How to make your own silver ear wires for earrings

How to make your own silver ear wires for jewelry

For those of you who are DIY’ers like me, you may be interested to know that you can make your own French hook jewelry ear wires for a fraction of what it costs for you to buy them! This is my formula on how I make earwires for the resin earrings I sell to customers.

make your own ear wires

List of supplies:

  • Needle nose or flat nose jewelry pliers
  • Chain nose jewelry pliers
  • Jewelry side cutters
  • 20 gauge wire (sterling silver or sterling silver filled dead soft)
  • Fine jewelry file

Optional:

  • Planishing hammer
  • Anvil

making earringsI start by going about a third of the way from the end of the pliers to grasp my end of the silver wire.

 

 

 

chain nose pliers

Form a loop at the end of your wire using the chain nose pliers.  Your loop should look like a lower case letter b.

 

 

 

 

forming wireI like to use a ‘Bic’ brand pen as the mandrel for forming the part of the earwire that sits in the ear.  I don’t know the dimensions, but it forms a nice shape.  Hold the loop you have already formed down at 6 o’ clock.  Bend the top of the wire around the pen to 12 o’ clock.  Start coming down the other side and continue until the wire is at about a 45 degree angle.

 

 

forming earwires

This is a visual explanation of what I was trying to explain in the last picture.

 

 

 

 

 

bending wire

As I’m holding the ear wire, I slightly bend it about the place ‘visually’ where the bottom of the wire is the same place at the bottom of the loop.  Cut the wire about 2 to 3 millimeters away from this bend with your side cutters.

 

 

 

silver french hook

At this point, you could stop here.  File the end (or use a cup bur and your flex shaft) so that a sharp bur won’t hurt someone.  I, however, like to gussy mine up a bit.

 

 

 

hammering silver wire

I like to add some artistic flair to my ear wires.  I use a planishing hammer (flat face) and hammer the end on a flat surface.  (This small anvil works great for this.)  Hammering the end also makes the earring have its own ‘stopper’.  It is a little harder to fall out of someone’s ear.

 

 

 

hammered ear wireThis is the ear wire after hammering.

 

 

 

 

silver ear wires

For comparison, the earwire on the left is one that I have hammered the end.  The one on the right has not been hammered.

 

 

 

filing silver wire

File the ends of your ear wires to remove any sharp edges.

 

 

 

resin earringsAttach your finished ear wires to your earrings.  Wear proudly!

 

A few other notes about how I do ear wires:

I use 20 gauge wire.  I don’t think smaller diameter wire is sturdy enough to hold earrings with any kind of weight and larger diameter wire may be difficult for some ladies to get through the holes in their ears.

I use wire that’s appropriate for the piece.  For example, if I’m making sterling silver earrings, I use sterling silver ear wires.  Since resin earrings generally cost less, I use sterling silver filled wire so that I can keep the cost down.

Like this post? You may be interested in  How to make resin bangles

I like to use dead soft (versus half hard) wire.  I think it’s easier to manipulate.

Any other questions?  Ask them below:

6 Comments

Deborah

I love ball head earwires, but I can’t find 20 gauge 2 inch or 2 1/2 inch ones anywhere to make my own earwires. If you’ve scoured the internet anymore than I have, could you give me a source that you’ve found?

Many thanks!

Deb

Reply
Allie

Deb – I see this is fairly old, but I also see that there’s no source given for the individual longer ball-type headpins that I think you are asking about here. I find them at fusionbeads (and, no, I am not affiliated with them in any way other than as an occasional customer!)
So if you’re still looking – or for anyone else looking – here’s a link:
http://www.fusionbeads.com/search#!-ball-head-pins-%3b%3b-productsearch&ea_d=_1_ALL
The “thickest” they seem to have are 21 gauge but that should be fine. (Everyone has different prefs!; lots of people like 20gauge but I have trouble getting them into my pierced ears, so I prefer 22 gauge anyway; I do hammer them a bit to work-harden but they are much easier to get into my own pierced ears!).
of course only in silver and gold plated, not in sterling, those are shorter and thinner wires – I assume due to pricing issues.
Good luck! I hope you’ve already found a source by now, but maybe this will help someone coming along later on 🙂

Reply
Katherine

@Deb,

Do a search for 20 gauge sterling silver wire. You should get a couple of options to buy it in bulk. You will then need to cut the lengths yourself.

Reply
Evelyne

Hoping you still are available for questions…

For wire wrapping, 20, 22 and 24 gauge, are dead soft and half hard similar or is it really better to use dead soft?

When in rose gold for example the hardness is not specified, why isn’t it?

Thank you so much. Your explanations are great and very useful :))))))
Evelyne

Reply
Katherine Swift

@Evelyne, I am not a wire wrapping expert. Dead soft wire is easier to work with, but may stay too soft to hold wire wrapped designs. For gold wire when it is purchased, it should state whether or not it is rose gold or gold filled. You can assume the gold filled stuff is half hard, while pure metal would be dead soft.

Reply

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