Friday, September 23, 2011

Crafty Christmas: Simple Beaded Earrings

Christmas Countdown: Christmas is just 13 weeks away!

Beaded earrings are super simple to make and would make wonderful gifts for ladies on your Christmas or any other holiday list. Here's basic instructions on how to make earrings:

First, start with supplies needed. You need: headpins, earring wires, beads, earring backs, and jewelry-making tools. The outlay for the tools runs about $20, and I would recommend getting these only at specialty beading stores and not at big box stores. The tool quality is higher at specialty stores, and while the cost is about double, your homemade jewelry will look nicer and the wire is easier to manipulate (outlay for findings and beads vary).

Next, place the beads on the headpin.

Take the round-nose pliers to hold the headpin, and bend the headpin over the pliers and toward you. Then, rotate the pliers, bend the wire over the top and to the back, bend the wire under the pliers and pull it toward you.

Take the flat-nose pliers and wrap the headpin's extra wire around the straight bit of the head pin. I wrap at least twice, and in most cases, three times. Then, clip the extra wire off with wire cutters and straighten out any mistakes. I use flat-nose pliers for this. Repeat the process to make a second pendant/earring.

Then, open up the earring wires, slip the pendants on, and close the earring wire. Add backings.


Simple, right? It is, but to really learn this technique (unless you're a genius and already get it!), I recommend taking a class. There are three places I would recommend to take classes and buy materials. All of these stores are small businesses and are truly wonderful in terms of selection and classes offered.

Stony Creek Bead is located in Ypsilanti and has the most wonderful staff. The store may be small, but it is filled with so many beads! I particularly enjoy their selection of fire-polished beads and Czech glass beads. The store also features handmade beads from artists around Michigan. Advice is free and happily given. Class prices vary, but for basic technique classes, the cost is $30 plus the cost of materials (but tools tend to be available to use for free during class sessions). Visit their blog for more information or you can like them on Facebook here.

Beadin' Mon is located in Flint. If you have ever been to Flint, you have very likely passed this store and not even realized it was really there! It's located right on Miller Road across from Target. Classes are $10, and the ladies there are delightful. Visit their website for more information or you can like them on Facebook here.

Bead Haven is located in Frankenmuth, and classes here are completely free so long as you buy the materials at the store for the store. Their classes are truly unique, and the pieces you can make there are gorgeous and very affordably priced. The store is large, and the bead selection is truly magnificent. Visit their website for more information or you can like them on Facebook here.

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