|Bamboo peach agate earrings|
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Nylon coated pliers
Wire - practise with 0.6mm, make up in the gauge of your choice.
Spirals are easy but take a bit of practice. The main issue is marring the wire, which is where the nylon coated pliers come in, but you can work just with bare pliers. Thicker wire, and wire coated with a coloured finish, like this antique bronze wire, are the easiest to mark. Sterling wire will mark too, but the marring won't be as noticeable as the silver should be the same colour all the way through.
Step 1: Make a hook at the end of your wire with either the round nose or chain nose pliers. I like the look of a spiral with an 'open' middle, so often use the round nose. If you want the spiral to start off closed, use the chain nose pliers and flatten the hook onto itself.
Step 2: Continue the spiral by clamping the hook with the pliers and pushing the wire gently around to form the start of the spiral. This is the point at which it is hardest to manipulate the wire, and there's the most danger of marking it. So nylon coated pliers are the ideal to use, although it is much harder to grip with them. This is where practice makes nearly perfect, but you'll still have times where you mark the wire. At which point, you can give up and start again (perfectionist route) or regard the marks as evidence of the delightful and quirky nature of handmade items and carry on spiralling (the optimist route!)
Step 3: Continue your spiral until it is at the size you want. Move the wire as much as possible, and your pliers as little as possible. One tutorial I read said carry on until you feel you've lost control - this means of the wire, I think, rather than any other aspect of your life!
Step 4: When the spiral is done, make a right angle at the end by gently opening the end of the spiral, inserting the chain nose pliers and then bending the wire back towards the pliers. Trying to do this with my fingers never works for me.
Step 5: Form the first part of the dimple using your round nose pliers to manipulate the wire, form the central loop and then bring the wire round and make the second indent of the dimple. A bit fiddly!
Step 6: Bring the end of the wire around the spiral to the top, trim to around a quarter of an inch and gently fold back with your round nose pliers to form the top loop. You're done.
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