Tutorial: This Way + That from “101 Wire Earrings: Step-by-Step Projects & Techniques”
Author: Denise Peck
Price: $11.57 for book
12g Sterling silver wire
20g Sterling silver wire (because I also chose to make my earwires)
Blazer Butane Micro-Torch (optional)
Solderite board (optional)
Heat Resistant Tweezers (optional)
Pickle in a small crockpot (optional)
Water in a small plastic bowl (for quenching) (optional)
Round nose pliers (optional)
Nylon head pliers (optional)
Flat needle file
Small Ball Peen Hammer
4″ Steel Block
Automatic Center Punch (optional)
Bead reamer (optional)
Stainless Steel Shot – mine is the mixed shape shot
Dawn dish washing liquid – Original scent blue
Hooray for hand forging tiny bits of metal! I haven’t done this type of thing since I took classes from Dan Haga. I am attracted to the strong minimalist design and texture of these earrings.
Before I started the dangle, I decided to take another stab at making balled end sterling earwires. I’m determined to make them work! I balled the wire ends a little more slowly and this time, they came out better. There was still some reticulation on the balls. I decided not to worry about that since this is a hammered piece. It might just blend.
This tutorial did not include and step-by-step photos or drawings. It only included a photo of the finished earrings. It did have instructions and photos on using the awl to make a hole in metal and oxidizing sterling silver at the beginning of the book.
This was marked as a “Level 1” design. The book identified those as taking 5-10 minutes to complete. I honestly don’t understand how that would be possible. Even if you used purchased earwires, shaping the metal, texturing it, and then tumbling or oxidizing the earrings couldn’t be done that quickly. From start to finish, mine took about 3 hours. Granted, the majority of that (2 hours) was spent in the tumbler and it probably took me longer because I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I like my earrings to look like a matched pair.
In any case, I’m thrilled with the result! My earrings look almost exactly like the inspiration photo in the book. The only difference is I did not oxidize mine like the pair in the photo. I decided to follow the alternative suggestion and tumble them. I was delighted to learn that tumbling those funky textured balled end earwires for two hours significantly smooths them out.
Overall, I think this tutorial is great for someone with basic skills. The book includes some lovely designs that use readily available materials and tools. It’s always a plus if you can use the stuff you have on hand!