Saturday, January 17, 2009

Earring Tutorial and Giveaway

Years ago one of my college roommates, of whom I do not otherwise have any fond memories, gave me a pair of earrings for Christmas...that she had made herself. They were simple, with a couple of brown glass beads on each, but I loved them and was totally impressed. She assured me they were easy to make but I didn't want to spend that much time with her so I never learned.

Fast forward 10 years to living the good life in Boulder, Colorado. I got Kat to take a $15 jewelry class at Michael's with me, and was that ever money-and-an-hour well spent. I bought my tools, loaded up on beads and wire, and for the next few years spent my free time making necklaces, bracelets and earrings for myself, friends and family - gifts, shower favors, or "just because." When we moved to New York the beading supplies got boxed up and I only pulled them out a few times - it was almost impossible to find a childless window in which to get them out, spread them out, make something, clean up and pack up. Just before leaving NY I did a little jewelry workshop with some ladies from church, to help clean out my supplies, and you may remember an earring giveaway my friend Lindsay did with the pairs she made.

Well ever since then I've been meaning to do a little blog tutorial here on how to make a pair of earrings. It's a remarkably useful skill to have. The equipment is cheap and small, and most women have pierced ears so it's handy to whip them up for people anytime. And a pair of handmade earrings is so impressive! So here you go.

How to Make Earrings

Qualifier: It is way easier to just show someone than to explain in writing and pictures. Most steps are two-handed but Ed was at work so I had to take the pictures with one hand. Luckily my entire readership is of above-average intelligence so you can mostly figure it out if you follow along.

Wire cutters, Round-nose pliers, Needle-nose or Chain-nose pliers

2 head pins
2 ear hooks/wires

*Make sure the bead holes are big enough to fit on the pin but not so big they slip off the head. You may need a small bead to go on the pin before a large one. Don’t pick very heavy beads.

1. String the beads on a head pin the way you want them. This is the hardest part! Seriously, you wouldn't think lining up 2 to 5 beads on a pin would be tough but what you think will look good doesn't always, and vice versa. Design matters!

2. Using needle-nose pliers bend the pin at about a 90-degree angle.

3. Wrap the end of the pin around the tip of a round-nose plier, using the needle-nose pliers to help you hold the earring.
4. Watch carefully here. Slip the round-nose pliers out and reinsert the lower nose into the same loop. Twist the wire around to make a complete loop but don't close it because you have to slide on the ear hook.
5. Slip the earwire onto the pin loop before finishing it. Do NOT look at my ugly fingernails. I am a hardworking Mom who doesn't get a lot of manicures. Let's see yours!
6. Hold the earring as shown and, using your other hand and other pair of pliers, take the tail and twist it back around itself once or twice under the pliers you see in the picture so it fills in any extra wire between the top bead and the loop.
7. Cut the extra pin wire off using the wire cutters. 8. Repeat for second earring.
Tip: If you can avoid it, do not make your earrings on the back porch in 30-degree weather without a coat on. I can attest, it's less effective.

9. Try to get at least the little beads cleaned up before Ginger wakes up from her nap and excitedly asks, "Whatcha' dooooin'? Can I help you?"

Now you can wow all your friends and neighbors, hold a jewelry-making party, or at least accessorize your own wardrobe perfectly.

Now about the giveaway. I knew everyone would be so jealous of the pair I made in the demonstration that it would be cruel to not offer you at least the chance to have them for your own. So yes, this is a giveaway. Leave a comment saying "I want them" or something and you will be entered in the random drawing. But listen, not everyone can work red and orange, so make sure you've got the right attitude before leaving your comment. These were meant to be worn, not left in the jewelry box with the wallflowers. Contest closes Monday night 1/19 at 6pm. Sorry if you were hoping to get them in time for the Inaugural Ball.


tona said...

You taught me last year and I am soo grateful, what a clear tutorial with pictures too! I can work red and orange... hint hint...

Stratton Family said...

I'll work 'em! :) They are darling. I might need some extra hands on training, but it looks like a super fun skill! Thanks for sharing more of your talents with all of us!

cherry said...

"I'll wear them!"...soooo much fun and sooo pretty earings....woohoo!Thanks for sharing[always]..

The LDSMommy said...

Ooh! The perfect earrings to spice up my conservative black lawyer-in-training suits! I think this might be a great activity to do with my girls!

Jen said...

I think I may need an "in-person" tutorial. Can I just fly out and visit one of these days?

In the mean time...I've been wanting a reason to buy something to coordinate with some red/orange earrings.

Woo hoo. Great demo. I know the old college roommate who gave you your inspiration earrings? Lol.

The Henrich Family said...

very cool...pick me please!

Nells-Bells said...

totally want them. love giveaways!

DominiqueD said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I needed to find one exacly like this...I can't work red and orange, but I wanted to comment anyway!

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