Saturday, August 21, 2010

Free tutorial: Make your own headpins!

Making your own headpins is not only economical in these hard times, it's also design-savvy because you can make them to fit the look and style of your own jewelry work. This tutorial will show you three basic styles of headpin that you can make very easily using a small number of tools and wire that you have on hand. Some of you folks probably already know how to make these headpins, but the web is wide and this guide might prove helpful to others out there. I hope that is the case!

 What you will need:

* Wire. You'll want to use a gauge that will fit your beads, but you'll also want the wire to be of a good thickness so that it will be sturdy enough to support your beads as well. Today I am using dead soft 20 gauge wire. It's large enough that you can see what I'm doing, but small enough to fit through bead holes without having to resort to a reamer.

* Round-nose or round needle-nose pliers, one set.

* Clippers to cut your wire.

* Beads, preferrably with holes large enough for your wire to fit through. If your beads have larger holes, you can either make adjustments with your headpin or add a second bead. More on this later.

I am using generous lengths of wire today so that my fingers don't get in the way of what I'm trying to show you. The nice thing about making your own headpins is that you can make them any length you want. I recommend practicing on longer lengths of cheaper wire, then you can move on to finer metals.

Take the wire in your finger and hold it while grasping as close to the other end with your pliers as you can.

Use your fingers to gently pull the wire toward you while holding the end firmly with your pliers. This will create a half loop on the end of the wire.

 Take the half loop in your pliers again and gently rotate the wire end back toward itself to complete the loop. This is your first headpin. You can add your bead and make a loop on the other end, after you've trimmed it to size, and link many together. Or you can add a bead or focal to dangle, as in earrings or for the centerpiece of a necklace.

Or you can go on to make a second style of headpin by using the base of your pliers to squeeze the loop together.

You have completed a second style of headpin!

If you want a more whimsical look for your jewelry, there is a third style of headpin we can show you how to make. The first few steps in making this headpin remain the same as the first two headpins; it's how you finish it that changes the look.

This time we're using a gold-colored wire. It is also 20 gauge and dead soft wire. Follow the first two steps above but don't squeeze the loop together.

Take the wire in the flat part at the base of your pliers (or you can use a pair of regular needle-nose pliers for this step) and gently rotate the wire toward itself using your fingers while holding the loop steady. You will begin to see that you are creating a swirl with the wire. You can repeat this step until the swirl is as large as you require.

This style of headpin is great for beads with larger holes because you have complete control over how large your swirl will be. It lends a playful, whimsical look to your project for sure! It can add a mystical feel as well, since it resembles an old Celtic symbol of infinity.

You now know how to make three different styles of headpins. Simply straighten your wires, add your beads, and you're good to go! Or you can lightly hammer the ends for added strength and durability. When you've put your beads on your pins, you can also choose to fold the ends up against the bead or leave them as they are.

Nothing says "this is handmade jewelry" like handmade headpins!

Hope this guide is helpful! Happy beading. :)

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Cathy said...

Great tutorial. I'm a jewelry & maker and have my own blog that I'm using to try to encourage other to give it a try. I will certainly mention your blog on my blog. This is great! If your interested in reading my post visit me @
I would love the feedback.

jamberry_song said...

Hi, Cathy! I would be honored to appear on your blog. :D Likewise, I'll add you to my follow list and check it out. Looking forward to it!