August 18, 2018

Teardrop Wire Frame with Coil Decoration Earring Tutorial

I made these earrings a while ago, but they are still a favorite of mine. They are perfect for everyday wear, and if you experiment, you'll find they look terrific when you vary the metals - gold filled or brass coils on a silver frame, silver on a copper frame, etc.

Wire Teardrop Earring Free Tutorial

Once you have the basic technique down, the size can easily be altered to make them larger or smaller. You can also follow the instructions here to make the wire teardrop frames without the coils. These are useful as beading frames for projects like these earrings with brick stitch inside the frame

Wire Teardrop Frame with Brick Stitch Earring Free Tutorial


or these teardrop mosaic bead earrings.

Wire Teardrop Frame with Mosaic of Gemstone Beads Free Tutorial

I also created a video on how to make the wire frames. Scroll to the end of the post to watch. I recommend you click on the video where it says YouTube and watch it there. It is much larger and easier to see.

To make these earrings, you will learn some basic wire wrap techniques, such as how to shape wire around a mandrel, how to make a simple loop and how to make a wire coil. The materials needed are 8 inches of 18g wire for the earrings frame, two pieces of 22g wire, 16 inches long for the coil and a pair of french style ear wires.

Use whatever type of wire you prefer - but copper is great if you are just getting started with wire jewelry making or want to make a practice pair.

You will need the basic wire wrap tools of flat nose pliers, round nose pliers and wire cutters. You will also need a round mandrel to make the teardrop shape and a scrap piece of straight 18g wire about 5 inches long to make the wire coil.  My favorite mandrels is this set of plastic step mandrels by Beadsmith. They are inexpensive and work for soooo many things.


The first step is to make the wire earring frames.  Cut two pieces of 18g wire each four inches long. File the wire ends so they are smooth using a file or emory board.

Bend the wire around a circular mandrel to make a teardrop shape. I use one of these stepped plastic mandrels from BeadSmith, but any round smooth item that you can wrap around and then remove the wire from will work (nail polish bottles, thick magic markers, etc.)

Making a Wire Teardrop Frame for Beading - Tutorial

Bend the wire around the mandrel until the two ends overlap slightly.


You only want to shape the middle section of the wire with a curve. The end pieces will remain straight. If you can't cross the wires without rounding more than half of the wire, your mandrel is too large and you need to find something smaller.

When you remove the wire frame from the mandrel, it should look something like the frame below. The wires can cross over each other more, but you should have a curve at the bottom center of the wire and two pieces of straight wire of equal length on either side.

Free Tutorial - Making a Wire Teardrop Frame for Beading

Repeat these steps to make a second matching frame.

To make a wire coil, wrap the 22g wire around the scrap piece of 18g wire. The 18g wire needs to be longer than you want your coil to be and needs to be free of any bends or kinks. This is so you will be able to slide the coil off of the wire when you are done.

Hold the 22g wire next to the 18g mandrel, and begin wrapping the wire around the 18g mandrel wire. Go slowly, and try to make each wrap directly next to the one before it to make a neat coil.

If you notice a space, you can use your fingers or a plier to push the coil closer together.

Free Tutorial - Making a Wire Teardrop Frame for Beading

Once your coil is complete, carefully slide it off the mandrel and slide it onto the earring frame. You need to be very gentle or you can end up bending the coil or frame out of shape. If the coil gets stuck, give it a little wiggle or spin and it usually slide on easily.

Free Tutorial - Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil

Repeat the steps to make a coil and add it to the second frame. Slide the coil so it goes around the curve at the center of the earring frame.

Free Tutorial - Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil

Use your flush cutters to trim the tail ends of the wire from the coil. I wait to do this until the coil is on the frame because it gives me a small area to help grip the coil and slide it into place. I also like to trim it so the cut edges are on the back or inside of the wire frame to make them less visible.

Free Tutorial - Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil


 Cross one side of the wire frame over the other. Use you chain nose plier to fold the wire end over the other wire as shown in the picture. The small wire hook will hold the frame closed. It doesn't need to be large, just big enough to hold the frame closed.

Repeat with the second earring.


Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil - Free Tutorial

 This is the front view of the earring frame after bending the one wire down. The only thing left to do is to add a loop to hang the earring and an earwire.

Free Tutorial - Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil

This picture shows the two earring frames. What you may not notice immediately is that they are mirror images, instead of exactly the same. If they were exactly the same, both would use the wire on the right side to secure the frame and the wire from the left to make the loop.

Making mirror image earrings generally look more even when worn - but take a little more planning.


Grasp the wire end with your round nose pliers and make a simple loop towards the top of the wire. You want the loop to be at the top center of the wire, not turning down under the area where the frame is joined.

Free Tutorial - Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil

When you are done adding the loops, your frames should look similar to this picture. If your loops go in the same direction or the overlap is in the same direction, don't worry.  No one will probably notice but you.

Open the wire loop on an earwire and slide on the earring frame.  Make sure the area where the wire overlaps the frame is facing to the back.

Free Tutorial - Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil

Your earrings are complete! You can change these earrings in a variety of ways.  Make shorter or longer coils, stretch out the coils to make it longer, use a different color metal for the coils. These look great with a mixture of silver and gold or other colors of wire.

Free Tutorial - Making Wire Teardrop Earrings with Coil

Or just make the teardrop shaped frames to use for beading or other projects.

One last step is to either lightly hammer or tumble the frames to harden them. If you don't want the coils to flatten, you can use a jeweler's rawhide mallet instead of a regular jewelry  hammer.  I use a rock tumbler from Harbor Freight with stainless steel shot half full with water and a drop or two of dishwashing liquid.  I will tumble most items for about an hour.

Here is a YouTube video on how to make a single wire frame for earrings or a pendant.



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3 comments:

  1. An excellent tutorial, thank you! I've been struggling with uniform earring frames and this will help a lot :) Also, I'm glad you mentioned the mosaic earrings - I have overlooked this tute but it's a great one, too!

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  2. Love it! thanks for sharing!! :)

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  3. Thank you for dropping by - I love your wire work and tutorials! For those that don't know, Anacely has amazing wire and bead tutorials at www.fradany.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete