Monday, August 2, 2010

Hinged Hoop Earrings

I was commissioned to make some hinged hoops, so I thought I'd document the process so I could show you how I did it.

The first thing I did was hammer the end of a 20 gauge piece of silver wire into a paddle and drill a 20 gauge hole in the end. These will be the actual ear wires (the part that goes in your piercing, just in case you don't speak metal smith.) Repeat for the other ear wire.

Then I cut two lengths of 12 gauge wire the same size for the hoop part. I hammered the end flat slightly so that I could drill a hole in each one. I again used a 20 gauge drill bit, so the holes in the hoops are the same size as the hole in the ear wire.

Next, I very, very carefully sawed a slit in the end of the hoop wire. The hole I just drilled is running perpendicular to the slit.

See the slit? It goes just past the hole so that when I insert the ear wire, it'll fit just perfectly and their holes will line up.

Next I shaped the hoop (being very careful with the holes and slit that I just cut so that I don't bend them out of shape.) and I soldered a little "u" shaped latch onto the other end.

The next step is to insert the ear wire and the rivet wire. Since my holes are all 20 gauge, I used a 20 gauge wire as my rivet. I cut the rivet about 1 and 1/2 mm longer than the width of the hoop. If you cut it too long, the wire will just bend over instead of mushrooming into place, and if it's too short, then there won't be enough metal to spread out and hold it in place. I also made sure the ends of my rivet wire were filed nicely flat and and at a 90○ angle to the length of the rivet.

Usually when I rivet something, I counter sink the holes that my rivet is going through, but since my wire was so small, I omitted that step. Using the flat end of my chasing hammer I gently tapped one side of the rivet and then flipped it over and tapped the other side, repeating this carefully several times until I could see that the rivet was beginning to spread out over the hole. Then I turned my chasing hammer over to the ball side and tapped each side of the rivet alternatively in a very small circle beginning from the inside of the rivet and ending by tapping the outer circle of the rivet which eventually flattened nicely down onto the surrounding metal.

Since I wanted to make sure that my ear wire could move up and down I was very careful not to hammer the rivet too hard and smash the space in between so that the wire was too tight to move. And because I didn't counter sink the rivet, I just gently sanded it smooth. Then I bent the ear wire the way I wanted it, cut it to the correct length and finished the earring. Voila! A moving ear wire!




17 comments:

stacy smith said...

LOVE IT - both the tutorial and the design! Thank you for taking the time to post this!

sc37206 said...

You amaze me, you are so very talented!

Victoria Takahashi said...

looks great, nice shape too :)

Catherine Chandler said...

This is a fantastic tutorial! Thank you for showing us your step-by-step on this process!

John said...

Great tutorial. Very clear and concise. Thank you for sharing.

Kira said...

Fantastic tutorial, Amanda. The earrings look great!

Lisa Piece's said...

Great tutorial Amanda.

Brooke said...

This tutorial is GREAT and those earrings are fab.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for posting this tutorial! i have been looking for this -exactly!- for a long time. great detail in each step! thanks, again.

Amanda Conley said...

Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoy it. :)

Linnette Garcia said...

Great tutorial! Im sure this is a dilly question, but is that 20 g sterling silver hard wire? Medium? Thanks so much!

Amanda Conley said...

Thank you, Linnette! It is medium hard 20 g. But when I hammered it to make it flat it hardened it. I usually also toss my earrings in the tumbler which work hardens them all around so that they don't bend later.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Clear tutorial copy, fantastic photos and an individual inspirational design. Thanks so much for the real help - my daughter's been waiting for hinged hoops and I've not had a clue how to start til now...

Amanda Conley said...

Glad to help! I hope your daughter loves her new earrings. ;)

corra said...

Thanks for the clear tutorial, may I know which Dremel drill model are you using in this tutorial please? xoxo!

Amanda Conley said...

Hi Corra,
That dremel is no longer in commission, so I'm not sure what the model is, but any dremel or flex shaft will work as long as it has a flexible hand piece.

Corra said...

Thanks Amanda!