Making your own earring posts is a simple way to start making your own jewelry. It’s easy to make a lot of them so you’ll have them on hand when you’re ready to put together all the parts of your designs to make your own stud earrings. Here’s a two-step guide on how to make earring backs to help you get started making earrings.
Here’s how to make hand-made earring backs:
Step 1: How to make silver wire earring posts
- Silver wire (0.8mm gauge)
- Wire cutters
- Snipe nose pliers
- Flat file
- Jewelers saw
- Three needle square files
- Getting ready to use silver wire
Using your wire cutters, cut a 14mm piece of 0.8mm gauge wire. At this point, you can cut more than one earring post to save time when you want to make a lot of stud earrings.
As you work with the silver wire, you might notice that it bends a little. If this happens, you can gently flatten and straighten out the wire with your snipe-nose pliers. Try not to put too much pressure on the wire. Instead of flattening it, you want to guide it back into a straight post.
Now, take your flat file and use a flat, forward motion to file the end of the wire that you just cut. This will leave you with a flush end that you can solder to your stud earring design. To finish this process and make sure the end you’re going to solder is completely flat and flush, use a little emery paper.
Tip: When working with such small jewelry parts, you might want to hold the earring post steady as you file. One easy way to do this is to use a small notch in your bench peg to hold the earring post still while you file. Remember that you only need to use light pressure, as too much force could shorten the earring post.
To the point of filing
Once you have flattened the end of the earring post, you can gently file the other end of the silver wire into a point. With your flat file, file the end in a forward direction to make it pointy. Turn the earring post around a full circle to make sure you filed the end of the post evenly all the way around. Once you’re happy with how pointed the end is, file the very tip of the point to make it a little less sharp. You don’t want your earring posts to be too sharp! Finish with emery to make sure there are no snags left.
Add a small indentation that will help the earring click back into place. To do this, put the post of your earring on the peg of your bench. Set your saw blade about 3mm away from the pointy end of your earring post and, using very little force, start to move it forward across this point of the post. (Move your saw in a forward direction so that the teeth don’t cut.)
Use this forward motion to turn the post as you saw. This will leave a small hole where the back of your earring will fit. Run a three-square needle file through the groove you made to make sure it is smooth and free of snags. This will make the hole a little deeper, making sure that your earring back fits well.
Step 2: Soldering earring posts
- Hand light
- Soldering block
- Silver solder pallions
- Flux and a small brush for painting
- Reverse action tweezers
- Another pair of tweezers
- Prepare your work area
Set up a safe place where you can solder with your hand torch. Set up your soldering block in a clear area, tie your hair back, and put on safety glasses.
Place your stud earring design face down on your soldering block. Using your small paintbrush, add a small amount of flux solution to the back of your design and the flat end of your earring post.
Take your tweezers that work backward and hold the pointy end of the earring post in the claws.
Place your reverse action tweezers in a way that lets the earring post rest. Move the reverse action tweezers around until the flux on the stud design and the end of the post are lined up nicely.
Now that your reverse action tweezers are set up and locked in place, you can use another set of tweezers to add a small silver pallion to the part of the earring where the post meets the design.
Let’s start soldering! Turn on your hand torch and start warming up the flux slowly. You may notice that the pallion moves because of the force of the flame. Use your free hand to grab your second set of tweezers and move the pallion back into place.
As you heat the piece, the moisture will leave the flux, which will turn white as a result. Keep turning the heat on and off to gently warm the area. If your pallion moves, just put it back where it was and keep heating.
With such a small amount of solder, you’ll soon see a flash, and the solder will move toward the heat. As you heat the area, keep this in mind because you want the solder to go all the way through the seam, giving you a strong solder joint.
Put your piece in a clean bowl of water and turn off the heat. Pickle, clean up, and put the earring back on your design.
Now that you know how to make earrings from the ground up, you can make any design you want. At McGee Company, you can get all of the tools and materials you need to make your own stud earrings. We have everything you need to make professional stud earrings, from silver wire to hand files and soldering kits.