Swirly Curly Jewelry!
For as long as I can remember I have loved making swirly curly-Q designs. In middle school, my favorite pee-chee folders were covered in them. Well I’ve grown out of my doodling habits, mostly, but I still love those swirls! Unwilling to give up on swirls altogether I have found three great ways to incorporate them into your jewelry with the help of a little wire. Adding a simple curly-Q can take any design idea from ordinary to whimsical! You can make your swirls free form using pliers or try this great Spiral Maker to eliminate marks from pliers!
All of these projects can be made using your basic tools and 18, 20 or 22 gauge wire. The tools here are a from a fabulous mini tool set that I keep at my desk. The set is only $12 and includes these three tools plus tweezers and a mini bead board!
1. Swirly Head Pins
The first and easiest way to add some swirl power to your jewelry is to make curly-ended headpins. Making your own headpins out of wire is easy and gives your jewelry an even more hand-crafted look. I recommend using either 18, 20 or 22 gauge wire. (18 being the thickest, 22 being the thinnest) Keep in mind the size of beads you plan to use. If your beads have smaller holes, you will need thinner wire.
Use your Round Nose Pliers to Start the Loop
Use your chain nose pliers to create the swirl
Make a right angle with your chain nose pliers so that your head pins have nice perpendicular look at the end.
Completed head pins ready for use!
Finished jewelry made using swirly head pins. Both earrings have been antiqued to emphasize the swirl design.
2. Swirly Post Earrings
Making your own swirly post earring findings is actually quite simple. I personally like to use 18 gauge for sturdiness, though standard earring wires are not usually that thick. Most earring findings are no thicker than a 20 gauge. It’s up to you, though know if you do use 18 gauge, you will probably have to use a rubber earring back as most metal nuts won’t fit that thick of wire.
Use a piece of wire about 2 inches long. Make a 90 degree bend in the wire at about 3/4 inch
Make a loop where you bent the wire.
Using your chain nose pliers, build the swirl like you did with the head pins.
You can see the earring being formed. The post that goes into your ear is coming from the center of the loop.
Make a loop to complete your Swirly Earring Post. Also, make sure the ends of the post are smooth. You can do this with either a metal file or a cup bur.
To finish, I used Liver of Sulfer to give the earring wires a patina, then buffed them with steel wool. To prevent your ears from turning green seal the post with a little Renaissance Wax or clear nail polish.
Two completed earring designs using Swirly Earring Post!
3. Egyptian Coils!
Now that you have mastered head pins and earring post, you can move onto the ultimate swirly design, the coveted Egyptian Coil! This design feature multiple swirls and looks so pretty at the top of dangly earrings or as an entire bracelet.
Start by making two-sided swirls. Make sure that they are all the same size.
Bend the wire in the center using your round nose pliers.
Use your chain nose pliers to flatten links like so. Don't be alarmed, it is supposed to look kind of phallic at this point.
Use your round nose pliers to bend the loop back. You now have links!
Connect links to make a chain
View of links from the back
Finished Earrings using Egyptian Coils
Well I hope you enjoyed my swirly blog post and are now inspired to try out some of these ideas. For all of these earrings I used bare copper wire and then oxidized the wire to antique it. I then buffed the designs with steel wool to expose the bright copper. I highly recommend doing this with your swirl designs because is really makes those curly-Q’s stand out.
~~Tiffany in the Showroom
Feel free to ask me any questions about how I did anything or what materials I used for all the designs.