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Topic: Black Swan Earrings with wire-wrapped loop tute (Img heavy)  (Read 3379 times)
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« on: October 26, 2008 01:55:28 PM »

I made these earrings last night (and finished at about 3 AM).  In case anyone is interested, instructions on how to make them follow!

Also, pardon the lack of photographic creativity.  As I said, it was 3 AM, and my giant camera (and sleeping boyfriend) isn't so good for taking quick pictures.

Materials needed:
2 x 3.5" length 4mm "curb"-style chain, silver
2 x fish-hook or leverback earwires, silver
40 2" silver headpins (22 gauge is better; whatever is at your local craft store will probably work fine)
2 x 8mm corrugated silver metal beads
2 x 6/0 silver metallic seed beads
BLACK glass beads:
  10 x 6mm faceted round
  8 x 6mm faceted bicone
  6 x 4mm faceted round
CLEAR glass beads:
  6 x 6x4mm faceted rondelle
  8 x 6mm faceted round

Tools needed:
Super fine chain nose pliers (for reference below, mine have black handles)
Chain nose pliers, regular sized
Round-nose pliers (mine are purple)
Angled wire-cutters (you cannot use the ones inside pliers; they will not be able to get close enough to the bead) - mine are blue

Using the wire-wrapped loop technique (discussed below), make the charms and attach as you go in the following order:
Headpin 1 (attach to the bottom link of chain): 1 seed bead, 1 metal bead, attach and make the loop.

The rest of the headpin charms will be attached on each side of the chain.  The table below shows how I did this, with each column corresponding to the right and left side of the links.
You will want to start from the bottom and work your way up; the table shows the finished piece (so start at the bottom of the table for best results).  This is an image file, because I am HTML challenged.

MAKING A WIRE-WRAPPED LOOP (and attaching it to something before completion)
1.  String your bead(s) onto the headpin.  Grasp the headpin with regular chain-nose-pliers about 2-3mm from the bead.  I use the very tips of my wider chain-nose pliers to do this; this gets me about 3 wraps.  It doesn't matter what you use - just try to get enough for at least 2 wraps, and make sure the bend is a consistent distance from the bead on every charm.

2.  Using your round-nose pliers, grip the bend.  My round-nose pliers are asymmetrical (one side is a little larger).  I use this to my advantage by having the smaller side under the loop, and using the larger side to wrap the wire around (this will be clearer in a couple of steps).  Ensure that the bead forms as close to a 90 degree angle as possible to the line of the pliers, as below (mine is a bit off to the left, as I am holding the pliers at arm's length to take a picture with the other hand).  This will keep your loop from getting funky by keeping the wire on the same, flat plane.

3.  Gripping the wire tightly with your fingers, swing it around to make a "question-mark" shaped bend in the wire.  Again, you can see here what I'm talking about: the larger side of my round-nose pliers is the side that I'm shaping the wire around.  Ensure that you pull this tightly; it should wrap around the pliers with no space between.

4.  Flip your pliers upside down, so that you now have one side on the top of the "question-mark" and the side you wrapped the wire around inside the loop.  Push the wire against the slope of the pliers so that it's a tight fit; if you let the loop slip closer to the tips of the pliers, the shape of the loop will not be round.

5.  Finish bringing the wire around to complete the loop.  Sorry this is so out of focus, but I think the general idea is clear.

6.  Your loop may be off-center; I usually have to compensate for this.  Grab the loop close to the bend with your super fine chain nose pliers, and...

7.  Center it.

8.  Here, you will want to make sure that there's enough room to slide on the chain.  This is the departure from the rule that you want everything to be flat and on the same plane.  Grab your super fine pliers and open this just a tiny bit.  Where the two pieces of wire touch at the bottom of the loop, spread them apart just a little.  Mine needs to be opened.

9.  Slide the loop onto whatever it needs to be attached to.  IF YOU SKIP THIS STEP you will have to use a jump-ring, as once the loop is "wrapped" you cannot open it any longer.  However, if you are using fine-gauge wire or trying to make something extra secure, you can see the obvious advantage of a wrapped loop (not to mention it looks much nicer!).

10.  Hold the loop securely.  Don't squash the chain.  Hold it with the super fine pliers between the long end of the wire and the chain.  Just... look at the picture!  LOL

11.  Begin wrapping the wire around the "stem" we left in the first step.  Last chance to check your positioning!
Grab close to the end of the headpin, squeeze both hands fairly tightly, and wrap a full time around the stem.  Use your super fine pliers to guide the loop - it should be flush against them, or your "coil" will be sloppy and angled.

Wrap again, until you are one headpin-width away from the bead.  This comes with practice.

12.  If needed, squeeze your wraps together to make them look tight and neat.

13.  Using your angled cutters, clip as close in there as you can get.

14.  This is why we left the extra headpin-width of space after the last wrap.  Use your super fine pliers to tuck the remaining end down into that space (this takes some practice; just get it as tight as you can).  I don't know how I do this; I kind of "rotate and squeeze" to finish coiling the piece down, then I squeeze extra hard to secure that little end.

15.  Lather, rinse, and repeat to make my earrings or whatever you want.  These took me forever - each one of the 40 charms has a wire-wrapped loop!

I know that my technique isn't perfect, but I'm hoping that since I'm still a beginner, my instructions can be helpful to other beginners.  This is the first project where I have extensively used wrapped loops.  Please feel free to leave constructive criticism!
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2008 02:37:26 PM »

This not only ROCKS but Ive wisted them, seriously they are amazing, if only i had jewelry skills! good work


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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2008 03:40:10 PM »

Thanks for sharing these great how-to pics!  I picked up some headpins on a whim a while ago with the intent of learning how to do this and then completely forgot about it for a couple of months.  Seeing your beautiful earrings has made me want to pull those out and finally give it a try.  I've never really tried making jewelery, but these clear instructions and photos make me think I might just be able to get it.  Thanks!

I would love to do some personal swaps.
I'm looking for handmade soaps, jewelry, and knit legwarmers/socks.
pm me if I can sew something for you!

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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2008 05:19:42 PM »

Wow, those earrings are really great, and thank you so much for the really clear step-by-step!  You do give this rank beginner some hope!  I can tell you put alot of time into the earrings, and the post.  Thanks for sharing and great job!

I'm a medium aged procrastinator, with a room full of craft supplies! 

I've got a wist and a pinterest: http://www.wists.com/cute_anarchy 
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2008 05:21:14 PM »

hey your tutorial is awesome! i've never been interested in making jewelery because i just didn't know how to do it. your earrings look super neat and professional. thanks for sharing! it was very helpful.

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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008 09:02:31 PM »

thanks for the tutorial! i've been wanting to get into jewelry making a long time..your earrings turned out great!
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2008 10:19:16 PM »

Thanks for the replies and sweet words.  I had such a rotten day and this made it so much better - I love this site!!!
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2008 01:20:29 PM »

Wow!  Great tut!  I've never seen it explained so well.  The pix are great, seriously very helpful thank you!
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