Monday, March 19, 2012


If you use commercial fishhook style earwires to create simpler or custom ear wires, this is sa great tip for making use of the little coil components that would normally be discarded or mixed in with the sea of bead sludge.

I use a lot of rustic lampwork type of beads that have larger or non uniform holes, and I make a lot of 'bead stack' type of links and things with different size beads and smaller gauge wire.

A larger-holed bead can really throw the thing off balance unless you are very careful about bead placement. The wobble a large size bead creates on a too-small pin/wire is annoying too and feels amateur. Generally, I will try to use a small bicone bead to fill in the larger hole area, but I go through them quite a bit and don't always have a good selection at hand.

In the past I've used teeny seed beads to fill the larger bead holes to compensate, but it can be tricky if the bead is larger, plus, glass seed beads can add to the overall weight of a component giving no bang for the buck because the beads are unseen. Worse, sometimes they can be seen underneath and it looks a bit desperate.

So--using the little coils that get cut off with the fishhooks is a great solution that really works. It basically just creates a faux wider-gauged pin or wire in a specific area. If they can be seen from underneath the hole, it just looks like metal and is totally unobtrusive and non-distractive to the design and colors. The coils can even be trimmed with tin snips or wire cutters to conform to the size of the bead. You can also stack them. In the photo diagram above, I used three of them. They also add no detectable weight.

The best way to get a good supply is to make all the earwires in a sitting so you can gather and store the coils together. It's also nice to just have the earwires all ready to go instead of making them custom a pair at a time.

Keep the little metal beads too--they add up quickly and oxidize well. I use them like seed beads. The photo below shows a pair of earrings that make use of these metal earwire beads--I've used them in wire-wrapping on the stick area at top and also as framing on the middle bead stack component.


  1. Clever! I've been using tiny seed beads, and sometimes I'm lucky enough to have those very narrow rubber earring backs, which work very well.

    So do you just form a loop at the bottom of the hook to attach the dangles?

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Seating the beads, always a bit of a design factor with those big holers. I always like using those czech faceted firepolish beads usually 4 mm does it but I have been known to line them with seed beads to avoid the wobble as well. I guess I haven't ended up with many extra coils before but I can see how they'd come in handy this way.
    I like the contrast in these earrings,... just dandy for sure.
    xoxo Kim

  3. Hi Alice and Kim!
    --Yes, Alice--to complete the earwire alteration you just need to use round nose/jewelry pliers to form another loop out of the straight part. I usually file the edges before making the loop, just a good habit in general, but it also helps even out the color if you have or will be oxidizing the earwires. The flat cuts create a pretty even surface that reflects light and can call attention to the shiny inner color. That's how anal I am, though...

  4. Actually, you can see how I made the loops here:

    These earrings have the exact earwires I used in the photo above.

  5. LOVE this idea! Inever would have thunk it!
    AND I saw your earrings in the affaire magazine...before I could even see that they were yours, I KNEW they were...just gorgeous!

  6. Thanks, Jennifer!
    besides the stringing contest thing, the earrings are my first published pieces so it's pretty exciting for me. I saw yours too--pretty! But your name was weirdly missing from under the title. I saw the contact info but that looked accidental.