Here is a project using wirework to create dimensional floral earrings. I’m showing specific beads for this example, but you can use other colors as long as the bead shapes are as described here.
What you’ll need to get started
You’ll need the following materials: about 3 ft. of 26 gauge art wire; a pair of 14K goldfilled earwires, a pair of 10mm and of 14mm center-drilled cup round flower beads, a pair of small 3mm firepolish beads; a pair of 18mm flat leaf beads, drilled front to back, and (optional) a pair of small closed jumprings if you like a metal accent spacer element. Use these tools: round-tipped and needle nose pliers, to form the loops at the the top of the earrings, and nail clippers or wire cutters, to cut the wire at the start.
Design and preparation
I offer kits with the beads chosen already in different color ways. If you are choosing the bead colors, experiment, place them together temporarily before settling on your choice. Make sure that the nesting cup flower beads and the little 3mm round bead contrast with one another (contrast is what I aim for when I design). Keep trying till the color combination looks good to you. When you have your beads figured out, lay them out on a paper towel or piece of cloth.
1. Cut two 8-1/2” lengths of 26 gauge art wire. Fold one length in half. Thread one 18mm leaf in the middle of the fold, pinch lightly and twist twice so that the leaf is secure and doesn’t flop around, then wrap one strand of the wire tightly around up the other strand to an eighth of an inch. Make sure the front smooth side of the leaf is forward. Take the end of the wire and bend it outward at right angles to the central axis formed by the other wire. You will thread the nesting beads onto this wire.
2. In the order shown, thread on the 14mm bead, the 10mm bead, an optional tiny jumpring, and the 3mm small bead. Using your hands, gently bend the wire back over the 3mm bead and thread it through the 10 and 14mm nesting beads and the small jumpring. When the small 3mm bead is nestled into the 10mm cup flower, pull the wire snug, using any pliers.
3. With your hands, adjust so that the nested flower and the 18mm leaf are facing forward in the same direction. Wrap the wire coming out of the back of the flower around the central axis wire, twist wire around central axis for about 1/8”. Now, smooth both wires together and twist evenly to make a length about an inch and a half. For best results, when twisting, hold the earring’s body still with one hand and do the wire twisting with your other hand.
4. A tidy round loop adds much to the appearance of the earring. Here’s a loop-making method I like: using the needle-nose pliers, make a bend to the right just above the outer edge of the center flower. Using the round-tipped pliers as a mandrel, form a loop. Insert ear wire in the loop. Check that the ear wire has no gaps for the earring to fall out of, and close the earwire tighter with needle-nose pliers if necessary. Holding the loop flat in the jaws of the needle-nose pliers, twist wire end two or three times. Trim it neatly in the back.
Repeat steps 1-4 to make the second earring of the pair. I hope that I have shown you some new ways to use dimensional cup flower and leaf beads. As always, use the techniques you’ve learned here to add dimension and floral flair to your own designs!
The Czech glass flower and leaf beads shown in this tutorial are available in many colors, or in materials kits, at Bowerbirds’ Etsy site, bowerbirds.biz.