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Dusky desert earrings

Use WoolyWire and recycled sari silk to make vibrant dangles

You'll be ready to paint the town in these colorful earrings, which feature lampworked head pins.

Although these earrings are fairly straightforward, plan to make your wire-wrapped dangles 24 hours before assembling the earrings so that the lacquer has time to fully cure.

Materials

Earrings 2 1⁄4 in. (57 mm) 

  • 7 in. (17.8 cm) WoolyWire (Tuscan vineyard; www.woolywireetc.etsy.com)
  • 2 9 x 18 mm drop-bead lamp worked glass/steel wire head pins (dusk-painted desert; www.geneabeads.com)
  • 4 in. (10.2 cm) recycled sari silk (vintage rose; www.geneabeads.com)
  • 2 6 x 11 mm foldover crimps (antique brass plated; item CN209, www.jewelrysupply.com)
  • pair of ear wires (anodized niobium)
  • 2 pairs of chainnose, flatnose, and/or bentnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • 5⁄16-in. (8 mm) mandrel, such as a fine-tip permanent marker or dowel
  • Clear Guard Protective Lacquer (hardware stores)
  • Fray Check
  • paintbrush
  • Sticky Tack or cardboard
  • xylene solvent

Instructions

Dusky desert earrings a
Step a
Dusky desert earrings b
Step b

1. Using your fingers, bend a steel-wire lampworked head pin at a 90-degree angle just above the glass. Wrap the wire once around a 5⁄16-in. (8 mm) mandrel, such as the end of a fine-tip permanent marker (a) or dowel, to form a loop. Wrap the wire around itself at the base of the loop, covering the tip of the glass where it meets the wire. Trim any excess wire, and tuck the end into the wraps. Repeat to make a second dangle.

2. Working in a well-ventilated area, use a paintbrush to paint the loop and wraps of each dangle with a coat of Clear Guard Protective Lacquer (b) to seal the steel wire. Allow the lacquer to dry for two hours. 

While the lacquer sets, clean your paintbrush with xylene solvent. Without the solvent, your paintbrush will harden and cannot be used again.

3. After two hours, apply a second coat of lacquer. Allow to dry overnight.

Tip!
Place a bit of Sticky Tack on the bottom of each dangle to keep it standing upright while the lacquer dries. You may also lay the dangles on a piece of cardboard after holding them upright for a few minutes or until the lacquer is dry to the touch.
Dusky desert earrings c
Step c
Dusky desert earrings d
Step d

4. Cut a 2-in. (51 mm) piece of recycled sari silk, and center the loop of a dangle on the silk. Place both ends of the silk in a foldover crimp, and use chainnose or flatnose pliers to close the sides of the crimp (c). Trim any excess silk at the top of the crimp.

5. Cut a 3 1⁄2-in. (89 mm) piece of Wooly-Wire, and finish the ends as follows: Apply Fray Check to each end, and while the wool is still wet, use your thumb and forefinger to twist the wool at each end in the direction of the existing twist. Trim any excess fibers.

6. Place the WoolyWire against the bottom of the crimp, leaving a 1-in. (25.5 mm) tail pointing to the right. Begin wrapping the long end of the wire around the crimp (d) until you reach the opening at the top of the crimp. End with the last wrap on the back of the crimp.

Tip!
Although not as permanent as lacquer, a quicker option for sealing the wire is to apply Renaissance wax with a soft cloth.
Dusky desert earrings e
Step e
Dusky desert earrings f
Step f

7. Trim the ending tail to 1⁄4 in. (6 mm), and finish as before. Using roundnose pliers, make a small loop at the end of the WoolyWire (e). Pinch the loop with chainnose or flatnose pliers, and then press the end against the wraps.

8. With the starting tail, form a spiral (f).

9. Open the loop of an ear wire, attach it to the opening at the top of the crimp, and close the loop.

10. Repeat steps 4–9 to assemble the second earring. If desired, in step 6, leave the 1-in. (25.5 mm) tail pointing to the left to make a mirror-image spiral.

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