The Art of Handmade Bead Jewelry: Jewelry Made from the Heart

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They say anything made from the heart is superior to all alternatives, and the same thought applies to the art that is handmade jewellery. Every kind of jewelry is beautiful, but there’s undeniably something wonderful in knowing the care it took to make a handmade piece. That each and every line was carefully sculpted with a human eye and a human hand, not chiseled out by some machine. Humans have a profound ability to draw out the beautiful from the bland, and where better to do this than in the objects we commemorate to beauty itself? More and more people are coming to see the true gift that handmade jewellery is, and it’s fantastic. There is something in the devotion required to make a beautiful piece that simply adds to the beauty, and that’s an aspect to jewelry those crafted otherwise will never be able to touch. Not to mention how much buying from a real artist helps them in their life and career. There’s a reason a shift is underway in the jewelry world, and why handmade art is at the centre of it all.

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Bead Dangle Earring Jewelry Making Technique Part 1: The Open Loop


What is an open loop bead dangle? The open loop bead dangle is one jewelry making technique for making eye loops in the end of a wire jewelry component. This technique is used most often for making bead dangles to hang beads from earrings or necklaces. It is an acceptable technique to use when making lightweight earrings. For earrings having significant weight the “wrapped loop” technique is better and stronger to be able to hold greater weight.  However, for lightweight dangle earrings, the open loop works very well. Most of the earrings I am creating now are lightweight and are made using the open eye loop. In fact, I use the one step looper tool which works excellent in making consistently nice open loops.

In the photograph you can see an open loop.

To make the open loop without using the one step looper tool, you will need either about 4 inches of jewelry wire or an eye pin or head pin. The photograph here is actually the top of an eye pin. Eye pins always have the open loop at the end. You can open the loop with round nose pliers to start the beading process or to hang whatever you choose on your earrings, then close the loop back using the pliers. I use head pins for most of my earring designs. A headpin usually has a “stopper” at the end to keep the beads from falling off at least one end. This stopper point is either flat or on some head pins it is round.

You will also need round nose pliers, bent chain nose pliers and cutting pliers to make open loops on wire or head pins, that is, if you do not use the one step looper tool.

Step 1: Add your chosen beads to the head pin or wire.

Step 2: Grasp the wire or headpin immediately above your last bead u sing the bent chain nose pliers. To minimize the amount of wire or head pin above your last bead, grasp the wire or head pin right at the last bead using the tip of bent chain nose pliers. The technique is easier when you use 1/2 hard wire and even easier using the one step looper tool.

Step 3: Push the wire over 90 degrees with your thumb as close to the pliers as possible making a nice crisp bend. You do not want a “rounded” bend, and again, if you want perfect open loops every time, invest in the one step looper tool. This tool will save you a lot of headaches especially if you are making a lot of open loop earrings designs or you are a novice.

Step 4: Re-orientate the wire in your pliers to complete the loop and push the wire until you have completed a nice loop as shown in the eye pin photograph. Best loops are not exactly circle size, but a little like oval size.

Step 5: Inspect the loop to be sure it is centered. If the loop is off center, use your pliers to insert the loop fully and twist it one way or the other until the loop is centered over the vertical wire or head pin. The open loop forms a connecting point for earring hooks. You can either leave the open loop a little open or open up the loop on your earring hook. I usually just leave the open loop a little open and then close the loop after placing an earring hook.

Step 6: If you are using wire, you will now need to cut the excess wire using your cutting pliers. Place the flat side of wire cutter toward the finished wire component and cut excess wire at the point where it overlaps the beginning of the loop. If you are using a one step looper tool, the tool will cut the wire at the precise point needed while making your perfect size loop all in one step.

Step 7: After you have cut off the excess wire, you will need to close the loop with bent nose pliers. Simply grasp the loop and twist it closed.

Creating loops is actually the very first and most basic technique you will need to learn when making dangle earrings.

Written by: Connie Limon

Meet Joy:


Joy is a pair of dangle earrings I added to Carmilita’s Christmas Collection. She dangles about one inch from hook. She is appropriate for gift giving. She is also appropriate for wearing to any kind of Holiday celebration.

Materials used:

2 antique copper head pins


2 antique copper French earring hooks

3 antique copper 3 mm bead caps

2 red glass crackle beads 6 mm

2 milky white faceted glass bead

I chose to call these earrings “Joy” because of the joy people usually feel during the Christmas holidays. Joy is a popular name for girls born around Christmas time.
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