Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Make Your Own Artisan-look Ear Wires ! August 18, 2014

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 1:25 pm
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These are easy-squeezy, with just a few basic jewelry tools

and purchased ball head pins.

 I started making these pretty early in my jewelry making life, mainly to save $$$.

For work in sterling silver, I work the same process,

but with my own torch made ball head pins.

You’ll need:  20 – 22 gauge ball head pins. I used brass and silver plated for these.

Chain-nosed pliers, round-nosed pliers, nippers (wire cutters),

round stick pen or pencil, file or cup bur.

Optional: bench block and hammer


For simplicity and because none these steps is particularly difficult,

this is another pictorial tutorial.


ear wires 2


Ear wires 1


Ear wires 3


Ear wires 4


Ear wires 5


Ear wires 6


Ear wires 7


Ear wires 8


****This hammering step also work hardens the wire and adds stability to the shape****


Ear wires 9


Source for 21 gauge silver plated ball head pins: Goody Beads

Under 3 dollars a package.  A bargain on any planet !


10 Responses to “Make Your Own Artisan-look Ear Wires !”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Great Tutorial Lynda!!

  2. VERY neat pictures! I thought I had nothing new to learn about these — but somehow I’d forgotten the part about bending around a pencil!! Incredible, think it must have happened when I worked with some particularly stiff wire, which just bounced back. And the cup burr tool I’ve never ever heard of before: have to start keeping a lookout for that, would have lots of use for one!

    • Hello, Monica! Glad this tute had a couple of new tricks for you. Regarding the cup bur…I have a manual variety, but there is a cup burr attachment for a dremel tool if you have one of those. They are sometimes called a wire rounder.

      • Yeah, found one yesterday!! Happened to have the opportunity to go to a pro shop I seldom get to (it is in another town, and open only weekdays), and asked if they had something in the way of cup burrs… and yes, they had the ones for the dremel! I also found a real bargain: a “cup” block, or whatever it is called, for doming. Quite large one, only slightly damaged, for 20€, when it normally costs about 135€! And that had been on my wish list for some time 🙂

      • Yeah for you! Sounds like you got a real deal and can get started smoothing out those wire ends!

      • …and thank you!! Without your blog I wouldn’t have known to ask for one 🙂

  3. cebette Says:

    Great tutorial, thanks! Do you have a source for the same size/gauge of these in sterling or gold-fill?

    • Great question…regarding SS ball headpins, usually the ones you can buy are only 24 or 26 gauge wire and too thin for ear wires. That’s why I started making my own with a torch.
      However, you might find some online with a little perseverance. I would recommend going with a reputable, known company…perhaps Rio Grande? Use to purchase SS from ebay, but got stung once. Same issue with the gold filled…I can find ball headpins, but in smaller gauges. Worth more sleuthing, perhaps. Do let me know if you have good success though as I’d be very interested in add a source. Good luck!

  4. clara hopkins Says:

    great, I wish I had our skills

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