How to Make Basic Beaded Earrings

Beaded earrings are super easy and cheap to make. Here a simple way to make them.

You will need: 2 beads, 2 headpins, 2 earring hooks, jewellery pliers, 2 minutes.
For more information regarding jewellery hooks and pliers see my previous post.

how to make basic beaded earringstute


1. Get your 2 basic headpins. These can be purchased at craft shops or on ebay.
2. Place bead on headpin.
3. Press the head pin back firmly against the bead till it reaches about a 90 degree angle.
4. Trim the head pin back to leave approximately 1cm of metal.
5. Grab the end of the head pin with jewellery pliers and begin forming a loop.
6. Keep moving the wire around the pliers, leaving a small gap for hook.
7. Put on hook.
8. Close the loop using inside of pliers.
This technique is really quick and easy but can take some practice to get refined looking results.
Headpins are easily available to buy from craft stores and online jewellery sites. I actually buy the majority of mine in bulk from ebay as it tends to be a lot cheaper. Headpins come in a range of sizes to fit different shaped beads and purposes, from just a centimetre or so on upwards. They also come in a range gauges. The smaller the number of gauge, the thicker the wire will be. Many of the cheaper ones won’t state a gauge. I don’t have much experience in using different gauges as I generally buy the cheaper ones! From what I’ve read I think a gauge of about 22 is about average – 24 on up is used for more delicate work. You can buy sterling silver or real gold headpins but I don’t see much point if you’re only making basic jewellery for yourself.

Beads are of course easy to buy at craft stores, markets, online and also easy to make yourself too. I like to look out for cheap, discounted or thrift shop jewellery to cut up for beads. Keep your eyes out for them!!! You can come across some really interesting and special beads that way.

TIP: You can create more unique beads yourself by painting them with craft paints or nail polish.

Make sure to use good quality hooks (ie surgical steel, sterling silver) if you have metal sensitivity though.  They aren’t expensive. See this previous post for more information.

For beads with larger holes you can purchase headpins with different sized/shaped endings. You can also use bead caps, which are available at craft stores. I prefer to just use sequins.  They tend to be less noticeable than bead caps and you can coordinate their colours to suit your design!
I enjoy making more complicated designs but I think simple earrings look the best on. Some of my favourite earrings to wear are just round beads on a headpin!
If you want to add more beads to your design you can stack them on the head pin –  try mixing them up with bead caps or sequins too!
You can also link other beads to your original bead. For this you’ll need an eyepin. You can buy these at craft stores too but I tend to just make mine own by creating a loop at the end of a headpin offcut.

How to: Pendant Charm Earrings

This is such a fun way to make earrings. Pendant Charm Necklaces tend to have really unique and lovely pieces on them. The next time you come across one you like, or one on sale, buy two! and end up with lots of one-of-a-kind earrings!

You will need: 2 identical (or not) pendant charm necklaces, lots of earring hooks, preferably 2 pairs of jewellery pliers (but can work out just fine with 1 pair)
For more information regarding jewellery hooks and pliers see my previous post.

how to pendant charm earrings

Click image to enlarge

1. Using jewellery pliers open headpin loops
2. Remove charms, leave loops open
3. Using a second pair of jewellery pliers, open any of the jump/split rings. Jump rings are easier to open using two pairs of pliers. If you only have one pair you can press the rings back into the charms and they should open fine – or just cut them open!
4. Remove all remaining charms.
Add hooks and it’s good to go!

For more information about attaching hooks see my previous post.

I bought these necklaces from Kmart for $9 each. Including the cost of hooks, that’s 12 pairs of earrings for around $20!

As the charms aren’t designed to be worn as earrings, some of them may be facing the wrong way for the hook or be too thick to fit through it. You can work around this by manipulating the size or direction of the hook’s loop. Simply straighten out the wire at the end up the hook using the jewellery pliers. It doesn’t have to be perfectly straight to look ok. There are specific pliers you can get for straightening metal called nylon jaw pliers. I don’t have a pair myself. To change the direction of the loop, simply grab metal at the end and bend to one side. To make a larger loop you need to remove any of the beads or coils from the base of the hook and curl the wire back to form the desired size. If the top of the charm is still too large you can always insert a jump ring before attaching the hook.

A few more ideas:
Combining 2 or more of the charms – or combine with other beads.
Selecting some of the charms to create your own unique necklace design.
Make a bracelet using some of the charms. I made this by linking black beads on head pins then attaching the charm with a jump ring. See this post to learn more about looping beads.
So many possibilities here!

Solutions for large and heavy earring discomfort.

I love larger earrings but their weight can hurt my ears. Occasionally catching them in things also scares me that I might loose an earlobe. For quite some time I avoided them altogether until recently I discovered a good solution to the issue.

These are sterling silver clip-on findings. They are really good quality and much gentler than the majority of other clip-ons. They have a firm, solid grip but don’t hurt my ears or make them look red while I’m wearing them. I wear them to work for periods over 7 hours and forget I have them on! When I take them off I will have a slightly pink dent where the clip-on has been which usually lasts about half an hour – sometimes a weird feeling too as my earlobe returns to shape. I’m in Australia and I purchased them from Over The Rainbow online for $20 (these are the ones pictured). Here is the exact page. I only need one pair to share between all my earrings as it’s so simple to change them (for information about how to change earring findings over see my previous post) I have also seen them at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads which is a US site. Remember silver plated is not the same quality as sterling silver though.

I am yet to discover a pair of good quality gold clip-ons. I imagine they are out there, probably fairly pricey but would definitely be worth a shot. You can always try painting the outside of the silver with gold/brass nail polish – this has worked well for me. *UPDATE – they now sell gold filled at Over The Rainbow. They are $24 a pair.

It’s also easy to find basic clip-on earring findings in all colours at craft stores and online jewellery sites. These will be much cheaper but my experience with these has been a little more painful. There are pads available that can soften a clip-on’s pinch. The Earring Doctor is a great online resource for all sorts of things that can aid earring issues. I don’t think you can purchase sterling silver clip-ons there though. For solely weight issues they sell small pads that you stick to the back of your earlobes to distribute the weight more evenly. These are probably great – I think a simple band-aid could achieve a similar result if you’re up for experimenting – but I say “Use clip-ons! Please don’t hurt your earlobes!”

Love wearing big earrings!

PS: Earrings in photo are some I made – and they aren’t actually heavy! I wear them with the clip-ons due to their size. I made them using plastic white beads and a simple chandelier finding I got at Spotlight. I’ll write a blog about how to make similar earrings in coming weeks.

Converting Cheap Studs to Sterling Silver – The Hook Method

Here is one method of converting cheap studs to better quality metals. This method is really simple but only works well for spherical or cube studs.

You will need: Cheap studs, quality earring hooks, jewellery pliers, about 2 minutes (for information about jewellery hooks and pliers see my previous post on basic techniques for changing hooks around.)

1. The idea is to bend the metal from stud to create a loop for the hook.
2. Bend the metal back to a 90 degree angle or so.
3. Trim post if necessary. Grab the end of the metal with the jewellery pliers.
4. Gently work the metal around the pliers to begin forming a loop.
5. Keep moving the metal around – be gentle as some cheaper metals can be a little weak.
6. Leave a small space in loop for attaching hook.
7. Slide on hook.
8. Close the loop.
Your done.
Would love to hear from you. Leave your comments or ideas below, send in examples of your own conversions too – would be happy to feature them here.

How to Change Earring Hooks to Sterling Silver

I love cheap earrings but they irritate my ears. Replacing earring hooks with sterling silver, gold or surgical steel hooks is super easy. If your choice of earrings has been limited because of metal allergies this technique really opens up the possibilities. Its not only dead simple but super cheap too.
You will need : cheap, irritating earrings, quality earring hooks, jewellery pliers, less than a minute.

changing hooks tute
1. Open loop. Grab end of hook with pliers. 
2. Pull outwards (I’ve seen people also bend it sideways)
3. Separate pieces. Discard horrible earring hook.
4. Get silver hook and open like previous hook.
5. Join pieces.
6. Gently close the loop. Make sure it closes completely so earring doesn’t fall off.
7. Love them. 
You could use strong tweezers, even fingernails (don’t). Jewellery pliers cost about $10 from a craft store. I like using a 4-in-1 set of pliers as I find it gives me more control, but round-nose, chain nose, and flat nose pliers would all be fine.
Buying hooks is easy. You can usually get them in bulk. Online jewellery stores are a great place to get them. There are some links for jewellery finding suppliers in my links tab. Ebay can be good too. I would be careful buying them from China – the prices are amazing but you may not necessarily be buying the real thing. There are warnings on ebay about this. 
I’m in Australia and I buy them from the Beading Store on ebay ( I’ve had great experience from them. Also is a really great store too. Sterling silver hooks usually work out to be about $2 a pair. Gold filled or gold plated sterling silver are about $3 a pair. Surgical steel is about 30cents a pair. There is also niobium which is another completely hypoallergenic metal for about $1.50 a pair. Niobium comes in lots of fun colours. Basic earring hooks stated as silver or gold plated with no further information are not the real thing and will be irritating to a lot of people. I like to buy in bulk – a pair for each of my earrings. It is so easy and quick to change hooks though that you really don’t need that many. Buying kidney hooks, which slide off can make it even faster to change.
These sites also sell clip on earring findings which you can attach using the same technique. I’ve bought good quality sterling silver clip-ons to use for my heavier earrings and they’ve been great.

Another way of dealing with earring sensitivity is to use a hypoallergenic metal coating. It will look like a clear nail polish and is painted onto an irritating metal to form a barrier  to your skin. I have never seen these in shops but you can get them online. Try the Earring Doctor. Apparently clear nail polish can work fairly well too.

If anyone has any thoughts or experience with this would be great to hear from you.