Steampunk jewelry tutorial
by Rena Klingenberg.
Romantic and artistic, these heart earwires are fun to steampunk jewelry tutorial make for yourself or as a gift.Heart Earwires – tutorial by Rena Klingenberg
You can wear them plain, or with beads or other dangles:
- Two pieces of round soft or half-hard wire, in 20 or 21 gauge. Each piece of wire should be 13 cm (5.12″) long.
Be sure to use a type of wire that’s safe to use in ear piercings (see my Earring Wire Guidelines).
In this tutorial I used 20 gauge copper wire.
- Wire cutter.
- Cup bur, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone to smooth and round wire ends.
- All purpose marker (such as a Sharpie) for marking your wire.
- Flat nose pliers.
- Small piece of #0000 steel wool to smooth the end of your earwire.
- Optional: Beads and headpins or other items to create dangles to hang from the hearts.
- Optional: Jeweler’s steel block and plastic or nylon hammer for hammer-hardening your finished earwires.
How to Make
We’ll start by cutting your 2 pieces of wire 13cm (5.12″) long.
Now we’ll smooth and round both ends of each wire, using a cup bur, jewelry file, or knife-sharpening stone:
Next, we’ll use a Sharpie or other marker to make three marks on each wire as shown below.
The blue lines represent the marks you’ll make:
Now each of your wires should look like this:
Now we’ll make one heart earwire at a time.
First, grasp one of your wires with the widest part of your round nose pliers as shown below.
Notice that one of the marks you made is just to one side of the plier jaws:
Now bring the wire end that has your 5cm and 3cm marks tightly around the top jaw of your pliers, forming the wire into a U-shape:
Now your wire should look like this; the U-shape you just made with your pliers will be one of the curves at the top of your heart:
Now use the tips of your flat nose pliers to grasp your wire right next to your 5cm mark:
Now bend that wire end straight downward, making a bend that’s a little sharper than 90 degrees; the 5cm mark should wind up in the center of the bend.
Now you’ve made half of the heart shape, and your wire should look like this:
It’s time to make the open wire spiral that forms the top curve for the other half of the heart.
With the tips of your round nose pliers, grasp the tip of your 5cm wire segment (see the arrow pointing to it in the photo above).
Curve this wire into an open spiral.
(If you’re new to making open spirals, see my easy 3-minute video Make an Open Wire Spiral.) steampunk
Keep forming your spiral until the top curve of your spiral is about even with the top curve of the other half of your heart:
Now your wire should look like this:
Now we’re going to make the earwire part of this project.
Using the tips of your flat nose pliers, grasp your wire right beside the mark, as shown below:
Now bend that wire so that it points straight upward at the top of your heart:
At this point you may need adjust your spiral to make it a more even size with the curve on the other half of your heart:
Now your wire should look like this:
Using your round nose pliers, grasp the last remaining mark on your wire – with the mark right in the center of the widest part of your pliers:
Now gently bend both sides of the wire straight downward at the same time, so that your wire forms a nice U-shape around the pliers jaw:
With the tips of your flat nose pliers, grasp the tip of your earwire and make a slight bend:
Now use your piece of fine steel wool to thoroughly smooth, round, and buff the end of your earwire.
Make sure there’s no roughness or sharp end since this wire will be inserted in your ear piercing:
Now let’s hammer-harden your heart earwire.
Place the earwire part on your steel block, and hammer it thoroughly on both sides with your plastic, rubber, or nylon hammer:
Now place the heart part of your project on the steel block, and hammer both sides of it:
Your finished heart earwire should look like this:
And now it’s time to make your second earwire to match the first one!
Then you can remove your remaining Sharpie marks from your wires with a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a scrap of paper towel.
If you want, you can easily add beads or dangles to the bottom of your heart shape.
Simply slip your dangle over the earwire, around the curve at the top of the heart, and down to the bottom of the heart:
Here’s how the finished earrings look with bead dangles:
Then you can slide the dangles off again and change them out for different ones.
Or you can wear the earrings plain:
Want to Learn the Basics of
Designing Your Own Wire Jewelry?
In my Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components video class, you’ll learn how to get great ideas for wire jewelry designs – and then follow my easy system for turning those ideas into successful pieces of jewelry.
By the end of this online video class, you’ll be designing and making your own artistic earwires, clasps, connectors, and pendant bails.
You’ll also learn my tips for making wire jewelry more easily, with more professional looking results.
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