Saturday, August 16, 2014

FREE Tutorial: Copper Cone Earrings!

Jumbo-sized tapered round mandrel pliers are perfect for creating a cool pair of copper-wire cone earrings! I used 12-gauge half-round wire to make the cones in this sample pair. Half-round wire not only looks more interesting than round wire, but it also significantly reduces the weight of the finished earrings. You could also try using 16-gauge round wire, twisted wire, and other types of wire such as sterling or fine silver, brass, or colored craft wire.
Wire flush-cutters suitable for cutting up to 12-gauge wire
Ruler and/or measuring tape
12-gauge half-round copper wire: approximately 60 inches
16-gauge round copper wire: approximately 4-1/2 inches
Two ear wires (if making your own, approximately 6 inches of 20-gauge wire)

Step 1: Flush-cut two pieces of 12-gauge half-round wire, each piece 30 inches in length. (Note: This measurement is an approximation. If you wish to make smaller cones, you’ll need less wire):
Step 2: Place one end of the half-round wire in the tips of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers as shown. Your goal is to grasp the wire as close to the tips of the tool as you can, without losing your grip on the wire:

Step 3: Begin wrapping the wire around the tip of the tool, bringing the wire down toward the back of the tool as you wrap it. This will create the cone shape:

Step 4: As you wrap the wire down the tool, use your fingers to occasionally press the cone down. The wire cone has a tendency to spring up toward the tip of the tool as you wrap it, so you’ll need to press it back down in place occasionally:
Step 5: Wrap until you run out of wire. A few minor gaps between each wire wrap are OK, but try to minimize these:
Step 6: Once finished, remove the cone. Use the tips of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers to create a small loop in the center of the back end of the cone, as indicated in the photo. Take your time with this, and be sure to close this small loop as you tug it gently to the center of the coiled wire cone:
Step 7: Repeat steps 1-6 to create a second wire cone with the remaining 30 inches of half-round wire. Then create two bead dangles on headpins using the beads of your choice (a tutorial for these is provided here). Tip: Use lightweight beads to keep the earrings light:
Step 8: Flush-cut two pieces of 16-gauge wire, each piece about 2-1/4 inches in length:

Step 9: Place one end of the wire in the middle of the baby round-nose pliers:
Step 10: Create a small eye-pin loop on the small round-nose pliers as shown. Note that this is a simple eye-pin loop that is not wrapped. If you don’t know how to make a simple eye-pin loop as pictured, a tutorial on this technique can be accessed here:
Step 11: Open the eye-pin loop sideways using chain-nose pliers:
Step 12: Place a bead dangle on the eye-pin loop and then close it again, using chain-nose pliers:
Step 13: Slip the wire through the small end of the cone, with the bead dangle protruding as shown:
Step 14: Run the straight end of the wire through the loop in the center of the large end of the cone:
Step 15: Use small round-nose pliers to create a small eye-pin loop in this end of the wire:
Step 16: Repeat these instructions to create two wire cones with bead dangles:
Step 17: You can now attach your cones to a pair of ear wires of your choice. If you’d like to make a simple pair of ear wires yourself, start with two pieces of 20-gauge wire, each about 3 inches long. Create a small loop on one end of each wire piece, near the tips of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers:
Step 18: Place the wire near the back of the pliers and bend the wire over as shown, until the small loop almost touches the wire:
Step 19: Use chain-nose pliers to gently turn up the straight end of the wire, creating a “tail” that will be easier to insert into your pierced ear. Option: File this wire end gently using a nail file or jeweler’s file:
Step 20: Open the loop on the ear wire sideways using chain-nose pliers:
Step 21: Place the eye-pin loop at the top of a cone on the ear-wire’s loop, and then close it sideways firmly, using chain-nose pliers. Repeat these instructions to finish the second earring, and your copper cone earrings are ready to wear!
The finished earrings pictured at the top of this post were darkened with a solution of liver of sulfur, and then polished with 0000 steel wool from the hardware store. Instructions for this process are provided in all of my books and DVDs.
Happy wrapping!


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