Monday, 13 February 2012

Handmade Monday: Going round in circles

These spiral earrings really sum up what it feels like to be going round in circles - maybe that's why I love making spirals!  Thought I'd share how to do these little connectors with a dimple at the base.  Sorry about the blurry photos - camera was also in a bit of a tizz!
Bamboo peach agate earrings

You'll need:
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.

Tigers eye wire work earrings
Here's the link to see what other crafty folk have been making this week.


  1. Absolutely gorgeous earrings and a lovely clear tutorial. Love the wire work.

  2. I love the spirals, they remind me of when I used to draw treble clefs as a child and tried to get as many squirls into it as possible... however yours look fantastic... and the finished earrings are a delight :)

  3. Thank you for the tutorial and love the earrings

  4. Lovely earrings, your spirals look so neat.

    Thank you for popping over to my blog

    Jan x

  5. Lovely clear instructions, and nice colours on the earrings.

  6. What a great tutorial (as ever Blue Forest) - very clear and great pictures. Your earrings are super (don't think I'd get my spirals as nice as that.) Mich x

  7. I would love to be able to do good wire work. I know practice makes perfect and all but just can't seem to make anything that tidy. Your work on the other hand is just lovely! Well done. They are a great pair of earrings.

  8. Oh thank you so much for the tutorial! You made it look so simple, I bet it's not. But I'll try it anyway. :)

  9. Such neat spirals. I'm sure if I tried they'd look nothing like that - mine would look more like a pile of tangled knitting!

  10. Your spirals look so professional and I love that little dimple at the bottom. x

  11. Lovely earrings - the dimple makes them look just that little bit different.
    Jo x

  12. I like the illustrations. It makes the technique look simple. Cool!


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