a steel block.

Optional: For a decorative effect, you can use a ball pein hammer to gently tap the ball so it turns into a coin shape.

Recommended Tools & Supplies

Sterling Silver Round Wire

0.8mm round wire is the best wire to use for making ear wires with.

Go Systems Gas Torch

This is a brilliant basic torch, suitable for most of your jewellery making needs. It has a large flame, so it heats your work up quickly.

Anti Mist Safety Goggles

Safety first! Always inspect your workspace before you start making and ensure you are taking the appropriate safety measures. These safety goggles are an essential, protecting your eyes from high speed particles.

Reverse Action Tweezers

These tweezers are made from sprung steel, so they open when you squeeze the handles and grip without effort. Perfect for jobs like this!

Ball Pein Hammer

As Kim shows you in the tutorial above, a ball pein hammer is a great tool to use if you want to achieve a 'coin' effect on your ball. Simply hit your headpin with the round side of the hammer until it flattens.

Steel Block

A steel block is a great tool to have in your workshop. It's important that you have a good quality surface when using a hammer or forming wire.

Rawhide Mallet

You can use a rawhide mallet for work hardening your earrings. Simply place your work on a steel block and gently tap it with the mallet to strengthen your piece.

Shop Head Pins With Kernowcraft

Some people prefer to buy head pins ready-made, at Kernowcraft we have a range of styles available in plated, sterling silver and 9ct gold to suit your needs.

Catch up with the 12 months of metal series...