Custom Jewelry - Making Beaded Earrings
Love jewelry? Me, too! In fact, I love it enough to make it myself. The first thing I learned to make was earrings. With a few basic supplies and a little practice, making earrings is surprisingly easy and ridiculously addicting!
Basic Ear Wires
You can buy posts with a small ball and a loop for attaching your creation, basic French wires or my preferred wire - the Lever Back. French wires get lost too easily and I just don't like posts. The Lever Back stays put, is easy to put in and is comfortable when you're on the phone or otherwise putting pressure on your ear. If you can find them, the Perfectly Balanced ear wire, with a triangular shape, also fits the bill beautifully.
Fancy Ear Wires
The Head Pin
The Head Pin is what holds your earrings to the ear wire. I prefer a 1 1/2 or 2 inch sterling or gold filled ear wire in 24 gauge. That's a fairly fine gauge and you can choose to use a 22 if you prefer. The advantage of the 24 gauge is that it will fit through the small holes you often find in good stones like Fresh Water Pearls. The disadvantage is that you will need to wrap the wire around itself after looping in order to keep the delicate wire in place.
Once you thread your beads onto the head pin, bend the wire back and loop it around your pliers and create a hoop to attach to your ear wire.
Read more about Fire Mountain Beads & Gems here.
The variety of available glass beads is nearly infinite. Hand blown one-of-a-kind miniature pieces of art, big bags of inexpensive basic shapes and colors and everything in between. One of my staples is the Swarovski crystal. No matter what anybody tells you, nobody makes crystal beads that shine like Swarovski. They're a touch more expensive than their Chinese counterparts, but the quality more than makes up for the difference in price. When choosing glass beads for earrings, the only requirement is to go with the beads you love in a size that's appropriate for earrings. Have fun with glass beads - they can be really inexpensive, allowing you to make a lot of different earrings and practice your skills with headpins and ear wires without breaking the bank.
The Finished Product
Asymmetrical Swarovski Crystal
Citrine and Garnet on Perfectly Balanced Ear Wires
Double Fresh Water Coin Pearl
Hand Blown Venetian Glass
Anyone who loves jewelry can learn to make their own earrings. There are some limits to beaded earrings, obviously - they aren't ever going to look like Tiffany's diamond studs. But who cares? Most days, I want something fun and interesting. By making my own earrings I can have the stones, colors and styles I love. Practice with inexpensive base metal and glass beads for a while and then move on to more expensive materials and soon you'll have a whole wardrobe of earrings to suit any occasion.
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