Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday: Wrapped column earrings

So, today, I thought I'd share how to make these wrapped column earrings. Mine are wrapped with sari silk ribbon and feature a pair of ceramic droplets from Scorched Earth.  However, you could wrap different types of ribbon or fabric offcuts, and you could also use different beads at the bottom. Maybe you have an earring pair - whether beads or charms - and you've been wondering what to do with them? This might be the answer.

The list of other ingredients you'll need is also fairly flexible.  You'll need 26 gauge / 0.4mm wire and 22 gauge / 0.6mm wire. I've mixed the metal finishes here; don't be afraid to do that if you wish. You'll also need at least two pairs of bead caps (around 10mm wide).  However, as you can see, I've used several pairs of caps at the top of these. I've been stacking up bead caps quite a bit recently; it gives extra textural and decorative detail, which I rather like.  Finally, along with some ear wires, you'll need some beads to form the inner columns.  I've used some hematite tubes (approximately 4mm wide) that have been in my stash for an age - perhaps you have something similar?  Alternatively, you could use 4mm seed beads to form the core.

To start, take about 10cm of your 22 gauge wire and make a wrapped loop at one end, attaching your bead or charm before closing the loop. Then, thread on a bead cap, followed by around 3.5cm of tube beads.

Next, take a good length (say, 25cm) of your 26 gauge wire and attach one end to the base of your column by wrapping around the core wire (above the cap and below the tube beads) a couple of times.  

Now to add the ribbon. Cut a piece that is a little bit longer than your column of beads. You'll be wrapping the ribbon lengthways along your wire, folding the edges round, rather than winding the ribbon around like you do with the wire.  Unless you actually want a bulky look, this is the best way to wrap ribbon onto any shape.

To start wrapping, fold the ribbon round the bead column and pull the wire up, making a couple of quick wraps to secure it. Then, continue wrapping, ensuring that the ribbon is fixed at the bottom of the column by wrapping several times. Once it is secured at the base, you will probably need to trim the end of the ribbon there (along with the tail of your wrapping wire), which can be done with flush cutters.  Then, keep on wrapping up the column. Use the wire to tidy and tuck in any loose edges and flatten any little bulges.  Be careful to avoid any gaps forming between your core beads as you don't want the wire to fall between them as you wrap.  You may need to add more wire, which can be done easily, at the top or bottom of the column. Once you have a good coverage of wraps, wrap up to the top of the column, secure with a few more wraps and trim both your wire and any excess ribbon. 

Now you need to add the bead cap(s) at the top. I've layered up three caps at the top of my earrings.

Finally, make a wrapped loop with your core wire to complete your column. Now all you need to do is add an ear wire...

...and, of course, repeat to make your second earring!



Kathy Lindemer said...

Great ideas! Using the bead caps is genius .

Becky Pancake said...

Great tutorial Claire. Thanx

Carol Briody said...

I have a ton of silk sari saved-up...this is a great way to use it and really let the sari shine thru! Thank U Claire!

Divya N said...

These are so lovely - great idea

DaisyKreates K said...

Love the idea of using fabric! So fabulous!

Lesley Lane said...

Great tutorial Claire - thank you!

Robbie said...

REALLY cool!!!! Thanks!!!