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Shepherd's Hook Ear Wire

Instructions for making the Shepherd's Hook Ear Wire using WigJig jewelry tools, jewelry wire and common jewelry supplies:

Shephard's Hood Style Ear Wire Made with 20 Gauge Jewelry Wire

The shepherd's hook or French style ear wire is a type of ear wire that dates back to Roman times.  It is one of the most common type of ear wires.  Most of these shepherd's hook type of ear wires are made by machine with the rounded portion of the ear wire stamped by the machine to make it permanent.  Below we provide our instructions for making the same shepherd's hook style ear wires using our WigJig jewelry tools and 20 gauge jewelry wire. 

This is an advanced beginner's jewelry making project.

We have many styles of ear wires that can be made on our WigJig jewelry tools.  Please select here to view a web page with links to about 20 different ear wire designs and step-by-step instructions on how to make those designs.

Jewelry Making Supplies Required:

Jewelry Making Tools Required:

  • Nylon Jaw Pliers
  • Flush Cutter
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Fine Step Jaw Pliers (Optional)
  • Bent Chain Nose Pliers
  • Any WigJig jewelry tool
  • 5/16" or 1/4" Super Peg tool

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

Step-by-step instructions for making Shepherd's Hook Ear Wire using jewelry wire and WigJig jewelry making tools:

Step 1:  Using your nylon jaw pliers, straighten a 3 inch segment of 20 gauge jewelry wire.  Either soft or 1/2 hard wire will work.  Once the jewelry wire is straight, cut off 3 inches of the wire.

Step 2:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, grasp the jewelry wire 3/4 inch from the end and make an 80 degree bend in the wire.

Step 3:  Using your round nose pliers, make a loop in the 3/4 inch segment of jewelry wire.  Make certain that the loop is centered over the longer wire segment.  Once the loop is centered, cut the excess wire so that you have an open loop at the end of the wire.  You can find additional instruction for making an open loop here.  You can view an open loop below-left.

Step 4:  Grasp the jewelry wire immediately above the open loop with your bent chain nose pliers and bend the wire 90 degrees as shown below-right.

Step 3B to instructions for making and ear wire out of jewelry wire shaped on a WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 4B to instructions for making an ear wire using common jewelry making supplies.
Step 3 Step 4

Step 5:  Position two regular metal pegs and one 5/16 inch super peg in your WigJig jewelry tool as shown below-left.  Place the loop in your jewelry wire on the regular metal peg as shown. 

Step 6:  Now wrap the jewelry wire around the 5/16" Super Peg as shown at right.

Step 5 to instructions for making an ear wire showing shaping the jewelry wire on a WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 6 to instructions for making an ear wire showing shaping the jewelry wire on a WigJig jewelry tool.
Step 5 Step 6

Step 7:  The last step on our jewelry making jig is to bend the jewelry wire against the second regular metal peg as shown at right.  Once this step is completed you can remove the wire component from the WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 8 to instructions for making an ear wire using common jewelry supplies and WigJig jewelry tools.Step 8:  Measure about 1/4" from the bend in your ear wire made at the left most regular metal peg, and cut the wire.  This will leave you an ear wire that appears as shown at left.

Step 9:  There are two steps in finishing your ear wire.  First and most important is to remove any burs or rough spots from the end of the wire.  This is best done with a tool called a cup bur or bur cup.  This tool is essentially a very small cup on the end of a stick.  The cup contains abrasive compounds and the effect is to file the end of the wire round when the cup bur is used.  You can view how to use a cup bur here.  The last step in making an ear wire is optional, but recommended especially if you plan on selling the earrings.  This step is to use an anvil or bench block and a chasing hammer to flatten and harden the ear wire.  You will want to concentrate your hammering on the rounded portion of the ear wire, where the wire touched the 5/16" Super Peg.  Hammer the ear wire until you can see that the rounded portion of the ear wire has started to flatten slightly.  At this point you will notice that the ear wire is much stiffer and more permanent. 

Please select here for our free video on making the shepherd's hook style of ear wire finding.

This is a very popular style of ear wire.  Again, we also have free jewelry making instructions for making several other sizes and styles of ear wires here.  When funds are tight, making your own findings is a good way to save money on jewelry making supplies. 

Stays On ear wire finding made out of jewelry wire and beads.Alternative Design for Making an Ear Wire Finding:

Finally, please note that we have free instructions for making a modified shepherd's hook style ear wire that we call "Stays On" ear wires.  You can view this new style of ear wire at right.  Please select here, or the picture at right to view our free instructions for making this new style of ear wire.

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

If you haven't guessed by now, we make our own ear wires using jewelry wire and our WigJig jewelry tools most of the time when we are making earrings.  We have designs and instructions for plain vanilla ear wires which are almost indestinguishable from machine made ear wires and we have designs that are very unique and obviously not made by a machine.  If you need vanilla, use the instructions at the top of the page.  If you want somethign that will be unique, we suggest the alternative earring design and instructions in the paragraph above. 




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