What to do with those beautiful and really popular Handmade Glass Headpins the Lampwork Artists have been making lately?
I love making earring with mine……here is what I do.
Making earrings “at the same” as much as possible is key to them being a nice match.
So, lightly grasp (don’t dent the wire) both earwires at the length you want – remember to add in the length of your earwires. Bend the wires over tool to make nice “u” shaped bend.
Now that you have established the length, you can work with each one independent of the other. So, remove one from the tool and set aside. Again – holding the wire very lightly so as to avoid denting the top, pull the wire around to create a loop.
Now, grab your chainnose pliers and hold firmly across the loop. With the other hand, take the loose end of the wire and wrap around the other wire working downward toward the glass – as shown in the photo on the right.
If your loop went a little wonky like mine, straighten it up by grabbing the back of it with the chainnose pliers and gently pulling back. Note……I am taking a photo with my left hand – when rolling backward with the loop have a firm grasp on the long wire entwined shaft.
Here are a couple examples of different versions – in the first one I added a little decorative bead before creating the loop. The other piece is sterling – I added a pretty cap on that one.
You are probably wondering why the long tail…….there are many things you can do with it. One….just trim it close and file if necessary to make it smooth. You could create a little coil or twistie using your roundnose pliers.
Being a lampwork glass artist I obviously love fire. 🙂 I love using metalsmith techniques whenever I can in my finished jewelry so I like to ball up the end as if you were making a headpin. If you don’t know how to make a headpin with a ball on the end….now you will. Carefully hold the earring with a long tweezers and slowly lower the end of the wire into the flame. As shown in the first picture…..make sure the wire you are melting is hanging downward so the wire will melt into a drop that is in a straight line with the wire. If you hold it at an angle the drop will be crooked. This process is rather magical to me…..the metal looks like it is traveling upward as it melts. As soon as you see a ball form quickly remove it from the flame – still keeping everything in a straight line while the metal cools. Do NOT quench this in water to cool. If you are already familiar with metalsmithing techniques you will know that a quick way to cool metal is to drop it into water. However, you have a glass bead connected here that may have become rather hot…..quenching in water will cause the glass to crack. Instead of quenching, just lay the piece on a firebrick or some other flame/heat resistant surface to cool naturally.
Once cooled, take the newly balled up end and continue coiling it around to complete the design. The black residue formed on the copper from being in the flame can be removed by soaking for a few minutes in a pickle solution. Rinse and tumble for about 20 minutes in your stainless steel shot filled tumbler. There you go….a sweet earring made from a glass headpin.