Learn to make your own lovely diamond or square shaped earwires using a fun pair of specialty jewelry making pliers. This step-by-step video tutorial shows you the technique to create perfect earwires easily and quickly.
Won’t these add a special touch to your handmade earring creations?
Complete list of tools + materials and notes after the video.
TOOLS & SUPPLIES:
• Wubber’s Jumbo Square Mandrel Pliers
• two 3 inch pieces of 20 gauge wire, half hard or dead soft*
• flush cutters
• round nosed pliers
• wire rounder tool (1.8mm cup bur) or needle file
• bench block or desktop anvil
• rawhide mallet or smoothed jewelry hammer**
* I use half hard wire for all my earwires. The term ‘half hard’ refers to the flexibility of the metal. ‘Dead soft’ is easily malleable which means it’s easier to work with, but will require more ‘work hardening’ to stiffen it up so that your finished piece will hold its shape. Work hardening can be done by tapping a few times with a hammer or by tumbling in a motorized jewelry tumbler with steel shot. Half hard wire is wire that has slightly hardened by the manufacturer and will have more ‘spring back’ than dead soft material, though it is still recommended that you work harden your pieces to help them retain their shape.
Practice working with both dead soft and half hard wire to learn the tendencies and characteristics of each!
** A rawhide mallet is a mallet used by jewelers to work harden their metals. As it’s made of rawhide, it doesn’t mar the surface of the metal as much as a traditional hammer. I am using a simple hardware store ball-peen hammer in my video, but it’s important to note that I spent a good amount of time polishing the end of that hammer with progressively finer sandpaper before it was ready to use as a ‘jewelry hammer’.
♦ For beginners, I recommend taking a look at How to Make Simple Wire Loops for help and trouble shooting with the loop-forming part of the tutorial, and How to Wire Wrap a Briolette will show you how I made the sweet little briolette drops used for this project.