Beaded Tiara and Earrings Set
Project by Jenny Mangun from Chicago.
As a teen, Jenny got a summer job at a YMCA camp and her art background landed her in charge of the craft shop. This is where she first learned jewelry making. When she wore her original designs back to school in September, she was barraged with requests to make pieces for fellow students. Now she makes handmade jewelry sets for blushing brides. Her sparkling treasures are grand and delicate at the same time and created by simply twisting three strands of beaded wire.
flat needle-nose or chain nose pliers
side-cutting or general small-headed wire cutters
10-15 yards sterling, copper or brass wire in 20 & 22 gauge
small and large crystal and seed beads
2 earring hooks
1. To make earrings: Cut one length of 20- or 22-gauge wire (about 1 foot long). Thread eight seed beads onto middle of wire.
2. Grasping all the beads, twist into a loop. Thread another eight seed beads onto the same wire and repeat to form another loop right next to the first loop.
3. Holding both ends of leftover wire, straighten into one wire and cut one side of the wire, using your flat-nose pliers to fix exposed wires. Now you’re left with one length of wire.
4. Thread a crystal bead onto the wire above the loops. Using round nose pliers, make a loop directly above the crystal. This will connect the ear ornament onto the ear wire.
5. Grasp the wire above the crystal, between the two round-nose pliers heads horizontally and bend the wire away from you, making an "L" shape. Lift pliers to a vertical position, with heads again between the wire, and pull the wire toward you (half a loop should be made).
6. Slip the bottom round nose end into the half loop and push the wire down and forward, completing the loop. Open the loop attached to the earring hook, with the flat-nose pliers.
7. Insert the ornament loop into the ear hook loop and close with flat-nose pliers.
8. Repeat for second earring.
9. For tiara: Cut three lengths of wire (one of the 20-gauge and two of the 22-gauge) about 3 or 4 feet long each.
10. Cover one tip of each wire with masking tape to prevent beads from falling off one end.
11. Thread larger-holed beads onto 20-gauge wire.
12. Thread seed beads onto 22-gauge wire. Do this for the first 2 to 3 inches of wire.
13. Then taking a strand of wire, loosely lay out beads, already threaded on wire, and twist beaded wire into a loop (same as earring loops). It should look like rabbit ears. Do this to the remaining wire with the first two. Like braiding, you’ll want to keep the outsides wires connected with the inside wire, and keep switching to ensure your layers are meshed together.
14. Repeat this looping process, with beads in between each set, until you’ve reached a length possible to fit the crown of your head.
15. Finish off by wrapping end wires around core of crown. Make loops if desired, for head pins.