Crafting earrings for next Christmas: Getting a start now

It's never too early to start making your gifts for next Christmas. So let the Christmas tree be your inspiration. Photo: Mario Salazar

MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., January 27, 2012 — We had a wonderful holiday season in 2011 with our family and friends. My wife and I had decided to give every female that came to our home something that we made. We came up with these easy holiday tree earrings and they were a hit.

Since I made so many pairs and became quite adept at making them, I decided to share them with my readers. Not the earrings but how to make them; remember the old adage, “Give a man a fish….” Plus it’s never too earlier to start making gifts for next Christmas.

My wife and I have been making jewelry for a couple of years and have taken a number of classes in metal smithing, silver fusing and enameling. I found the idea for the earrings in the monthly Jewelry Artist and adapted them for the occasion.

My version is fairly simple to make and I think it has great appeal. There is no soldering and regular beading tools is all you need to make them. I will definitely include this item in my website now in development.

Christmas tree earrings

The materials needed are:

* 18 gage sterling (92.6% silver) or fine (99.2% silver) silver wire, 2 pieces each 6” long;

* Small, about 3/16” red and green spherical beads with an 18 gauge hole or slightly bigger, 3 red and 3 green.

The tools needed are:

* Round nose, rosary or chain pliers;

* Flat steel rule at least 6” long;

* Planning or regular hammer;

* Regular pencil to make the ear wires;

* Wire cutters;

* Optional: Tumbler or raw hide or rubber hammer, if you have one.

Procedure: (Don’t worry; there is a video at the bottom that will show you how to do this part.)

* Cut 6” of the wire for each earring;

* Mark the pliers 1/16” from the end;

* Mark the wire 1 1/8” from one end;

* Grab the wire with the pliers at the 1 1/8” mark. The wire should be horizontal and the pliers perpendicular;

* Bend the long end of the wire down at the mark 90 degrees. The wire now should look like a upside down L;

* Move the pliers to other side of the bend (the long side). Hold the axis of the pliers vertical;

* Bend the wire 180 degrees to the right by folding the wire under the pliers;

* Thread a green bead to the bend;

* Move the pliers to the other side of the bead and holding the jaws of the pliers vertical bend the wire 180 degrees to the left;

* Move the pliers down the wire to a place below the first bend and rotate the wire 180 degrees to the right;

* Thread a red bead to the bend;

Snowlady with earrings

* Place the pliers on the wire just below the last bend holding its axis vertical and bend the wire 180 degrees to the left;

* Place the pliers below the last bend and bend the wire 180 degrees to the right;

* Thread a green bead;

* Move the pliers to just below the last bend and bend the wire 180 degrees to the left;

* Move the pliers to the left of the central axis of the tree and bend the wire 90 degree down. The earring should know look like the outline of a symmetrical tree with the “branches” parallel to each other (and bigger as you go down to the bottom) and a straight piece of wire going straight up and another straight down;

* Bend the bottom straight piece on itself 180 degrees so that one piece is right next to the other. Trim if necessary (Note that you may not have enough wire to bend on itself, don’t worry just let the small piece as is);

* Hammer the small piece in the bottom flat with a hammer;

* Place a pencil just above the top of the tree and behind it. Fold the top straight piece around the pencil until the end is parallel with the back of the tree;

* Place the pliers at the end of the fold you just made and bend the tip about 30 degrees away from the tree (beaders should know how to do this as it is just the ear wire);

* The final touch may not be possible for all as it involves using a tumbler for about 20 minutes. This makes the earrings harder, which is more important if you are using fine silver. Carefully hitting the wire with a raw hide or rubber hammer may help harden it some.

For the complementary earring you should reverse the order of the beads. Start with a red bead, then a green one and then the second red bead. I estimate that it should take you about 20 to 25 minutes to make each pair.

Total cost? Less than $5 per pair.

Enjoy making the earrings, giving them as a gift, or keeping them for yourself.

Below you will find a video I made to help with the earrings.

Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is a bleeding heart liberal, agnostic, exercise fanatic, Redskin fan, technophile, civil engineer, combat infantry veteran, jewelry maker, amateur computer programmer, environmental engineer, Colombian-born, free thinker, and, not surprisingly, pacifist. You can find his articles - ranging from politics to cooking a mean brisket – in 21st Century Pacifist <http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/21st-century-pacifist/> at The Washington Times Communities. Follow Mario on Twitter @chibcharus #TWTC and Facebook at Mario Salazar.


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Mario Salazar

Mario Salazar is a combat infantry Vietnam Vet, world traveler, renaissance reconnaissance man, pacifist, metal smith, glass artisan, computer programmer and he has a Master of Science in Civil/Environmental Engineering.  Now retired from the Environmental Protection Agency and living in Montgomery County, Mario will share with you his life, his thoughts, his musing on living in yet another century of change.  He will also try to convey his joy of being old.

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