I have always loved the look of handmade earrings. They are so unique, and you are getting a “one of a kind” piece of jewelry when you buy handmade. A few years ago my husband bought me the best gift for Christmas. He gave me a book on basic jewelry making, ear wires, head pins, jewelry making tools, and a gift certificate to a local bead store. I was soon off and discovering the joys of making (and selling) my own earrings.
The thought of making my own earrings used to intimidate me, and I know that many of my friends feel that way as well. However, there is very little to be intimidated by, you just need a few basic supplies and a good book with illustrations. To make your own earrings you will need:
* Head pins
* Earring wires
* Round nose pliers
* Flat nosed pliers
* Wire cutters
* Basic illustrations (for beginners)
Head pins look very similar to straight pins used for sewing, but they don’t have a sharp, pointed end. They have the flat head like a straight pin, and this is what keeps the beads from falling off.
To make a pair of earrings, arrange your beads onto a head pin. These come in a variety of lengths, I like the 2 inch size as they are the most versatile for me. If you don’t like the look of your design, simply remove the beads and start over until you create something you are happy with.
Once you have your design set, take your flat nosed pliers (they are much like a needle-nosed pliers) and bend the end of your head pin into a 90 degree angle. Cut off the end of the pin so that only about 1/4″ of pin remains.
Next, take your round nosed pliers and bend the 1/4″ of the remaining head pin into a loop. This is the hardest part of making professional looking earrings, and it takes practice to get your loops perfectly round. I push down and bend the pins at the same time, and this works well for me.
Okay! You have your earring design on your head pin, and you have a loop at the top. This loop will connect the earrings to a pair of ear wires, which come in a wide variety of styles and colors. You can buy real gold and sterling silver, but they are very expensive. A cheaper alternative is to buy gold and silver plated ear wires. They are also available in copper and brass.
If you, like me, want to sell your earring creations, you can buy earring cards and revolving earring display racks. This can be a very profitable business. I sold earrings as a fund raiser for a child who had cancer, and in 6 months we raised $2000. (I gave the family 50% of my profits).
I have been making and selling earrings in three different local shops for five years, and the challenge is finding new styles. Sometimes my creative juices get dried up and I have to take a break from it to recharge myself. There are numerous books available on jewelry making, from the basics to the elaborate. If you are just starting out, I suggest you find one with a lot of colorful illustrations and pictures.
If you like the look of hand made earrings, I encourage you to take the plunge and make your own. It is very rewarding, and they make wonderful gifts that your friends and family will cherish.