Free Spirit Beading with Kristen Fagan: How To Make Earrings With Craft Wire

Free Spirit Beading is back. Kristen’s newest YouTube video aired on Monday. She discussed how to make some fun earrings with Craft Wire and beads. Her earrings are seasonal and perfect for any autumn wardrobe. Check out her video if you missed it live.

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Free Spirit Beading airs on Mondays at 12:00pm PST. Free Spirit Beading is a beaded jewelry making series on YouTube. Kristen loves answering questions and helping fellow jewelry designers, if you catch her live, you can ask any questions about jewelry or art and she will give you some helpful tips. If you miss an episode, you can find it in our YouTube library.

Kristen starts her video discussing Craft Wire and the earrings she is making. Craft Wire is a permanently colored copper wire. It contains no metals other than copper and fine silver. Craft Wire is enameled and hypoallergenic. It is resistant to marring and peeling. It is a soft wire that can be work hardened to a half-hard temper. Soft Flex carries 18 gauge through 28 gauge. The most commonly used sizes.

Kristen says she wanted to create jewelry for the season. She went with black Craft Wire, black beads and some shimmering gold Dichroic Glass beads. She selected her glass beads from Paula Radke’s collection. You can find Paula’s beads on her site or Fusion Beads. Kristen used Paula’s Dichroic Glass Charms

Kristen revisits a necklace she made for her September 11th broadcast. She designed a modern necklace with a wooden focal bead that had a pattern made with Easy Marble. Kristen did another design with the wooden bead. This time she used chain instead of Tri-Bead Czech Seed Beads. She says she thought of the variation because she seems to have so much chain lying around. 

Kristen moves the camera down so we can see her materials and tools. She is using a bead mat to hold everything in place. She has 20 gauge Craft Wire in black. She is going to use the Craft wire for connectors and ear wires. She has two Swarovski Crystal rondelles, they are about 10x6mm in size. She has two Dichroic Glass charms. Kristen shows some Paula Radke glass beads she can use as variations. Kristen has nylon jaw plierschain nose pliersLoopRite Looping Pliers, Soft Flex Flush Cutters, tape measure, and a Burr Cup.

Kristen discusses the LoopRite Looping Pliers. The LoopRite has marked sizes on the nose of the pliers. The sizes marked range from 2mm to 8mm. This makes it easy to create consistent sized loops. If you are making chain or ear wire and want everything uniform, this tool takes all of the guesswork out of creating your loops. 

Kristen uses her nylon jaw pliers to straighten the Craft Wire she will be using. Straightening the wire also work hardens the wire slightly so it is stiffer and holds its shape better as she works. She measures the wire and cuts two inches off of the spool. 

Kristen uses her LoopRite Pliers to make 2mm loops on the wire she cut from the spool. She creates two eye pins with the pliers. She then places the wire into the 8mm slot on the LoopRite Pliers. This creates a larger loop; she does not close this loop. This will be the part of the ear wire that sits on the lobe of the ear. She places the wire in the 4mm slot on the pliers and twists slightly. This finishes the look of the ear wire. She then places the finished ear wire in her nylon jaw pliers and compresses. Kristen keeps putting pressure on different parts of the finished ear wire. She work hardens the Craft Wire doing this. This will turn the wire more rigid and they will retain their shape. She also shows how to strike the wire with a nylon hammer to work harden it. 

Kristen takes her Burr Cup and files the end of the finished ear wire down. This grinds down any sharp or abrasive pieces on the wire. Using a Burr Cup will ensure that the end of the wire does not snag clothes or have any surfaces that can cut skin.

Kristen gathers two beads and two Dichroic Glass dangles. One for each earring.

Kristen straightens more Craft Wire. She cuts five inches off of her spool. She repeats this. She takes one of the five inch wires and makes a loop with her pliers on the 3mm slot. This creates a large eye pin. She places a rondelle on the eye pin. She takes the wire and places it on the 7mm slot of the pliers. She creates a large loop. The rondelle is now suspended between two loops. Using chain nose pliers, she opens the second loop and slides her dichroic charm onto the wire. She holds the wire with her chain nose pliers and makes a tight loop to close the dangle. She cuts the excess wire off. She now has a dangle to add to her ear wire.

Kristen opens the ear wire and places the dangle on the ear wire. She closes the ear wire to finish the earring. And that is it. A cute little earring for fall and it was so simple to make. 

Kristen makes her second earring for audience members that wanted to see all of the steps again. She makes a couple more ear wires for anybody that wanted to follow along again. 

These earrings are so easy to make and the bead variation is limitless. You can design a pair of your own, similar to Kristen’s or you can use different beads and different sizes and add your own signature to the design. She shows off her finished pieces. Two subtle Halloween earrings and they can be worn all season long. 

Make sure you catch Kristen every Monday at 11:00am PST. She has an extensive background in art. She is a painter, an author, a graphic designer and more. If you have any questions about bead stringing or color or art – she would love to hear from you. 

If you want to join our community, find us on our Facebook group. Our VIB group is a very active bunch of jewelry designers. We love to post pictures and inspire each other and would love to hear from you.

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Blog contributor Thomas Soles is the Trade Show Coordinator for Soft Flex Company. His favorite stones are Lapis and Pietersite. His favorite hobby is day dreaming. And his favorite mustache is Tom Selleck's. As you can see, he has a healthy (or possibly unhealthy) sense of humor. You can write to him at [email protected]