Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tutorial: DIY Wire Wrap Pearl Post Earrings

Lately I have been working on more and more wire-wrapped jewelry designs.  On my previous post Wire-wrapped Gemstone Pendants I showed you blue apatite gemstones that I wire-wrapped.  And if you read my More Wire-wrapped Jewelry post you saw some briolettes and earrings that I wire-wrapped.

This week I decided to try making wire post and pearl stud earrings.  I don't make many post style earrings, I guess because I find that fish-hook earrings seem to be overall more popular.  But then there is nothing more classic than a simple pearl post earring.  Now these earrings have a slight twist to the simple classic stud earring.  A long strand of wire is used to make the post and is then wire-wrapped around the pearl so as to frame it.

After I made a few of these I decided to share a tutorial on how I made them.  But first I should share some tutorials written by others that helped show me how to make this design:

Okay, let's make a pair of earrings!

1.  First gather your tools and supplies:

  • Flat nose pliers.
  • Wire cutters.
  • Bead reamer (in case you need to enlarge the bead hole.)
  • Jewelry file.
  • Ruler.
  • Rubber mallet.
  • Bench block and sandbag.

  • Two pearls (or beads of your choice) - I used 8mm Swarovski crystal pearls.
  • Sterling silver dead soft wire 20 gauge - or wire of your choosing.

 I have found that I like dead soft wire better for this technique but you can also use half hard.  The dead soft is much easier to work with but it will require a bit more "work hardening" with the hammer - which will be shown later in this post.

2.  Next see if your wire will pass through the hole in your bead.  If it will not use your bead reamer to open the hole up a bit.

3.  Now use your wire cutters to cut two 4-inch lengths of wire.

Be sure to use the flush cutters for cutting the end of wire that will be used for the post.  My wire cutters have one side that is for flush cutting and one side that is for side cutting.  For the longest time I did not understand the difference in the two types of cuts, so let me explain it in case you are in the same boat as I was.

Flush cutters will cut the wire so that there is a flat edge on the tip of the wire.  Side cutters will make an angled point.  The pictures below shows both sides of my wire cutter.  The first picture shows the flush cutting side - you can see it has a flat edge.  The second photo shows the angle or side cutter side.

Flush cutter

Side or angle cutter
Here is a side by side comparison of two wires - one cut with the flush cutter and the other with the side/angle cutter.  See how flat the one on the left is - it was cut with the flush cutter.  And the one on the right is pointed because it was cut with the side cutter.  You want to use the flush cutter to make a flat edge on the post that will be going through your ear so as not to tear the skin.

4.  Next you will want to file the flush cut ends with your jewelry file to smooth off the edges.  I like to smooth it even more by pushing it back and forth a few times through a piece of steel wool.  In the pictures below, I am filing and smoothing both pieces of wire at the same time for my pair of earrings - this just saves time.  Again you are filing and smoothing the flush cut ends of your wire.

File your flush cut ends with a jewelry file

Push the wire through steel wool a few times for extra smoothness

5.  Next you will want to bend your wire at a 90 degree angle using your flat nose pliers - do this about 3/4 to one inch from the end of your flush cut end - this is going to become your post.

I go ahead and do this for both pieces of wire so I have two pieces of wire like this:

6.  Now thread your bead onto the longer side of your wire.

7.  Then take the short end of your wire and and bend it over the bead:

7.  Using your flat nose pliers, grasp the short end of the wire about the middle of the bead, then bend the wire at a 90 degree angle away from the bead:

Here is what your wire and bead should now look like:

8.  Next you take the long end of your wire and wrap it around the bead two times - some people wrap up to three times - it is a matter of personal preference - just be sure to cut a longer piece of wire if you want more wraps.

9.  To finish your earring use your rubber mallet and bench block, hammer the post part of the wire to harden it and make it less malleable.

Do this for both earrings, and voila ... here is your finished pair of pearl stud earrings!

And here is another pair I made with 14K rose gold wire and Swarovski crystal pearls also in Rose Gold:

I hope this tutorial has been helpful.  I would love to share some of your designs.  Submit them to me at along with your name, email and a link to your website if you like.  I will be happy to share them!


  1. Pearl stud earrings are always a symbol of class and elegance. As they say, you can never go wrong with pearls. It’s nice how people like you have been able to give a new take on those classic pieces of jewelry. You make it sound so easy to make as well. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing! :D
    Dann Hires @ MCCartys Jewelry

    1. Thanks so much Dann. Glad you liked the tutorial!