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Making Headpins from Wire

by Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Designer and Instructor
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®
A72X

Sterling silver and copper wire can be fashioned into headpins finished with different patterns on the ends: spiral, diamond, pretzel and a hammered paddle.

Spiralled Headpin

STEP 1
Using flush-cutters, cut a 3-inch length of 20-gauge wire. Using the tip of the round-nose pliers, form a small loop on one end of the wire.
STEP 2
Grip across the loop using the chain-nose pliers, then turn the small loop into a spiral.

Plan to make a spiral with 3 rounds of the wire.
STEP 3
Using the tip of the chain-nose pliers, grip the wire just above the spiral and bend the wire slightly so the spiral is centered on its stem.

Diamond-Shaped Headpin

STEP 1
This geometric style uses the width of a pair of flat-nose pliers to create consistent angles.

Mark your flat-nose pliers with a permanent marker so that you will place the wire at the same spot each time you create an angle.
STEP 2
Using flush-cutters, cut a 3-inch length of 20-gauge wire. This length allows for about 1-inch of wire to be allocated to the angular shape and then to have a sizeable stem--adjust as your design needs dictate.

Place the wire end in the pliers and make a sharp bend.
STEP 3
Reposition the wire for the next sharp bend, repeating this process until the wire meets itself.
STEP 4
Using the tip of the chain-nose pliers, grip the wire just above the diamond and bend the wire slightly so the diamond is centered on its stem.
STEP 5
Trim where the wire crosses itself. Place the wire on the bench block then, using the ball peen hammer, hammer the diamond lightly to set the shape.

Pretzel-Shaped Headpin

STEP 1
This one's a lot of fun to make using your round-nose pliers.

Mark a place on the jaw of your round-nose pliers. Each of the 3 circles will be formed at this mark for consistency.
STEP 2
Using flush-cutters, cut a 3-inch length of 20-gauge wire. This length will allow a fair amount of wire for the circles.
STEP 3
Place the end of the wire at the mark on the round-nose pliers. Begin a turn.
STEP 4
Complete the circle. This is the center circle of the pretzel shape. Center the circle on the stem of the wire with chain-nose pliers.

Form another circle on one side of the center circle.

Repeat for the third and last circle on the other side of the center circle.
STEP 5
Cross the working wire over the straight stem of the wire and trim the excess. Place the wire on the bench block then, using the ball peen hammer, hammer the pretzel to set the shape.

Paddle Headpin

STEP 1
Using flush-cutters, cut a 2-inch length of 18-gauge sterling silver wire. Place a mark 3/8 inch from the tip of the wire.
STEP 2
Place the wire on the bench block then, using the flat side of the ball peen hammer, begin to hammer and broaden the end of the wire, working up to the 3/8 inch mark

Note: As you hammer make certain the end of the wire it is broader than the wire above.
STEP 3
Use a flat or barrette needle file to file the paddle shape smooth and uniform to any other paddles you may make.

Use a polishing cloth to shine up the surface of the silver paddle.

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