Pretty Earrings Can Make Even Bad News Sound Good

Continuing our exploration of the Jewelry Arts, it’s time to actually make something pretty to wear or to give as a gift.

~~~oOo~~~

Green Goddess Earrings
Green Goddess Earrings

 

What’s better than a new pair of pretties to wear? The knowledge that you made them yourself!

This past weekend I got a chance to sit down at my work bench and make a couple of pairs of earrings using the mother of pearl disc beads I’d picked up in preparation for this art.

While everything else came from my own, well-stocked craft shelves, to make these projects you’ll need only a few bits and pieces from your local craft store of choice. (If you’re new to buying jewelry supplies, you may find my eHow article, How to Choose Beads, helpful.)

ProTip: a piece of felt or fleece on your work surface keeps the beads from rolling all over the place. Granted, it does nothing when you open the box of beads upside down, no where near the felted surface–but you probably already knew that.

For the Green Goddess Earrings:

  • Green Goddess Earring SuppliesHoop Earring findings, pre-drilled with 5 holes each
  • Sterling Silver wire, 24 gauge
  • 2 Mother of Pearl discs
  • 4 Green glass beads
  • 4 Silver bell beads
  • 8 Silver-tone 10/o or seed beads
  • Tools (Needle-nose pliers, Round-nose pliers, Wire cutters)

These earrings use some basic wire skills, namely wrapped loops. If you’re not ready to tackle wire-work, the second earring project, below, just uses needle and thread.

Securing the base of the beads Begin by making a small loop with the needle-nose pliers on one end of the silver wire and bend the wire at a 90-degree angle at the end of the loop, creating a stop for the beads. This is a quick way to work around not needing headpins around for every project.

Slide on your first bead (or bead group) and trim the wire off with a 1 inch tail measuring from the top of the bead (or bead group).

Beads ready for attaching Repeat with the rest of the beads. For each earring you will have:

  • 1 mother of pearl bead on wire
  • 2 each of the green glass beads topped with 2 silver-toned 10/o or seed beads*

For the little silver bells (of which you need 2 per earring), use a wrapped loop through the loop on the bell and leave a 1 inch tail of wire above.

Adding the bead drops to the earring finding. Begin the wrapped loops above each bead (group), making a 90-degree angle with the needle-nose pliers, then making a loop around the very tip of the round-nose pliers.

Thread them onto the earring finding to test your arrangement. Now is the time to make any changes before completing the wrapped loops.

Completed earring. Complete the wrapped loops for each of the 5 dangles and then repeat on the matching earring.

You might wonder what’s the point of doing 5 drops when 2 of them will be hidden by the large mother of pearl disc? First of all, some people might see them from the side, and those empty holes just look accidental. Secondly, doing it this way keeps the earring balanced–to skip it would risk the earring hanging funny when worn.

Pearl Drizzle Earrings
Pearl Drizzle Earrings

*After putting together the prototype first earring, I noticed the green glass beads were obscured by the silver bells. Adding the silver-toned seed beads lowered the green glass beads enough to looked balanced. It’s always a good idea to do a dry run.

For the Pearl Drizzle Earrings, the supply needs are even simpler:

  • Sterling Silver French Hook earring findings, 1 pair
  • 2 Mother of Pearl discs
  • 20 Silver-filled bugle beads
  • 18 Silver-tone 10/o or seed beads
  • 2 crystal 6/0 or e-beads
  • White beading thread
  • Beading needle

If you can thread a needle and tie a knot, you can make these earrings, that’s how simple these are but you’d never know it to look at them! Perfect for the upcoming beach-wear season, think how great these would look with a flowing sundress!

Laying out the earring map. Since I tend to be a visual crafter, I always layout my project before I sew or attach anything. It’s not a foolproof method by any means, but it works.

The order the parts go is

  • bugle bead->mother of pearl disc-> e-bead,
  • then splits off into 3 tails that are alternating bugle and seed beads, ending with a seed bead

Thread about 2 feet of beading thread onto the needle but do not knot it.

Starting the beading. Beginning with the last bugle bead on one tail, thread the needle through the bugle and the seed bead and then back through the bugle, leaving about 2 inches of the tail not pulled through.

Tie 2 double knots just above the bugle bead to secure the thread, do not trim it yet. Thread the next seed and bugle bead set, working your way up the tail, onto the thread and tuck the loose tail into those beads. Trim the thread tail as close to the top of the second bugle bead as possible.

Attaching the first full strand. Thread through the remaining seed and bugle bead for the first tail, through the central section (e-bead, disc and bugle) and loop through the earring finding.

Go back through the central section and, this time, thread through the entire center tail. Skipping the last seed bead, thread all the way up to the finding loop and back through the central section.

Repeat for the third tail, stopping above the e-bead on the way back up. Tie 2 or 3 knots above the e-bead and then go through the disc before trimming the tail between the disc and the top bugle bead.

Repeat for the other earring.

It sounds like a lot of back and forth, but once you get the hang of it, this sort of earring takes minutes to make and can be a very versatile pattern with just a change of focal bead and accents.

~~~oOo~~~

We’ll have more tutorials to come, this month! Want to know how to do something in particular? Leave a request in the comments!

21 thoughts on “Pretty Earrings Can Make Even Bad News Sound Good

  1. Blond Duck says:

    That’s so cool! You have such a talent. I used to design jewelry when I was younger, but I could never do anything like this.

    So jealous about the Renn fair. I’ve always wanted to go!

    1. Scraps says:

      Thank you!

      I checked out a book on copper wire jewelry from the library when I was around 12 and have loved to play with it ever since. Soldering and sheet-work is more than I want to get into but figuring out how to make what I want out of beads, thread and wire is a fun challenge 🙂

      Renfaire.com is how we found the semi-local faire we just attended. Maybe there’s one in your area on the list?

    1. Scraps says:

      No–and there’s a really good reason for that!

      I’ve researched it, seen a live demo of the process and I learned very quickly that it’s not for me because it involves live fire.

      As a very accident prone person, I could totally see myself having a bead go awry and, in my need to fix it, reach into the flame (which the goggles/hood reduces the glare from) and cause serious injury to myself trying to catch or fix the molten glass.

      In fact, when the inevitable question comes up (Is there anything you don’t do?) my answer is always, ‘Work with live fire.’

      So I’m happy to buy lampwork beads from others who are more brave/careful than I and stick to making beads (when the mood strikes) from paper, clay or wool.

  2. June Gardens says:

    After I saw your comment on my dumb blog, I had to see if there were rat terrier pictures, because I love me a rat terrier. But now I am SMITTEN by those earrings. SMIT.TEN. And yes. I just broke that work up with periods. I am annoying.

    1. Scraps says:

      Oh, no! Sorry to disappoint, but Abigail was many years ago re-homed to a nice Star Wars geek with a Beagle buddy for a playmate (read as: calming influence) when I was having too many health/schedule issues to give her the time and attention she deserved.

      But I’ll dig up one of her photo shoots for you, this weekend 🙂

  3. karen@strictlysimplestyle says:

    That is such a great tip about using felt to avoid mishaps. I’ll make a mental note of that.

  4. Bridget Maguire says:

    Hey Scraps! These are beautiful! Casual and yet could be used to dress up an evening outfit! I need to get back into crafting and especially making my own clothes.

    Miss chatting with you!

    Bridget (DarkHawk)

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