How to Make a Personalized Pair of Stone Bead Earrings
Colorful dangly earrings can make an otherwise simple outfit sparkle. But the perfect pair can cost as much as the rest of your ensemble put together. We went straight to the source-a jewelry-supply shop-for oversize stones of every shade, and created these natural beauties for a fraction of the boutique price. To assemble, thread an eye pin through the bead, and bend it through a hook-earring loop, securing with needle-nose pliers. Then throw them on with a small backing, and make ripples.
Our earrings require just beads, pins, earring wires, and jump rings (small wire circles)-but combine for dozens of different looks. Here, all the supplies you need to perk up your ears.
Your choice of bead will determine how the earring is made: Some beads have vertical channels all the way through (as with 1, 2, 6, 13, and 14) and require a pin. Others have holes only through the top (3-5, 9, and 12) and call for jump rings. Small beads (7 and 11) and sequins (10 and 15) can be stacked on a pin or strung on a jump ring.
Pictured: Miyuki Various Drop Beads (1, 8, 9), from $1 each, tohoshoji-ny.com. Mixed-Color Bugle Beads (2, 14), 35 mm, 12 for 1 g, ornabead.com. Beads World Stone and Teardrop Beads (3–7, 11–13), from $1 each, beadsworldusa.com. M&J Trimming Sequins (10, 15), $4 for 1,000, mjtrim.com.
We used pins with ball heads (16), paddle ends (17), and flathead ends (18). While a bead will sit flush against a flathead pin, ball heads are visible, and paddle ends protrude enough to add visual interest to the earring. (Indeed, they're pretty enough to dangle, unadorned, in a group.) Order the 2-inch size and snip to the desired length.
Pictured: Beadalon Ball-Head Pins, $3 for 24, walmart.com. River Song Beads Gold Paddle Pins, 2", 22 gauge, $5 for 80, etsy.com/shop/riversongbeads. Bead Landing Head-Pin Connectors, 2", $3 for 72, michaels.com.
The ends of these wires have small loops. Some of the loops (19 and 22-25) can be closed with pliers and can be threaded with a pin directly, but others (20 and 21) require a jump ring. Of course, the shape of the wire will affect the look of the finished earring: More dramatic versions (19 and 20) make for longer, bolder earrings.
Pictured: Gold Earring Wire (19), from 25 cents each, and Sterling-Silver Earring Wires (20, 21, 24), from $1.50 each, beadsworldusa.com. Bead Landing Fish-Hook Earring Wires (22, 23), $3 for 60, michaels.com. Fire Mountain Gems Gold Vermeil Earring Wire (25), from $4 each, firemountaingems.com.
How to Use Pins
For supplies, you will need beads, a pin, wire cutters, and round-nose pliers. Slide bead (or beads) onto pin. With wire cutters, cut pin so only about 1/4 inch extends past bead or beads. With round-nose pliers, pinch end of pin and, in one continuous motion, curl it around end of pliers; tuck end into bead hole. Add to jump ring or earring wire.
How to Use Jump Rings
For supplies, you will need two pairs of pliers, a jump ring, and bead or earring pin. With pliers, grip either side of opening of jump ring. Pull one pair of pliers toward you and push the other away. Slide on bead, or thread head of pin onto jump ring (make sure bead is facing the right direction). Use pliers to close jump ring and add to the earring wire.