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Stays-On Ear Wires

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Instructions for making "Stays On" ear wires using WigJig jewelry tools, beads and jewelry wire:

Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  - Jewelry Making ProjectStays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire made using WigJig jewelry tools to shape the wire.

Have you ever had a problem with losing an earring because the ear wire slid off your ear?  When you make earrings that are light weight, this can be a serious problem. 

Conventional shepherd's hook ear wires have been made for thousands of years.  In fact, Roman earrings can be found using this ear wire design.  In all that time, there has not been a serious improvement  in the design.  That could mean that the design was perfect as is.  We choose to believe that the design could be improved.  Unfortunately, the improved version takes a few more steps to make. 

The ear wire that you see left and right above appears quite different from the conventional shepherd's hook ear wire.  The interesting thing is that this ear wire, when worn, appears almost indistinguishable from a shepherd's hook ear wire.  The one difference is that it will appear that the hole in the wearer's ear is slightly lower when wearing this Stays On design. 

The reason that this ear wire stays on better than a conventional ear wire is pretty obvious.  The notch at the top of the ear wire fits the ear lobe better and makes the earrings less likely to slide.  This notch can be made at a length of 1/8" for heavier earrings or with a length of 1/4" for lighter earrings.  Lighter earrings need a longer notch to stay on than heavier earrings need. 

In the sample ear wires shown above, we included a 4mm bead in the ear wire.  We strongly suggest that if you are making these ear wires that you include a small 2mm to 4mm bead in the ear wire in a color that matches or compliments the color of the beads in your earrings.  The reason for this is simple -- when you add that bead, it says to everyone who sees that ear wire that this is custom made.  This will help differentiate your jewelry from something that is mass produced.  The "stays on" feature will also help to differentiate your jewelry from all of the other jewelry in the market place.  This will help to stimulate sales. 

This is an intermediate jewelry making project.

Jewelry Making Supplies Required:

Jewelry Tools Required:

  • 8 inches of 20 gauge round, preferably soft silver or gold-filled jewelry wire,
  • Two 2 to 4mm beads.
  • Ruler,
  • Flush cutter,
  • Round nose pliers,
  • Bent chain nose pliers (2),
  • Fine Step Jaw Pliers,
  • Nylon jaw pliers,
  • Any WigJig Jewelry Making Tool
  • 1 Regular Metal Pegs for the jig
  • One 3/8" Super Peg for the jig
  • Nylon or Metal Chasing Hammer
  • Anvil or Bench Block
  • 20 minutes of free time,

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

Instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  using WigJig jewelry tools.

Step-by-Step instructions for making the Stays On Ear Wire using WigJig jewelry tools, beads and jewelry wire:


Step 1:  Using your nylon jaw pliers, straighten a segment of 20 gauge round, soft jewelry wire about 4 inches long. 

Step 2:  Using your flush cutter, cut the jewelry wire segment to a length of 4 inches.

Step 3:  Using your step jaw pliers, make a partial loop in the end of the jewelry wire.  Make the loop the size of the peg for your WigJig tool.  This loop only needs to be a partial loop because it will ultimately be cut off.  (If you don't have step jaw pliers, you can use round nose pliers.)

Step 4:  Place your partial loop on Peg 1 in the pattern on your WigJig jewelry tool and wrap your jewelry wire around peg 2 as shown below-left.  The picture shows the WigJig Delphi jewelry tool.  Peg 1 is a regular metal peg and peg 2 is a 3/8 inch Super Peg.  For making this ear wire with an open loop at the bottom, space peg 2 about 1 1/2 inches from peg 1.  If you want to make a wrapped loop at the bottom of the ear wire, position peg 2 about 2 inches from peg 1. 

Step 5:  Remove the jewelry wire from your jewelry making jig and it should appear as shown below-center. 

Step 6:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the jewelry wire at the point where the round bend ends and bend the wire 90 degrees.  Do this on both sides of the round portion of the wire.  When completed, the wire should appear as shown below-right. 

Step 4 to instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  - showing use of WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 5 to instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire showing position of jewelry wire.


Step 6 to instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  showing wire after use of jewelry tools.
Step 4 Step 5 Step 6

Step 7 to instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  - Jewelry Making ProjectStep 7:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the longer end of jewelry wire (without the loop) immediately adjacent to the rounded segment of wire and bend the wire 90 degrees at that point.  When you are done, the wire should appear as shown at right.  (Every time we've done this, we had to make small adjustments so that the angles were really 90 degrees.)

Step 8A:  Again, using your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the jewelry wire adjacent to the 90 degree bend that you made in step 7 and make another 90 degree bend.  See the picture below-left to view where you grasp the wire.  Grasp the wire at a point on the pliers where the jaws of the pliers are about 3/16 inch wide. 

Step 8B:  See the picture below-center for how the bend in the jewelry wire should appear after you have completed step 8A.  Please note the position on your step jaw pliers where you made this bend.  You will want to use the same position on the pliers when you perform this step on your second Stays On ear wire. 

Step 9:  Remove the jewelry wire from your pliers and inspect.  At this point we had to perform some minor adjustments so that all the angles we just made were 90 degrees.  See the picture below-right.

Step 8A to instructions for making Stays on Ear Wire showing wire held in jewelry tool. Step 8B to instruction for Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire showing wire held in jewelry tool. Step 9 to instructions for Stays On Ear Wire showing jewelry wire position.
Step 8A (Before) Step 8B (After) Step 9

Step 10 to Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  - Jewelry Making ProjectStep 10:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the wire adjacent to the 90 degree bend that you made in Step 8 and bend the jewelry wire about 30 degrees as shown at right. 

Step 11:  Measure about 1 inch from the bend you made in Step 10, and grasp the wire at that point with your bent chain nose pliers.  Bend the wire 30 degrees more.  See the picture below-left. 

Step 12:  Measure about 1/4 inch from the bend that you made in Step 11 and cut the jewelry wire with your flush cutter.  Also cut the initial loop off the wire at this time.  See the picture below-center. 

Step 13:  Before continuing any further, this is the time to harden your ear wire by hammering it.  We used a nylon hammer and bench block to harden our wire.  We hammered lightly but firmly about 20 to 40 times on the wire component.  The nylon hammer should not change the round shape of the wire. 

Step 14:  Once you have completely hardened your wire, then you can add your complimentary 2mm to 4mm bead to the initial wire segment as shown below-right. 

Step 11 to instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  Step 12 and 13 to instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  Step 14 to of instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire adding beads.
Step 11 Step 12 Step 14

Step 15 to instructions for making Stays On Jewelry Wire Ear Wire  Step 15:  Now we need to make a loop in the wire.  You can view our instructions for making an open loop here.  You can view our instructions for making a closed loop here.    The first step in making this loop is to grasp the wire immediately above the bead and bend the wire 90 degrees as shown at right.  Once you have completed this 90 degree bend, use your step jaw or round nose pliers to make your loop.  Please note that making this loop is a multi-step process.  You won't be able to complete the loop without relaxing your grip on the wire and re-orientating your pliers so that they aren't in the way of the wire.  Once you have moved your pliers, then you can complete the 360 degree loop. 

Step 15A:  If you are making an open loop like the one shown below, you can cut the excess jewelry wire with your flush cutter and close the final loop.  Your ear wire is now ready for service. 

Step 15B:  If you are making a wrapped loop (like an ear wire with spring) you can connect the earring body to the loop in the ear wire when you are ready.  After making that connection, then you can continue to finish the ear wire by completing the wrap. 

We hope you like our Stays On Ear Wire design.  If you are making jewelry and are willing to take the time to make your own ear wires, using this design is a way to truly differentiate your jewelry from any factory made jewelry.  Both the Stays On notch at top and the use of a complimentary bead will let everyone know that this is a hand-made, custom ear wire.   

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

If you want to make earrings that stand out and look different from all the earrings imported from China and India, here is an ear wire design that will make your earring shout "I am handmade."  Adding the bead that is either identical or complimentary to the beads in your earrings will also make your earrings stand out as hand made.

 

 



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