Make your own chandelier earring design

To design and make your own chandelier earrings, all you need is some basic tools and supplies and these do-it-yourself tips and instructions.

Every department store jewelry counter in America is overflowing with displays of trendy, expensive chandelier earrings. Even if cost isn't a factor, you might enjoy coming up with a one-of-a-kind design of your own instead of simply buying massed-produced fashion jewelry. Here are some guidelines for creating unique chandelier earrings that you'll be proud to show off.

MATERIALS

Tools: roundnose pliers, wire cutters.

Suggested earring components: ear wires, jump rings, eye pins, small chains, decorative metal shapes, and glass or crystal beads.

Materials can easily be found at craft stores or specialty shops online. Think creatively when shopping for findings: a pair of fancy, three-strand necklace clasps might make attractive bases for hanging strands of beads. "Value bags" of lacy metal shapes may also provide a pretty base. You may even prefer not to use beads at all, but pieces of fine necklace chain dangling in sparkling clusters.



If you want to find something truly unique, check out garage sales, thrift stores, and your grandmother's old, unwanted jewelry. This is a great, inexpensive way to find vintage beads and unusual findings. Don't limit yourself to obvious jewelry components! If you know your way around a drill, you can, for example, make holes in old coins and use them in your design. Fancy, vintage buttons and wire-wrapped bits of semi-precious stone or glass might also make good pieces.

DESIGNING YOUR EARRINGS

Decide what you're going to use for the base of your earring (that is, the part that hangs below the ear wire or hook.) Lacy metal shapes, round or oblong hoops, or even a single oversized bead are all good choices. Now, what are you going to hang from the base? Lay out your pieces in front of you, and see how many beads you'd like to use. Leave room for the connecting jump rings, so you'll get an accurate idea of the length of the finished earring. Will you hang one bead from each hole/loop, or link them so they dangle down to your shoulder? This may sound obvious, but be sure the colors of your beads and findings go well together. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion! If you're planning to wear your earrings with a particular outfit, now is a good time to make certain that they coordinate well. Double-checking these concerns now, before you start putting the pieces together, just might save you a lot of reworking later. One last thing: don't forget the comfort factor. You'll want to be aware of how heavy your finished earrings will be!

ASSEMBLY

Each of your beads will need to be strung onto an eye pin, which is a piece of strong wire that has a loop at one end. Use your roundnose pliers to carefully form a loop on the other end of the bead, and snip off any excess wire with wire cutters. Now you have a bead with a loop on either end. You may link this directly to another bead, or use a jump ring in between for a more graceful effect. (Note: never pull the ends of a jump ring apart with pliers. Instead, bend one end sideways so the ends are out of alignment, slip on the loop of the next piece, and carefully close the ring again with pliers.) Link your strands of beads to the base with jump rings, and use another jump ring to attach the base to the ear wire. And there you have it: chandelier earrings as unique as you are!

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