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Corkscrew Earrings

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Instructions for making Corkscrew Earrings out of jewelry wire, beads and common jewelry supplies using common jewelry tools:

 

 

These earrings may not look simple to make, but they are actually rather easy.  Once you have the technique, it should only take 10 to 15 minutes to make a pair of these Corkscrew Earrings.  Like all one piece earrings, they stand out as being custom made earrings.  This is a beginners jewelry making project. 

Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry making project made with beads and jewelry wire.
Corkscrew Earrings

Jewelry Supplies Required:

Jewelry Tools Required:

 

  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Flush Cutter
  • Chain Nose or Bent Chain Nose Pliers
  • 1/4" Dowel
  • Cup Bur
  • Chasing Hammer
  • Anvil
  • 20 minutes of free time

Step-by-step instructions for making earrings using common jewelry tools, jewelry wire and beads:

Step 1:  Cut and straighten a 5 1/2" long piece of 20 or 21G soft gold-filled or sterling silver jewelry wire.

Step 2:  Make an eye loop in one end of this jewelry wire.

Step 3:  Grasp the wire just above the eye loop with your chain nose pliers and make a 45 degree bend in the wire.  When done, the jewelry wire should appear as shown at right.  
 


Step 3 to instructions for making Corkscrew Earrings using common jewelry supplies.
    
Step 3



Step 4:  Using the thumb on your non-dominant hand, hold the loop and 45 degree bend against a 1/4" dowel.  Wrap the wire around the dowel by pushing it with the thumb on your dominant hand.  Wrap the wire around the dowel 2 1/2 times so that the distance between the start of the 45 degree bend and the end of the wrap is exactly 1 inch.  Please note that the distances between successive loops of jewelry wire are not the same.  They get smaller as you complete the wrap.  When completed the jewelry wire should appear as shown at right.  It will be easier to make your second and follow-on pairs of earrings if you use tape to mark the beginning and ending of the wraps.   You want to begin at the same place and end at the same place on your dowel.  A sharpie or Magic Marker will work instead of tape if you prefer.  


 

Step 4 to instructions for making Corkscrew Earrings using common jewelry tools.

Step 4

Step 5:  Remove the jewelry wire from the Dowel and using your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the last loop you just made at the point opposite the beginning eye loop.  Bend the wire 90 degrees so that it points away from the center of the coil made on the dowel.  See the two views of the wire at right to see how the jewelry wire should appear at this point. 


Step 5 to instructions for making Corkscrew Earrings using common jewelry supplies. 
Step 5



Step 5 Second View to instructions for making Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry making project
    
Step 5 Two Views


Step 6:  Using the thickness of the jaws of your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the wire at the point where you made the 90 degree bend in the wire in Step 5.  With one edge of your pliers touching the 90 degree bend, bend the wire against the other side of your pliers to make another 90 degree bend, but this time, down parallel to the axis of the coil of wire made on the dowel.  When completed, the jewelry wire should appear as shown at right. 

Step 6 to instructions for making Corkscrew Earrings using jewelry wire and beads.

Step 6

 

Step 7:  Now grasp the wire tail, that you just bent down, at the point opposite the initial 45 degree bend, just above the eye loop and bend the wire up about 35 to 45 degrees.  When done, the jewelry wire should appear as shown at right. 

Step 7 to instructions for making earrings using common jewelry making supplies.

Step 7



Step 8:  Make a bead dangle with 6mm or 8mm beads and hang the bead dangle from the initial eye loop.  At this point the jewelry wire should appear as shown at right.

Step 9:  Now we have to harden the ear wire portion of this earring to set the design.  This is done by placing the ear wire portion of this earring (not the coils) on an anvil and hammering it with a chasing hammer.  Many lighter taps are preferable to a few heavy pounds.  Turn the earring over and hammer on the opposite side.  A slight but visible flattening of the wire is desired.


Step 8 for Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry making project showing bead.    

Step 8

   


Step 10:  With Step 9 you have completed one of two earrings.  To make the other earring, you want it to be a mirror image as shown at right.  This is accomplished by following all the steps above except in Step 4 you wrap the wire in the opposite direction.  In Step 4, you can see that the wire was pointed toward your body when you started the wrap.  To make the second earring the wire would have the same orientation (with the loop on the left), but the jewelry wire would be pointed away from your body. 
Finished Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry making project showing bead dangles added at bottom.

Step 10

 

Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry making project without beads.Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry making project made with jewelry wire


Alternative designs for making earrings: 

The corkscrew earrings jewelry making project shown left and right are larger than the version we made with the bead dangle.  These earrings use similar steps in their construction, but have 3 1/2 wraps of wire around the 1/4" dowel instead of the 2 1/2 used for the earrings with the bead dangle.  The last 1/2 inch of jewelry wire is hammered flat prior to wrapping the wire around the dowel.

 

 

 

Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry Making Project alternative design.Corkscrew Earrings Jewelry Making Project alternative view



We were to learn that this design for Corkscrew Earrings isn't as strong as we would like.  We showed the design to the general public and while we weren't looking these folks tested the strength of the design by pulling them apart.  Since these earrings were made with soft jewelry wire and weren't hardened, the design did not pass this test.  They were pulled out of shape.  Fortunately, we were able bring the earrings back into shape and we also learned an inexpensive lesson.  If you are making these corkscrew earrings for yourself or a family member, the prior designs will be plenty strong.  If you are making this design to sell, the design is not strong enough.  If you plan on selling these earrings you will need to modify the design.

 

 

Here is the alternative that I would recommend if you want to sell theseCorkscrew Earrings alternative design made with jewelry wire and beads. earrings.  First, this alternative has a loop at the top and bottom  The top loop is used to connect to a commercial ear wire.  The bottom loop is used to connect to a bead dangle as shown earlier.  The second modification is that fine gauge jewelry wire is used to wrap around the wire at the top and the bottom.  26 gauge Corkscrew Earrings alternative design made with seed beads and common jewelry supplies.wire is a good gauge to use as it is easy to wrap.  With several wraps of the wire next to the top and bottom loops, the fine gauge jewelry wire will protect the corkscrew wire shape from being pulled apart.  In the earrings shown in the above paragraph, silver lined bugle beads were threaded onto the fine gauge wire after the wire was wrapped around one end of the earrings, then, when the beads were in place, the second end of the fine gauge wire was wrapped.  The wire component at left shows how seed beads could be used instead of bugle beads.  The bottom line is that once the wrap is completed, the earring's shape will be very permanent. 

 

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

These earrings are a unique design, but can be made consistently using the instructions outlined above.  One way to assist in making these earrings consistently is to make two marks on your dowels to help in spacing the spiral.  The basic design for these earrings is not as strong as we like in most of our jewelry designs.  They are suitable for your personal use, but we don't suggest selling earrings that could pull apart with sufficient force.

 

 

 



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