Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Make "Fish Hook" Ear Wires

Handmade ear wires enhance earrings. Making your own ear wires will add value to your jewelry designs, allow you to create exactly what you need for any given project and save you money.  Ear wires are easy to make. This tutorial will explain how to make a simple ear hook for pierced ears.

20-gauge round wire (sterling, gold, brass, copper or other non-ferrous metal)

Gather your toolsTools
Chain nose pliers
Needle files (optional)
Round nose pliers or
Wire looping pliers
Wire cutters
Flex shaft and 16 gauge cup bur or wire rounder
Plastic mallet

Ear Wire Jig by GeltDesigns
Step 1
Make a loop at the end of the wire using round nose or wire looping pliers. Wrap the wire around an ear wire jig, wig jig or mandrel. You can also form the the ear wire by hand by draping the wire over your finger.

We used a jig we made ourselves in our studio using blocks, a cork and nails.

Step 2
Remove the ear wires from the jig and cut the wire from the spool using wire side cutters or flush cutters to cut the wire.

Step 3
File the ends of the ear wire until smooth enough to slip through an ear. File the ends using a wire rounder or needle file or a cup burr and flex shaft.

Step 4
Place the ear wires on a steel bench block or anvil. Hammer the ear wires with a rawhide or plastic mallet to harden the ear wires and prevent them form becoming misshapen. If needed, adjust the ear wires with chain nose or bent nose pliers.

You can also harden ear wires by placing them in a tumbler with stainless steel shot.

Upcycled Earrings by GeltDesigns
Related Tutorials 
How to Make an Ear Wire Jig

How to Smooth Sharp Edges on Copper, Brass and Sterling Wire
How to Measure Wire
How to Use a Wire Gauge
GeltDesigns Tutorials by Topic

New Jewelry a Day

Further Reading
"Metalworking 101 for Beaders: Create Custom Findings, Pendants & Projects (Lark Jewelry Books)"; Candice Cooper; 2009.
"Handcrafted Wire Findings: Techniques and Designs for Custom Jewelry Components"; Denise Peck, Jane Dickerson

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