Learn how to make simple wire hoop earrings! Hoops are a staple in earring collections. They're very popular which has increased in recent years as the size of hoops grew larger. The good news is that they're easy to make with just a few basic tools and you can have a variety of sizes available. These are a great quick sell items to expand your inventory, especially during the busy season, when having stock on hand is crucial.
Choosing the Right Wire
Choosing the right gauge is critical. Too thick of a wire and it won't slip through earlobes. while one that is too thin will easily bend out of shape. So your first choice would be choosing the gauge. With earrings, 20-22 gauge is perfect. I like to work with thicker wires because they hold their shape so well, so my first choice would be 20 gauge silver wire.
The next choice is the temper. The temper represents how many passes the wire has run through a draw plate. If it has never run through a drawplate, which hardens the wire, it is referred to as dead-soft, 5 passes would make it half-hard, 10 passes would harden it completely. A dead soft wire would be difficult to shape because it would be so pliable, whereas a hardwire would be too unyielding to work with. A round, half-hard wire is ideal.
Jewelry Making Material
What about the material? The choice is yours but think ahead to what people can comfortably wear. Copper is one of my favorite metals, however, I can't wear it because I'm allergic to it. Many people are allergic to copper, so keep that in mind while you choose your jewelry wire. Earlobes are very sensitive, so my preferred choice is sterling silver or gold-filled.
How to Make Simple Wire Hoop Earrings
It requires very little effort and tools to create hoops. This is good news for makers who need something fast in their inventory but do not have a lot of time to fabricate items. Having several different sized hoops on hand is ideal and the sizes will be your biggest decision. In the instructions below I used a dapping punch in the example, but get creative! You can use wine bottles, vases, cups, or anything else with a cylindrical shape to create these (just make sure that whatever you choose can handle light hammering on its surface). Do you have scrap on hand? Create hoops using your scrap wire. This is a great way to use up some of that scarp you have piling up in your jewelry studio.
Tools and Materials
- Flat Nose pliers
- Chain Nose pliers
- Round Nose pliers
- Wire Flush Cutters
- 20-22 gauge Sterling Silver Wire (length is dependent on hoop size)
- Cylindrical Object
- Hammer (Rawhide or texturing)
- Optional: Permanent Marker
Creating the Wire Hoops
Begin by sizing and cutting the sterling silver wire. You want it to be tight around the cylindrical shape and have it overlap by 1 inch. Use your rawhide hammer to form the wire so that when it is removed from the object it keeps its general shape. Use the flush cutters to make a straight cut on one end of the wire you will use for the loop.
Now that you have the shape of your hoop, you'll need to place a loop in it. This loop needs to lie diagonally across the top of your hoop. Keeping that in mind, place the wire between the round nose pliers. The tip of the wire must be between the two jaws and not sticking above the round nose jaws. Hold onto the wire in one hand and the pliers in your other hand and form the wire around the round nose pliers.
Note: I highly suggest using the permanent marker to place a mark on the jaws of the pliers. This mark will keep your wire in the same spot and enable you to make the same size loops consistently.
By slightly adjusting your pliers, you can finish the entire loop. It's crucial while making this adjustment that your wire is always located on the same spot on the plier jaws.
When you've finished your loop it will be in the shape of a "P". Use chain nose pliers to bend the wire so that the loop is centered on the wire, and no longer in the "P" shape.
Note: Practice with copper! Creating loops can be done in seconds once you are comfortable making them. I always suggest practicing with copper wire first before moving on to sterling silver or gold-filled wire.
Now that one end of your wire has the loop in it, you now need to mark where the hook will be. Place the hoop back on the cylindrical object and tightly hold it down. Right where the wire and loop meet, mark the spot with your permanent marker.
Using your flat nose pliers, bend the hook up away from the center of your hoop.
Leaving about a 1/4 inch above the loop, use flush cutters to snip off the extra wire.
Note: This is the part of the hoop that will run through the earlobe. Spend a minute sanding and shaping the tip of the wire to remove any sharp edges. A smooth, rounded tip is ideal.
Tip: Use the minimum amount of shaping if you're working with gold-filled material. You don't want too much of the jeweler's brass exposed in the center.
Place the closed wire hoop earring back onto the cylindrical object. Now is the time to work harden the piece so that it retains its shape. Use texturing hammers or your rawhide hammer to complete this last step.
Finished Wire Hoop Earrings
These beautiful hoop earrings are easy to make and require no finishing work at the end. As you become comfortable, you can create several pairs in a short amount of time. If you'd like to take it a step further, you can hang lightweight charms from the hoops or wire wrap sterling silver beads around the sides, as well. These small decorations will add a nice variety to your wire hoop earrings collection.