How to Make Earrings – Pretty Drop Dangles
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If you always wanted to know how to make earrings so you can design them to fit your personal style or outfit, I am going to show you how to make simple dangle earrings or drop earrings with beads using a few basic jewelry making techniques.
How to Make Earrings With Beads
When making drop or dangle earrings with beads the steps are the same to make simple one bead dangle type earrings…
… to using many beads to create larger earrings.
All the easy diy earrings in the images shown above were made in the same way. I just used different beads and ear wires. I collected most of my bead stash to make my own earrings from taking apart old jewelry I bought at yard sales and flea markets.
I made my daughter 3 pairs of dangle drop earrings. In this photo she is sporting a simple pair made with green glass beads and short ear wires.
No matter what type of earrings you like, after reading through the easy steps to make earrings, you will be creating stylish DIY earrings in no time for yourself or to give – as a pair of earrings make great gifts for family and friends.
How to Make Dangle Bead Earrings Instructions
In this tutorial, I am making short dangle earrings, but the process is the same if you want to make longer earrings. It is one of a few techniques of beaded earrings.
supplies you’ll need to make earrings
Jewelry making supplies are called “jewelry findings”. When making handmade earrings, these findings or parts include ear wires, endpins and jump rings.
The pliers needed can be bought as a set for under $10 or purchase an all-in-one jewelry plier.
All can be purchased inexpensively at crafts stores and online jewelry making supply sites.
Beads to Use
When choosing what beads to use to make earrings, go with any style you like – glass, crystal, stone or paper beads can all be made into dangle or drop earrings as long as they have a hole drilled into them. Even buttons can be used.
One of my favorite resources for beads and spacers (smaller beads – sometimes flat beads used in between larger beads) is to search for inexpensive vintage necklaces and bracelets at thrift stores.
Once I get them home, I take them apart and then organize the beads by color, size and style. Then I use the decorative beads to make one-of-a-kind DIY drop earrings.
I find you get more interesting and unique beads this way than mass produced beads that you buy at the craft store.
Different Types of Earring Hooks or Ear Wires
There are a few basic types of earring hooks to choose from when making earrings. All of these can be purchased at your local craft store or at jewelry supply website like Fire Mountain Beads.
Endpins come in various lengths, thicknesses and metals. They have a flat or small beaded end that will stop beads from falling off.
You can use one bead on an endpin or use two or more. Smaller beads, called spacers can be use anywhere in the stack on an endpin with multiple beads on it to make a longer dangle earring. You just need to leave enough room at the end of the wire to make a loop to attach the beaded dangle to the earring hook.
There are also wires called eye pins. These are used when you want to connect a jump ring and another bead to the bottom to make a longer dangle or teardrop earrings.
Jump rings come in various sizes and metals. For short drop earrings choose a smaller jump ring.
There are also 2 types of jump rings – closed or open.
How to Open a Jump Ring: Place a flat nose pliers on one side of the ring’s cut and a round nose plier on the other. Push one end of the ring back and the other forward. Then once you have your bead attached, close the ring in reverse and use flat nose pliers to make sure the ends are in line again.
TIP: Never pull a jump ring open by pulling the ring apart left and right. Doing this will weaken the ring.
All-In-One Jewelry Making Pliers
There are many different types of jewelry making tools, but for my needs – this 3 in one plier works perfectly. Some people like to have a separate pliers and a pair of flush cutters so they can hold the loop with the pliers, and snip with wire cutters.
What Do All-In-One-Jeweler’s Pliers Do:
- The tip is where you place the wire to make a small loop.
- The middle is where you can press the loop to flatten it.
- The round area is where you can cut excess wire away.
How to Make a Simple Loop In an Endpin When Making Drop Earrings
This is how to make earrings using a simple wire loop technique. There is also a wrapped loop earring, which is made differently and does require a bit more skill.
Time needed: 3 minutes.
Beaded Dangle Drop Earring Tutorial
- Choose Bead Order
Thread beads or bead on an endpin. If the bead has a large hole, you may need to add a smaller bead on the end pin first so the bigger bead will not slip off.
- Bend End Pin
Bend the end pin wire with the ends of the round nose pliers so the wire is at a 90 degree angle over the bead as shown.
- Make a Loop
Hold the tip of the round nose pliers right at the base of the bead and wrap the wire around one tip into a circle.
Option: Cut the wire so only about 3/8″ is left or cut the excess after making the loop on top of the bead.
- Close the Loop
Then use the plier tips to close the loop. Use the center section of the pliers to flatten the loop if needed.
TIP: When making a pair of earrings, make sure to make the loop on each earring the same size. This is easy to do when you use the same area of the plier tips. You can also use a Sharpie marker to mark a line on the tines of the pliers to make sure you make the loops the same size. (They graduate in size from small to larger.)
How to Attach Bead to an Ear Wire
1. Once bead is attached to endpin and simple wire loop is made on the top of the bead. Use the tips on round nose pliers to open the loop on an ear wire.
2. Place the beaded endpin loop into the ear wire loop and then close the ear wire loop. Flatten the loop if needed with the center part of the pliers or use a pair of flat nose pliers.
Designing Earring DIY Ideas
Use your creativity to come up with different earring designs using various beads, ear wires and spacers. As the “designer” you can pay attention to a fashion trend or create your own unique designs to suit your needs and style.
This pair of DIY crystal drop earrings will look great with a little black dress and heels or as an idea that you can make for a bridal party to wear as DIY wedding earrings.
Vintage beads from an old necklace become earrings that look like they are from an expensive boutique, but only costs a few dollars to make.
This pair of colored crystal hanging earrings uses 3 different beads on an end pin. A clear crystal spacer, a green glass bead and a small silver spacer.
Once you make your first pair of simple drop earrings and begin to get compliments, you may find yourself dreaming up new designs and searching for unique beads to use to make earrings not only for you, but for your family and friends also.
Earring Making Video
For readers who like to learn from videos – here is one I recommend watching:
- Fire Mountain Beads has a quick video showing how to make simple dangle earrings.
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I enjoy making jewelry also. I have mostly made necklaces. It’s a good skill to have and you explained the steps beautifully.
Hi Nancy – How is your arm? I hope you are feeling better.
I fell a second time…in the shower. I am out of action. Cannot be case because of the way I broke it. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Take two months to heal. PT should be fun!
Thanks for this tutorial. I have been wanting to make jewelry for years and have bought various supplies that sit untouched in a drawer. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get that push to get going. Your designs are beautiful and what a lovely photo of your daughter! Feeling inspired!
Hi Linda – Thanks – It makes me happy to know that my post is making you feel inspired. Once you make one pair and see how easy it is, you will be using all the supplies you bought.
Absolutely beautiful Diane. Thank you for the understandable explanation and lovely examples contained in your post. Enjoy the warmth of our South Carolina climate!
Thank you for this very timely and thorough post! I have “looking for a new craft” on my list of things to do for the weekend, and I think this will be fun! I have many old beads to use – I’m excited to get started!
Hi Gina –
I am so happy to hear this! Making earrings can become a fun hobby – one where you get to define your style just as you want. Enjoy making yours and finding pretty beads to use.
Thank you Diane. You are a blessing. My mom wanted to learn how to make earrings as gifts and your information will help her immensely. Your designs are beautiful. Have a blessed day!
I’m not sure whee you are getting your info, but good topic.
I needs too spend some ime learning mych more or undersanding more.
Thanks for great information I was looking for this information for my mission.
Diane, great site — thanks for all the ideas and especially for the typefaces!!!!
Oh these are gorgeous! I would have never known just quite how to do these till now and your tutorial. I sure want those pliers. Can you use the end pins to form your own ear wires too? My mom used to make jewelry, pretty much necklaces and I was never around when she did them, so I did not have a clue, but she did a good job like you too. I kept all that she did not give away.
You have very beautiful girls, beautiful smiles and both will be your ‘babies’ even when they are forty something and older. I know.
Hi Sheryll – thanks so much for always leaving me the best comments XO Yes, you could use endpins to form your own ear wires. You just need to make sure the cut tip of the wire that will poke through your ear first is nice and smooth or it will irritate your ear.
Passing along to a friend who just mentioned she wanted to learn how to make some simple earrings. I live in SLC, Utah, hope your daughter enjoys her visit :D
Beautiful daughter, beautiful earrings.
I think earrings can MAKE an outfit by setting the tone, or adding some whimsy. You’re right about older jewelry having more interesting elements for making your own — unique and thrifty.
Have a great trip.
Thanks Barb – I got home last night. It was a non-stop event type trip. Fun, but exhausting. It is always so nice to come home. I am taking a little personal day today to try to re-charge.
visiting from Tip Me Tuesday! wow these earrings are exactly my type-not too over the top but awesome for everyday casual wear/night out and the length is perfect! ok so i must go get my supplies soon :) thanks so much for the wonderful tute!
Hi Lisa – thanks. My twin sister and I started making our own earrings when we could not find ones that were short enough. Most of the earrings sold are too long or big. A little DIYingyou get to make them the exact length you like :)
Diane, What beautiful work!!! I love the colors and the beads you chose. And thank you for a very detailed tutorial! What a very pretty daughter.
Thanks Yvonne – I never really wanted to go into fashion design, but when I can’t find the clothes or accessories I imagine in my mind when out shopping – I have to become a little bit of a fashion/accessory designer to get the looks I want. :)