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Square wire leaf earrings

Wirework leaves display natural charm

The key to creating these earrings is making both pieces at once. Matching bends mean the leaves perfectly mirror one another. My design was inspired by tiny pinecone charms I found at a bead show, but they’d look just as great with other dangles in the center.

SUPPLIES

Earrings

  • 2 15–18 mm metal pinecones, acorns, or other small charms (Realm of the Goddess, realmofthegoddess.com, or Rio Grande, riogrande.com)
  • 20 in. (51 cm) 18-gauge square sterling silver or gold-filled wire, dead-soft
  • 2 jump rings
  • pair of earring findings
  • chainnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Square wire leaf earrings a
Photo a
Square wire leaf earrings b
Photo b

Earring frames

1. Locate the center point of a 20-in. (51 cm) piece of 18-gauge wire. Orient the wire so it forms a large U. Making sure not to twist the wire, use chainnose pliers to grip the wire at the center point. Fold both sides of the U over the jaws of the pliers to make a symmetrical curve (PHOTO A).

2. Orient the folded wire like a U. Using chainnose pliers, grasp both halves of the wire 4 in. (10 cm) from the first fold. Make a sharp bend (PHOTO B) toward the ends of the wire, positioning the fold between the two halves of the wire.

Square wire leaf earrings c
Photo c
Square wire leaf earrings d
Photo d

3. Reposition your chainnose pliers 1⁄16 in. (2 mm) above the bend you just made. Gripping both halves, bend them up 15° as you push the pliers down (PHOTO C). This will create a slight kink.

4. Form the leaf shapes as desired. To create a more pronounced curve than the wire has naturally, position your pliers in the bend and hold both halves of the wire between your index finger and thumb. Pull up slightly with your finger as you push down with your thumb, and gently “walk” your fingers in this position along the length of the wires (PHOTO D). Repeat until your wire has the desired amount of curve. 

When 1 in. (2.5 cm) of the shorter wire section overlaps the longer section, clip the wire apart at the first bend. You now have two leaf shapes.

Square wire leaf earrings e
Photo e
Square wire leaf earrings f
Photo f

5. On one leaf shape, grip the shorter wire end with chainnose pliers, and bend it over the longer end (PHOTO E).

6. Grip the longer wire end just above the shorter end, and bend the longer end slightly against its curve (PHOTO F).

Square wire leaf earrings g
Photo g
Square wire leaf earrings h
Photo h

7. Using roundnose pliers, grip the longer wire end 1⁄16 in. (2 mm) above the shorter end, and create a wrapped loop (PHOTO G). Do not trim the excess wire.

8. Using roundnose pliers, form an open-center coil with the shorter end, positioning the coil within the leaf shape (PHOTO H). Create curves in the coil’s wire, using roundnose pliers.

Square wire leaf earrings i
Photo i
Square wire leaf earrings j
Photo j

9. Using roundnose pliers, form a loose spiral with the longer wire end (PHOTO I).

10. Adjust the loops of the spiral so that it falls adjacent to the leaf shape. Using roundnose pliers, create a small loop at the end of the spiral. Attach the loop to the leaf shape, and pinch it closed with chainnose pliers (PHOTO J). 

11. Repeat steps 5–10 with the other wire to make a matching earring in the mirror image of the first.

Assembly

1. Open a jump ring. Use it to attach a charm to the open-center coil of an earring, and close the jump ring.

2. Open the loop of an earring finding. Attach an earring and close the loop. If necessary, rotate the loop of the earring finding so that the leaf faces forward. Repeat for the second earring.

Square wire leaf earrings note
Editor’s note: Crystal pendant beads lend a new look to these earrings. To make a pendant bead hang correctly, string it on 3 in. (7.6 cm) of wire, and make a set of wraps above it (as for a top-drilled bead). Make the first half of a wrapped loop, slide the loop through the center coil, and finish the wraps.
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