Snail Trail Spiral Earrings
Skill Level: Intermediate
Technique: Shaping and Weaving Wire
These photos in these directions are for the earrings directly above, with the green dangles. Leave out the dangles and substitute a gemstone donut style bead like the 15mm white Mother of Pearl or the 20mm pink Mother of Pearl bead for a different look.
To best understand this pattern, please read through the directions before starting to make these earrings!
- Slide a rondelle bead and then a rectangular bead onto the headpin. Make a small wire wrapped loop at the top of the bead. Open a jump ring and slide the wire wrapped loop onto the jump ring. Close the jump ring. Repeat the process to make the other dangle. Set aside.
- Working from the spool, straighten about 3" of 18-gauge square or 16-gauge round wire. Wind it 2½ times around the largest step of the 6-step pliers, or a 3/8" mandrel. Cut the coil into two rings, flush cutting both ends.
- Hammer each ring flat. Try to make sure that both hammered rings are the same size. The rings spread out and get larger as you hammer them, so you will have to reshape them when you are done. Set aside.
- Working from the spool, make a full two spiral coils using 18-gauge round wire.
- Optional: If you are using a donut style bead instead of making your own inner ring, find a mandrel that is just a bit smaller than the bead. Shown here is the ½" mandrel on top of the hammered ring.
Wrap the wire around the mandrel 1½ times, then cut the wire. Repeat the process, going in the opposite direction to make a mirror image piece. Open the rings up a bit.
- Note: The directions from here on are for one earring. Repeat going in the opposite direction for the other earring.
Straighten and cut a piece of 24-gauge wire that is 14-15" long.
Note: If you are using a donut style bead, it will be thicker and the hole will be smaller than the metal ring so you will need more wrap wire. 22" of 24-gauge wire was used to wrap each of the white Mother of Pearl earrings shown at the bottom of this pattern, and 32" was needed for the 20mm pink Mother of Pearl pendant version. Cut a little more wire than you expect to use.
- Open the spiral coil wire up a bit. Make three wraps around the spiral coil wire close to the spiral. Wrap from the inside, over the top, and to the outside of the framework. Always come up from the back into the center of the coil.
Note: The wire tail will help hold the wrap wire in place while you make the next few wraps.
- Insert the hammered metal ring into the spiral coil. Place the wire ring seam under the spiral coil.
Note: The outer wire does not need to fit tightly around the ring, because you will need to be able to wrap between them. The wrapping process will bring the outer wire back in closer to the ring as you work, so it is OK to open it up as much as you need to make wrapping easier.
Note: If you are using a donut style bead, make sure that the wrapped spiral coil wire will cover the drilled stringing holes in the bead when you are done.
- Bring the wrap wire up through the center of the ring. Pull the wrap wire tightly to the outside of the outer wire and then down and to the back of the unit. Wrap around the outer wire 5 times. Then go through the center of the ring again. Do 5 more outer wraps, a ring wrap, and then two outer wraps. During this process, keep pushing the wraps toward the coil if you need to, keeping the ring seam under the coil spiral.
- Slide the dangle on. If there is a front to your dangle, make sure the dangle hangs correctly before continuing. Make two more outer wraps.
- Make a ring wrap and 5 more outer wraps. Continue in this manner until you have a total of 8 ring wrap and outer wrap sections.
Note: There are 10 sections before the last set of wraps on the Mother of Pearl earrings and 15 sections on the pink Mother of Pearl pendant.
Make 1 more ring wrap and 3 outer wraps. Bend the coil in over the seam in the inner ring.
- Because there is no way of telling exactly how large your inner ring will be, the outer wire was cut longer than needed. Use the larger of the two outer sections of your 6-step pliers to coil the wire tail.
Note: You can also use round nose pliers.
Cut the tail off where the wires overlap. Tighten the loop down if needed.
- Make sure that the wrap wires are pulled to the back of the unit. Trim them off and use chain nose pliers to tighten them down. Attach an ear wire to the loop.
- Repeat Steps 6 through 14 for the other earring.
You've finished! Now experiment with variations, like the donut beads shown below. Enjoy!
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