How to Make a Pair of Silver Hoopscomments (5) October 13th, 2008
I was getting dressed today and realized what I needed was a fierce pair of silver hoops. With the gross amount of jewelry I own, it’s a little kookaloo that I don’t have Tyra Banks-worthy hoops. So I set about to rectify that. With just some wire and a few tools, I turned out a gorgeous pair in about half an hour. At this rate, all my holiday gifts for women with pierced ears can be done in a day.
|These gorgeous hoops can be whipped up for you and your friends in less than half an hour. Seriously.
- approximately 15 inches of 18-gauge half-hard sterling silver wire
- makeshift mandrel (I used a vitamin bottle)
- wire cutters
- chain-nose pliers
- round-nose pliers
- metal file
- chasing hammer
- bench block or anvil
Step 1: Wrap your wire around your “mandrel” (find a round item that is slightly smaller than the circumference that you want your hoops to be; I used a vitamin bottle, but a prescription bottle would work great for smaller hoops). Slightly overlap the wire by 1/2 inch and clip your wire with cutters.
|Look around the house for a cylinder that can serve as a mandrel for your hoops.|
Step 2: On one end of your wire, bend the wire 1/4 inch from the end at a 90-degree angle but to the side with your chain-nose pliers. Using your round-nose pliers, create a hoop so that the end looks like an eyepin finding.
|Using pliers, make a loop that resembles an eyepin.
Step 3: With your metal file, file the edges of the other end of your wire so there are no sharp edges. This is the end that will go through the ear, after all. Now bend the wire 1/4 inch from the end at a 90-degree angle. Hook this end through the eye on the other end. You have a hoop!
|File down any rough edges on the end that will slip through your lobe.|
Step 4: But the fun doesn’t stop here. Lay your hoop on a bench block or anvil, and using the flat end of a chasing hammer, pound and flatten the wire on the bottom of the hoop, hammering slightly less as you move up the hoop toward the ends. Stop your hammering about one inch from the top. If necessary, polish with a silver cloth. Repeat for the other earring and you’re done!
|Hammer the hoop starting from the bottom and stopping at least one inch from the ends.|
|Make hoops large or small, depending on your recipient's style.|
For a variation on a theme, wire-wrap a small bead or several beads onto your hoop so that it swings elegantly from the bottom of the hoop. You could add someone’s birthstone or favorite semiprecious stone to really personalize a gift. This works better on smaller hoops; with a big hoop, you might wind up with a shoulder duster if beads are added.
And while not necessary, if you have a tumbler, popping your hoops in it for an hour can further polish and harden them.