Monday, January 21, 2013

FREE Tutorial: French Ear Wires

In this free tutorial, I'd like to show you how to make sophisticated French-style ear wires with spirals as pictured above. Start with two bead dangles on head pins (click here for a free tutorial) and two 4-inch pieces of round wire in either 20ga or 22ga, depending on which gauge is most comfortable in your ear lobes. Grasp both wires in the middle of the small round-nose pliers, about one-third of the way down from the top end of the wires:
Bend the wires over and to the right:
Continue bending the wires until they are wrapped one complete rotation around the bottom jaw of the small round-nose pliers; again, note that the wires are wrapped around to the right:
Reposition the tool so that just the tips are inserted into the loops, and use your fingers to bend the bottom, longer wires sharply against the edge of the tool:
Separate the two wires. Place a bead dangle on one of the loops, opening the loop sideways just slightly if necessary to place the wrapped bead dangle on it:
Close the loop, and then insert the round-nose pliers into the loop. Place the pliers in your left hand, with the longest wire facing away from you and the shortest wire pointing to the left:
Use chain-nose pliers to grasp the short, wrapping wire around the "neck" area of the longer wire. Don't be tempted to use your hand for this wrap, as you won't get as tight a wrap around the neck:
Continue wrapping the wire tightly around the neck three times:
To make a tiny spiral, start by grasping the very tip of the wire in the tips of the small round-nose pliers. Bend a tiny loop in the wire end:
Tighten the loop in the tips of the chain-nose pliers:
Spiral in the remaining wire in the middle of the chain-nose pliers, with the spiral facing the tip of the tool:
Press the spiral firmly against the straight wire:
Bend the straight wire over the spiral, at a 45- to 90-degree angle:
Place the straight wire into bail-making pliers or your largest round-nose pliers, and bend the wire up and over the jaw in the tool:
Use chain-nose pliers to bend up a little tail in the wire end to make it easier to insert into your ear lobe:
To work-harden your ear wires, lightly tap them with a chasing hammer or a planishing hammer. Repeat these instructions with the second ear wire, and you have a pair of French-style earrings:
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Many more wire jewelry techniques and projects are found in my instructional DVDs and eBooks, including Arty Jewelry, Arty Jewelry II, Arty Jewelry III, and Arty Jewelry IV.
If you would like live instruction on jewelry making techniques, I offer day classes at some jewelry stores in the Southern California area. I also teach my techniques during Wild Wire Women retreats held in my mountain home in Idyllwild, California.
Happy wrapping,

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