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Wire ribbon earrings

Weave, coil, and loop your way to a bead-embellished design

Earrings 4 1⁄4 in. (10.8 cm)

  • Copper wire, round
    • 3 1⁄2 ft. (1.1 m) 20-gauge (0.8 mm)
    • 4 yd. (3.7 m) 26-gauge (0.4 mm)
  • 2 8 mm round pearls
  • 4–8 4–6 mm round pearls
  • 2 g 11/0 seed beads 
  • 2–4 4 mm spacers
  • 2 2-in. (51 mm) head pins
  • Pair of ear wires
  • Wirework toolbox
  • 3 x 6-in. (76 mm x 15.2 cm) wooden board, 1⁄2 in. (13 mm) thick
  • Drill with 1 mm bit
  • 6 x 6-in. (15.2 x 15.2 cm) cork board, 1⁄4 in. (6.5 mm) thick
  • Table clamp
  • Tape
  • 3⁄8-in. (9.5 mm) dowel
  • Coiling Gizmo or other coiling tool with 1.6 mm mandrel
Wire ribbon earrings a
Photo a
Wire ribbon earrings b
Photo b

Woven ribbons

1. On a wooden board, drill two 1 mm holes 1⁄2 in. (13 mm) apart near the edge of the board. On a table, stack a cork board and the drilled wooden board. Clamp the boards to the table top to secure them (PHOTO A).

2. Keeping the 20-gauge wire on the spool, measure about 14 in. (35.6 cm). Run the wire through nylon-jaw pliers to straighten and work-harden it, and then cut two 7-in. (17.8 cm) pieces of the wire (PHOTO B). Insert each wire into a hole in the drilled wooden board, and gently push the wires down into the cork board (PHOTO C). These are the base wires.

Be consistent with the number of wraps you make around each base wire. Two wraps will result in a tighter weave. Three wraps will make for faster work and a more open weave. Also, be consistent with the tension of the weaving wire. The proper tension should result in a ribbon that is about 1⁄2 in. (13 mm) wide for its whole length.
Wire ribbon earrings c
Photo c
Wire ribbon earrings d
Photo d
3. Cut 1 yd. (91.4 cm) of 26-gauge (weaving) wire. Leaving a 1-in. (25.5 mm) tail, make four wraps around the bottom of one base wire, keeping the wraps tight. Bring the wire between the two base wires and around the other base wire, making the first half of a figure-8. Make two to three wraps around this base wire. Bring the wire between the two base wires and around the first base wire, and make two to three wraps. This completes the figure-8. Continue weaving this pattern several times, keeping the weave tight. Tape the wire tail to the wooden board to secure the weave (PHOTO D).
If you run out of weaving wire, end the old wire with a  wrap around one of the base wires. Start a new weaving wire with a couple of wraps around the same base wire, and then continue the figure-8 pattern.
Wire ribbon earrings e
Photo e
Wire ribbon earrings f
Photo f
4. Continue weaving the figure-8 pattern as in step 3 until you have a 4 1⁄2-in. (11.4 cm) woven ribbon. 

5. End the weave by making three tight wraps around the last base wire. Trim and tuck both ends of the weaving wire. Remove the woven ribbon from the wooden board, and trim each base wire to 1 in. (25.5 mm) (PHOTO E). 

6. Repeat steps 1–5 to make a second woven ribbon.

7. Gently wrap each woven ribbon around a 3⁄8-in. (9.5 mm) dowel to form a spiral (PHOTO F).
Wrap the ribbons in opposite directions for a mirror image.
Wire ribbon earrings g
Photo g
Wire ribbon earrings h
Photo h
8. Set up a Coiling Gizmo according to the manufacturer’s instructions using the 1.6 mm mandrel (PHOTO G). Keeping the wire on the spool, string at least 12 in. (30.5 cm) of 11/0 seed beads onto the 26-gauge wire. 

9. Attach the end of the 26-gauge wire to the mandrel of the Coiling Gizmo, and push the beads toward the spool. Following the Coiling Gizmo instructions, make a plain wire coil that is seven wraps long. Slide the beads up to the mandrel, and then coil the beaded wire, making sure there are no gaps between the beads. Continue coiling until you have a 2 1⁄2-in. (64 mm) beaded coil, and add or remove beads if necessary. End with a plain wire coil that is seven wraps long (PHOTO H). Remove the wire from the Coiling Gizmo, and trim the ends, leaving a plain coil on each end that is about five wraps long.
If you don’t have a Coiling Gizmo, you can coil the wire and beads yourself around a piece of 14-gauge wire.
Wire ribbon earrings i
Photo i
Wire ribbon earrings j
Photo j

10. Straighten and work-harden more of the 20-gauge wire as in step 2, and cut a 7-in. (17.8 cm) piece. On one end, make a wrapped loop. String one or two 4–6 mm beads, the beaded coil, and one or two beads, and make another wrapped loop (PHOTO I). I used one 4 mm and one 6 mm bead at what will be the top of my earring, and one 4 mm at what will be the bottom.

11. Repeat steps 8–10 to make a second beaded coil.


12. Thread a beaded coil through a woven ribbon spiral, making sure to center the beaded coil (PHOTO J).

Wire ribbon earrings k
Photo k
13. On one end of the woven ribbon, trim the lower base wire to about 1⁄4 in. (6.5 mm). Make a small loop, and pull the lower base wire inside, close to the beaded coil (PHOTO K). Wrap the top base wire around the wraps below the 4–6 mm beads. Trim and tuck the top base wire. Repeat this step to trim, loop, wrap, and tuck the base wires at the other end of the ribbon.

14. On a head pin, string an 8 mm pearl and one or two spacers, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Attach the loop to the bottom loop of the beaded coil, and complete the wraps. Open the loop of an ear wire, and attach it to the top loop of the beaded coil. Close the loop.

15. Repeat steps 12–14 to assemble the other earring.
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