Hoop earrings are jewelry staples. They turn the right outfit into an extraordinary look. With a few simple tools, you can make your own hoop earrings -- with or without beads -- and create the exact match for your favorite outfit.
Things You'll Need
- Metal jewelry wire, 20 or 21 gauge
- Beads (optional)
- Round-nose pliers
- Chain-nose pliers
- Flat-nose pliers
- Side cutters
- Rawhide mallet, plastic mallet or ball peen hammer
- Anvil or block
- Cup burr or needle file
- Eye googles
Gather your tools and select the type of metal wire you would like to use for your earrings. 20- or 21-gauge wire is generally the most comfortable to wear.
Using your round-nose pliers, make an eye at one end of your spool of wire. To avoid scraps and conserve precious metal wire, do not cut the wire from your spool until you get to step 5.
The length of wire you use depends on the size hoop you would like to create. Select a dowel the size of the hoop you want to make. There are many commercial dowels available to make jewelry. Inexpensive alternatives can be found throughout your house. Children's blocks, felt-tipped pen, pencils, broom or mop handles and tree limbs are all examples of items that can be used as a dowel.
Wrap the wire around your chosen dowel.
Be sure the wire is wrapped completely around the dowel with an overlap of about 1/2 inch. Cut the wire.
File the wire's end until it is very, very smooth, using a cup burr or needle file.
Feed on the beads, if any, onto the ear wire in your chosen pattern. Using your needle- or flat-nose pliers, bend the end to create a latch for the earring.
Place the earring carefully on a steel bench block or anvil. Hit the earring gently with a rawhide or plastic hammer to harden the metal and prevent the earring from bending when it is worn. Reshape the hoop as you work, if needed.
Repeat to make the earring mate.
Tips & Warnings
- These earrings can be made in sterling silver, gold, brass, copper, nickel silver, gold fill or craft wire made of a combination of base metals. They should not be made with any metal containing even trace amounts of lead.
- Heavy earrings are not comfortable, so consider the weight of beads when designing your earrings.
- California enacted a law that requires body-piercing jewelry sold in California to be made only from surgical implant stainless steel; surgical implant grade titanium; niobium; solid, 14-karat or higher white or yellow nickel-free gold (not gold-filled or gold-plate); solid platinum; or dense, low-porosity plastic that contains no intentionally added lead. The California law defines "body piercing jewelry" as "any part of jewelry that is manufactured or sold for placement in a new piercing or a mucous membrane, but does not include any part of that jewelry that is not placed within a new piercing or a mucous membrane."
- Wear eye goggles when cutting wire.
- Some people are allergic to nickel silver.
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