It’s that time of year when I get to unleash my bead box and make a new pair of statement earrings. I seem to only make one pair per year but really go for it when I do. I’ve been writing lots of jewellery tutorials for Lisa Comfort this year, as I’ve been putting them together I’ve been getting really inspired by the beads and bits I’ve collected over the years. I’ve been putting everything that’s inspired me to one side and as a result these earrings pretty much created themselves. I used two main techniques for these earrings – opening and closing jump-rings and wire loops (both you can do!) however the main point of this tutorial is to get creative and play around with all your favourite finds. To stop the earrings looking a complete mess, kept the main colours to turquoise and aqua and then used accent colours of pink and yellow. I also varied the length of beads to form a ‘tassel” shape, I used three long lengths, and two medium and short lengths, these don’t have to be the same beads but need to be roughly the same length. Anyway before this gets two complicated here are some steps to follow…
Step 1. Pull out all your beads, remember that earrings get heavy fast so make sure you use lots of light materials. I used African paper beads ( Etsy has a great selection), cotton tassels , gold star beads, green onyx briolette beads plus an earring stand from and old pair of earrings and turquoise beads from an old necklace (don’t be afraid to take things apart!).
Step 2. Once you have decided on your bead selection you need to get them ready to hang. The easiest method is to fix beads onto jump rings. To open and close a jump ring; take a jump ring between of pair of pliers with the opening facing upwards. With another pair of pliers gently twist the jump ring open, to close twist the other direction. Use this method for any beads/tassels with a small top opening and for connecting beads onto other beads/chains etc. Here I have used for fixing tassels to vintage beads and also the stars onto fine chain.
The second method I used was creating a simple loop (see above pic), I threaded the paper beads onto a head pin and then made a small loop at the top. To make a loop take the end of the wire (the end with no loop) between a pair of round nose pliers – make sure there is no wire sticking out the top. Take the bead and wire securely in one hand and pliers and wire in another twist the wire around the pliers creating a loop. You might need to reinsert the pliers when you can’t twist anymore to create a complete loop. You can use this method if you are joining beads (use eye pins instead of head pins).
Step 3. Once you have all you beads ready to hang, decide on the order they need to go. Try and mix the lengths of beads so that your ‘tassel’ has lots of interest. I fixed each bead onto a 4mm jump ring and then threaded everything onto a 7mm jump ring. To fix the beads to the earring stand I used a 5mm jump ring. This earring stand is from a pair of earrings that I had in my collection, I’ve said this many times – jewellery sale rails are a great place for picking up unusual findings to incorporate into your jewellery projects. If you can’t find something like this then a regular earring hook will work perfectly.
I really hope that these inspire you to try and make something different, I promise there is nothing more satisfying than using all your favourites materials to create a really find and inspiring project. Happy making and happy summer! x