Hope to make a great gift for your mother on her birthday or Mother’s Day? Looking to avoid paying highway robbery prices on trendy boutique earrings when enthralled while window shopping? Want to look en vogue without committing your entire paycheck?
Well, good news. This fantastically easy project, won’t break the bank and will upgrade your style.
It’s perfect for all ages and ability levels. And if you like the tutorial, you can make an entire collection. This type of simple craft project you can do right at home, either relaxing on your own or crafting with friends (and optional but recommended: wine).
Beaded hoop earrings are cute, stylish and fun, and this step-by-step guide will detail how to make them with ease, even if you’re a novice jeweler. And once you’ve started, you will want to revisit this project; gifting it is as rewarding as making it.
Hoop Earring Tools and Supplies
If you’re already a jewelry or DIY hobbyist, chances are good you have many of these supplies already. However, it’s smart to check the list thoroughly and buy anything you might need before beginning. Who wants to pause when you’ve got your creative juices flowing?
It’s important you get a good pair of jewelry cutters. While wire cutters from your toolbox will also do the trick, don’t rely on scissors. For one thing, you will dull your scissors hopelessly, which will make it more difficult to use them for other applications. For another, scissors don’t leave a clean edge, which is critical for making your earrings look nice. Make sure to buy a dedicated tool for this project so you can make straight cuts.
PRO TIP: Make sure to buy jewelry cutters that work for the gauge (thickness) of wire you plan to use. You don’t want to spend your time hacking through too-large wire with too-small cutters, and it will also cheapen the look of your finished product.
You’ll also want jewelry pliers. These allow you to bend the wire to very small angles, which is another necessity for making earrings that look nice and professional.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can sub in cutters for pliers. While the cutters will do in a pinch to bend wire – assuming you don’t place much pressure – they’re not well suited to the task. It doesn’t cost much to purchase both tools, and it really is worth having them. In the end, it will save you lots of money in wasted supplies.
You can find your beads at a store, order them onlin, or even collect natural things yourself. Many plant seeds and small shells make amazing supplies! Check out a starter kit if you want small seed beads, or shop around for beautiful spotlight options like these Czech glass seed beads.
PRO TIP: Not sure about color combos? Try a color palette generator to give you ideas on cool, trending combos that can help you choose your wire and beads.
Want to go extra fancy? You might buy yourself a few inexpensive or even more spendy gems. These, like diamonds, can be sold by carat weight, so go to a jeweler or a high-end bead store if you want a statement piece. However, when you buy small beads, you can usually get natural stones for a very reasonable price, like these garnets.
These come in pairs and are instrumental to making earrings. Although you can opt to make hooks yourself, it’s easy and cost-effective to purchase them from craft or bead shops. Again, waiting for sales can make a difference. Silver and gold are two of the most popular options, but you can find these in almost every color of the rainbow if you know where to look!
Gold and silver, copper and pewter, your hoops can come in a range of colors. Most people try to match them to the earring hoops, though that’s optional. Color shouldn’t make a huge difference to price, so just go with what you like best.
Hoops come in a variety of styles, but the most common one – and the easiest to use – is a simple round hoop with a circle at one end and an angled piece of wire at the other that fits through the circle. If you google “jewelry making hoops,” these will pop up immediately. You can also find good options here and here.
The last ingredient you’ll need to make your own beaded hook earrings is wire. Try to match your wire color and thickness – referred to properly as gauge – to the thickness of the hoops and hooks, which will give your finished product a nice, regular look.
Jewelry wire is available in every color and thickness you can imagine as well, and shopping online will give you even more options than a craft store. However, if you want the traditional metallic colors, you’ll have good luck walking into a physical location where you can handle every option and pick them out yourself.
PRO TIP: Buying coordinating materials online can make your job easier. For instance, you might enjoy a 200-piece earring kit that contains both hoops, hooks and other shapes for beading.
Basic Beaded Hoop Earrings Step by Step
Okay, you’ve got all your supplies. Ready to create your own earrings and discover your own style? Here’s the step by step approach to help you do just that.
1. Read Through the Tutorial
It’s much easier to complete each of the following items if you first read through the entire piece. While it’s tempting to just get started on the project for which you’re excited, how you execute many of the initial steps will depend on your choices for later steps.
Reading all the way through will help you make a plan in your head that maximizes your chances of success and your pleasure in the final product.
2. Set Out Your Supplies
Everyone who’s ever made a cake, only to discover halfway through mixing the batter that they don’t have enough eggs, knows that you should always set out all your ingredients before getting started. The same is true for jewelry-making. Though relatively simple, it’s nevertheless a fiddly pastime with a lot of moving parts. Therefore, you want to make sure you have everything you need before starting.
Clear off a large workspace, whether that’s on your desk, the dining room table or a bar. Place all your bulk supplies to the side opposite of your dominant hand, so that your working hand will have plenty of room to move without knocking into your supplies. Then, lay out in front of you the specific supplies you will need for one pair of earrings, including:
- Your cutters and pliers
- Hooks and hoops
- A small number of beads
It can help to place the beads with which you’re planning to work in a small tray with compartments. If you plan to make necklaces and bracelets as well, a professional bead tray might be for you. Either way, make sure you can physically lay eyes on the exact supplies you’re going to use before you begin work.
PRO TIP: Make sure you have enough materials for both earrings. It’s not great to finish a beaded hoop earring that you love and realize … oops! You don’t have enough to make a matching set. If you want to avoid an unwelcome stop at Disappointment Station, place out all your materials for both earrings ahead of time.
3. Measure Twice, Cut Once
This tried-and-true advice (from woodworking this time) is just as applicable to a post or tutorial about how to create beaded hoop earrings as it is to a craftsman cabinet. Why? Because just like a nice piece of maple, wire and beads cost money, and you want to get it right. Of course, this applies to more than cutting … it also applies to planning.
Remember that if you’re following a pattern you should line up the colors you’re using ahead of time. Once you join the wire to your jewelry pieces, it’s harder to change your pieces. Instead, before you cut wire or string beads, work out your ideas in advance like any good designer. That way, you won’t find later that you’re out of a specific color, which can be really disappointing.
More specifically, you should:
- Match up your beads to the length of the wire, whether you’re stringing beads across the middle of the circle or around the outside of the hoop. Make sure you have enough of the color or style of beads you want to use before committing to a particular pattern. You may have to guess, so opt for more rather than less. If you’re not doing a pattern or a color-blocked approach, this is easier, but size still matters so take your time.
- Measure your pieces of wire (twice!) and snip them carefully with jewelry scissors. If you are stringing beads around the outside of your prefabricated hoops, you will not need to clip your own wire. However, if you’re stringing them across (see below), you’ll need to snip it. Again, keep reading to see how it works before you cut your wire.
4. String Beads on Wire
Okay, this is where it gets a little bit tricky. If you need to read through this section a few times to understand, that’s totally fine. Taking notes or sketching out ideas as you read through this section is also a good idea. It really helps with the whole measure-twice-cut-once thing too!
Now, keep in mind that there are two basic styles for beaded hoop earrings. The first is to string the beads right along the hoop itself, so that you have a single line of beads following the curve of the circle. This is a great style if you like dangling sequins such as this, which won’t fit well into the other style.
The second style is to use wire to go across the hoop, so that you fill in the lower area of the circle. You can decide how high to fill the earrings, with some people opting for just a few rows of beads (say, three to five) and others filling the inner area of the hoop entirely with rows of lovely beads.
This creates an appealing design wherein you can see through part of the hoop, but the lower half is obscured. Another variation on this design is to string wire with beads across the middle of the hoop, leaving the lower and upper parts of the circle unobstructed.
It’s up to you. Accordingly, we’ll look first at one approach and then at the other.
Style No. 1: Beads Around the Edge
This style is quite simple and takes less explanation than the other, so it is a good one for beginners. If you are just starting out, you might try this one before attempting the second approach. The steps are as follows:
- Gently open your hoop. Never open the hoop by pulling one end of the circle directly away from the other. Not only will this ruin the angle of the circle, it weakens the wire. Overall, the effect will be lessened. Instead, twist the hoop carefully open by moving the edges away from one another laterally, so that the space between them stretches perpendicularly to the direction of the wire. If you are using a smaller hoop, it’s a good idea to use your jewelry pliers for this step.
- String beads on your hoop. If you are using sequins, place them every few beads so they have the space to show off. You can fill the entire hoop with beads, just leaving enough space to close the hoop. Alternatively, you can only fill part of the hoop, letting the brightness of the wire show.
- Gently close the hoop the same way you opened it. Slot the circle of the hoop over the top of the angled wire.
- Attach the earring hook. Place the circle at the bottom of the earring hook near the angled piece of wire at the top of your hoop. Using your jewelry pliers, bend the angled piece of wire over and through the circle at the bottom of the earring hook. Twist it all the way through and tuck it under, forming a neat circle that attaches hoop to hook. You’re done!
- Make another earring to match the first.
PRO TIP: If you noticed that this type of beaded earring uses no wire, you’re correct! There is no missing step, it’s just not necessary because the hoop itself substitutes for any wire you might need.
Style No. 2: Beads Across the Hoop
This style is a little bit trickier, but relies on many of the same tricks as above. Again, read through before starting:
- Leave the hoop closed, with the angled wire tucked into the circle to keep the shape taut.
- Measure a piece of wire across the bottom of the hoop or wherever you want to start your line of beads on the bottom end. Account for an extra eighth inch on either side.
- Smooth out the wire so it is straight, then make a small curve on one end.
- Fit this curve around the hoop, twisting a full turn around the hoop and ending on the outside. Leave the little “tail” in place for now.
- String beads along the wire until you reach the other edge of the hoop.
- Twist the wire around that end as well, pulling it taught and leaving the tail on the outside again.
- Snip off both tails.
- Repeat with another line of beads flush against the first, and so on until you have as many rows as you want.
- Attach the earring hook as above.
PRO TIP: Using beads of different colors, sizes and materials lends a wonderfully organic look to these earrings that keeps them from appearing factory-made. Which of course, they are not!
5. Snip Off Loose Ends
A professional approach requires that you tidy up all the loose ends you’ve created. That’s the difference-maker between an accessory or gift that looks homemade and one that looks as though you could have bought it at a high-end boutique.
Carefully go around the earring, looking for pieces of wire that are sticking out. This is especially important if you use Style No. 2 for making your beaded earrings, but also applies to Style No. 1 when attaching the hook.
6. Wrap for Gifting
Giving this to a mom, girlfriend or someone else? Then you want to make your earrings look special. Here are a few wrapping ideas:
- Jewelry bags that show off the finished product through a beautiful sheen of gauze
- Paper jewelry boxes
- Personalized jewelry sliders perfect for earrings
If you’re trying to make a business out of jewelry-making, make sure to add a custom stamp and business card so people can find your products again.
And that’s it!
I hope you learned something new from this tutorial! This is a fantastic first beading project for someone new to the craft or an easy way to add a dash of personal style to your wardrobe. Have fun with it, enjoy experimenting with your new project, and wear your art well into the future.