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Abacus Wire Earrings

Instructions for making Abacus Wire Earrings out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry making tools:

Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings Jewelry Making Project made with crystal beads and common jewelry supplies.Abacus Jewelry Wire and Beads Earrings made with common jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry tools.

These earrings are called Abacus because the horizontal rows of beads in the main body of the earrings is similar to the Chinese abacus or analog computer.  The abacus was actually the first computer made and was used heavily for calculations by Chinese merchants starting about 200 years BC.  You can find more information on the abacus here

These earrings can be made using seed beads or 4mm crystal beads on the horizontal members.  The earrings far-right use size 6 seed beads whilte the earrings shown near-right use 4mm crystal beads. 

These earrings are designed for intermediate wire workers.  We will not provide as much detail as we would for instructions focused on beginners.  These earrings are not difficult to make, and might be suitable for some advanced beginners to making jewelry with wire and beads.  Our instructions for making these earrings begin below.

Jewelry Supplies Required:

Jewelry Tools Required:

  • WigJig Delphi, Centaur, Olympus or Olympus Lite jewelry tool with 8 pegs
  • 3/16" Super Peg for your jewelry making jig
  • Flush cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Bent chain nose pliers
  • Fine step jaw pliers
  • Nylon jaw pliers

     Jewelry Making Skills Required:

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making the Abacus Earring Body Component out of jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry tools:

Step 1:  Begin by straightening a segment of 18 or 20 gauge jewelry wire to a length of 7 1/2 inches.  Use your nylon jaw pliers to straighten the jewelry wire.  For advanced beginners, use 20 gauge jewelry wire.  For Intermediate wire workers, use 18 gauge jewelry wire.  18 gauge jewelry wire is larger and the resulting earrings will be bolder.  The two earrings shown at right were made using 20 gauge jewelry wire. 

Step 2:  Using your flush cutter, cut the jewelry wire to a length of 7 1/2 inches. 

Step 3:  Using your fine step jaw pliers, or your round nose pliers, make a "P" loop in the end of your jewelry wire with the flush cut. 

Step 4:  Using a WigJig Delphi, Centaur, Olympus or Olympus Lite jewelry tool, place pegs 1 through 8 in your pattern as shown below.  For the WigJig Delphi and Centaur jewelry tools, we used Crossover Pegs, Item 4028, for this component because it is easier to make the earring body with the larger loops provided by the pegs for the Olympus or Olympus Lite jewelry tools.  Crossover pegs have 1/2 of the peg, the size of the WigJig Delphi jewelry tool pegs (1/16") and the other half of the pegs the size of the WigJig Olympus jewelry tool pegs (3/32").  Crossover Pegs come in a package of four pegs, so two packages of Crossover Pegs are required to make this component.

 

WigJig Delphi jewelry tool peg pattern  for the Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings Jewelry Making Project

WigJig Centaur jewelry tool peg pattern  for the Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings Jewelry Making Project
Peg Pattern on WigJig
Delphi Jewelry Tool
Peg Pattern on WigJig Centaur
Jewelry Tool

WigJig Olympus jewelry tool peg pattern  for the Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings Jewelry Making Project

Peg Pattern on Olympus or Olympus Lite jewelry tools

tep 5 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings showing shaping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 5:  For our description of how to make the earring body for the Abacus Earrings, we need to introduce the concept of peg numbers and loop numbers.  There are obviously 8 pegs in the pattern for the earring body component and 9 loops in the wire component with a beginning and ending loop superimposed.  The loops are made in numeric order.  Loop 1 was made in step 3, loop 2 is the second loop and is made on the jig.  Loop 3 is made third and so forth.  While the loops are made in numeric order, each loop was not made on the peg with the corresponding number.  The reason for this is that we flip this wire component over after making each loop.  The initial loop is placed on peg 1, then loop 2 is made on peg 2.  To make it easier to complete the loop on peg 2, you can temporarily remove pegs 3 and 4 from your jig.  After making loop 2, you would remove the wire from the WigJig jewelry tool, place loop 2 on peg 8 and loop 1 on peg 1, then make loop 3 on peg 7.  To make this easier, temporarily remove peg 6 from your jewelry jig.  After making loop 3 on peg 7, you remove the wire from your WigJig jewelry tool and place loop 2 and 3 on peg 2 and 3, with loop 1 on peg 1.  Then make loop 4.  Continue in this manner, flipping the wire component over after making each loop until you have completed loop 8 and then the final loop over peg 1. 

Step 6:  After completing all 9 loops (two on peg 1), remove the jewelry wire component from your jig.  At this point the wire should appear as shown below-left.  The excess jewelry wire is hard to see in this picture, but it extends from the top loop down and to the left toward the second loop. 

Step 7:  Using your flush cutter, cut the excess jewelry wire from the final loop.  Using your bent chain nose pliers close that final loop.  At this point, your wire component should appear as shown below-right.

 

Step 6 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings showing jewelry wire after removal from jewelry making tool. Step 7 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings showing shape of jewelry wire.
Step 6 Step 7

 

Step 12 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings showing shaping jewelry wire on WgJig jewelry tool.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making the Cross Brace Jewelry Wire Component on WigJig jewelry tools:

Step 8:  Now we are ready to make the three cross brace members.  Start by straightening a segment of jewelry wire 1 3/4 inches long with your nylon jaw pliers. 

Step 9:  Using your flush cutter, cut a segment of jewelry wire 1 3/4 inches long. 

Step 10:  Using your fine step jaw pliers or your round nose pliers, make a loop in the end of the cut jewelry wire with the flat cut. 

Step 11:  Add either four or five size 6 seed beads or three or four 4mm glass crystal beads to your wire. 

Step 12:  Place your initial loop on peg 9 in the pattern on your WigJig jewelry tool and slide your beads against peg 9, then wrap the wire around peg 10.  It will be tight and slightly difficult to complete the loop on peg 10.  That way your beads will fill the gap between loop 9 and 10 once added to your earring body.

Step 13 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings showing beads added to jewelry wire.

Step 13:  Remove the jewelry wire from the jewelry making jig.  Using your flush cutter, cut the excess wire.  Using your bent chain nose pliers, close the final loop.  At this point, your cross brace wire component should appear as shown at right.  

Step 14:  Using your round nose pliers, convert both "P" loops into eye loops.  Please view the picture below-left to see how the finished cross brace component should appear.  

Step 15:  Now we are ready to connect the three cross brace members to the earring body.  First, using your bent chain nose pliers, open both loops on the ends of the cross brace member.  Slide the open loops into the loop on either side of the earring body as shown below center. 

Step 16:  Using your bent chain nose pliers, close the loops on either side of the cross brace member.  That will complete connecting your first cross brace member to the earring body.

Step 17:  Follow steps 15 and 16 to connect the remaining two cross brace members.  When you are completed the earring body should appear as shown below-right. 

 

 

 

Step 14 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings showing beads on cross brace made of jewelry wire.

Step 15 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings showing cross brace with beads in position on earring body. Step 17 to instructions for making Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings shownign all three beaded cross brace components in position.
Step 14 Step 15 Step 17 and 18

Step 18:  Add your ear wire finding to the top of your wire component.  Do this by opening the loop in the ear wire finding and connecting it to both loops made on peg 1 of the earring body wire component, then closing the loop in the ear wire finding.  When you have completed adding the ear wire finding, your wire component should appear as shown above right.

Completed Abacus Jewelry Wire Earrings Jewelry Making Project made with silver beads and common jewelry supplies.Completed Abacus Jewelry Wire and Beads Earrings Jewelry Making Project made with silver wire and sapphire beads.Step 19:  Finish these earrings by adding three bead dangles made from common jewelry supplies to each of the bottom loops of the earring body.  In the earrings shown near-right, we used three 8mm bicone beads with three 2x4mm bugle beads.  In the earrings shown far-right, we used one 6mm round beads along with two size 6 seed beads per bead dangle

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

We hope you like this earring design.  If you select the right combination of beads, this design can be stunning.  Our goal when we started making this design was two fold.  We wanted to make chandelier earrings that were wider than one inch and used seed beads with regular beads to make interesting earrings.  We like the end result both because of its attractive appearance and because it honors the first analog computer -- the abacus.

 

 

 



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