Maybe I'm back... Or, maybe I'm just avoiding the task of unpacking all the boxes...
Either way, as I put on my pink corduroy shirt this morning, the thought of making some new pink earrings propelled me into the studio. Yay... ignore the boxes and have some beady fun! As long as I was doing it, why not take a few pictures? OK, so here's a mini-tutorial about wire working.
This is how they look finished.
You need half/hard or full/hard wire for these, because they need to have some "spring" to them in order to be able to fasten the hook at the back. I used 20 ga., half/hard, gold-filled wire for this pair.
Cut two pieces of wire, each 4.5 inches long. File one end of each wire, so that the cut end is smooth. Use a small, round-nose pliers to make a small loop at the filed end of each wire.
Load the beads on the wire. Disc-shaped, lampwork beads work well for this style of earrings. I add a gold-plated snowflake spacer bead and a 2mm gold-filled, round bead on each side of the disc. After adding the beads, bend the wire upward at a 90 degree angle as shown in the picture. If the loop is turning the wrong way, grasp it in the jaws of a flat-nose pliers and twist to position it correctly (horizontal).
Use a felt-tip marker to make a mark on the wire 1.5 inches above the right angle bend. This mark will be at the center of the top of the earring.
Place a 3/8" or 1/4" dowel as a mandrel under the wire, centering the mark on the dowel. Bend the end of the wire downward, over the dowel, toward the loop at the back of the earring. Do this step slowly, checking your progress and making sure the bend is directly above the beads.
Cut the end of the wire about 1/8 inch below loop. File the cut end smooth, and slightly round the edges. Then I sand the tip of the wire with #400 (or finer) sandpaper, and polish it with a soft cloth to make it totally smooth.
Use round-nose pliers to round the tip upward a little, allowing it to hook into the loop for security.
These earrings are very comfortable to wear. Because of the hook at the back, you'll never cry over one lost earring!