Today we’re going to make another popular shape for ear wires. Interestingly, these wires don’t have a common name. Some people call them French Hoops. I’ve also seen Demi Hoops and Loop ear wires. And because I can’t seem to come up with a clever name for the ear wires we’re about to make, let’s just call them the Circle Ear Wires for simplicity.

These ear wires are particularly suited for minimalist earring designs. The clean modern lines of the circle ear wires are appealing on their own without any adornment. So, a super simple beaded drop is all you’ll need to create beautiful earrings with these wires.

Pretty. Quick. And Easy. It doesn’t get better than that!

Copyright & Disclosure

You’re welcome to make and sell products from this tutorial. These ear wires are a common design that’s been around for eons, so I claim no exclusive rights to the design itself.

When it comes to my written tutorials, however, I do reserve exclusive rights to all images and written content. You may not reproduce or redistribute any portion of the Perfectly Matched Circle Ear Wires tutorial in any way, shape, or form.

This copyright applies to the printable PDF version of the Perfectly Matched Circle Ear Wire tutorial as well, and it’s included therein. You may share the free version of this tutorial only by linking directly to this page.

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Choosing the Right Wire for Your Circle Ear Wires

For best results, use half-hard or dead soft solid copper or sterling silver wire. Half-hard wire will always save you time when it comes to making ear wires, but dead soft works well, too. You’ll just have to spend a bit of extra time work hardening ear wires that you make with dead soft wire. I used dead soft wire for this tutorial because I’m currently out of half-hard 20ga wire.

We’re going to make these wires in two different sizes, 9mm and 12mm. The construction method is nearly identical for both sizes. Wherever there are differences, I’ll specify which size I’m making in each step.

You can use a filled wire for the circle ear wires if you choose not to use a chasing hammer on your wires. I don’t recommend plated or anodized craft wire for this tutorial because those types of wire are rarely hard enough to retain their shape, and even a soft mallet can ruin the coated finish on craft wire.

Materials Needed to Make the Circle Ear Wires

The only material needed to create perfectly matched ear wires is 20g solid jewelry wire. I used dead soft copper wire, pictured here, while writing this tutorial.
  • 20ga Wire – 5 inches (13 cm) per pair

Ordinarily, I use half-hard copper wire to make my ear wires, but I’m currently out of half-hard 20g wire. So, I used dead soft copper wire while writing this tutorial.

The only difference between the two tempers is that you’ll need to spend more time work hardening dead soft ear wires. That’s why I prefer to use half-hard wire for this sort of component — it saves time.

I’ve provided links to my preferred source (riogrande.com) for both tempers above. Choose whichever temper you like to work with best.

Tools Needed to Make the Circle Ear Wires

The tools needed to make the circle ear wires are pictured here and itemized below.

Finished Size

These fun modern ear wires are made in two different sizes. The larger circle ear wires are about 5/8-inch wide and 3/4-inch long. The smaller circle ear wires are roughly 1/2-inch wide and 5/8-inch long.

20g wire is my preference for pierced ear wires. It’s the only gauge that I use for ear wires unless someone specifically asks for a smaller or larger gauge. Commercial ear wires typically range between 18g and 22g. So 20g is a comfortable size for pretty much everyone with pierced ears.

Skill Level: Beginner

This is a basic wirework project that can be achieved by someone who has never worked with wire before.

How to Make Perfectly Matched Circle Ear Wires

The instructions for the Circle Ear Wires are written for both sizes. I’ll specify which size I’m talking about wherever there are differences between the two sizes. Essentially, though, the wires are constructed in the same way.

You can easily customize the size of your circles by simply changing the cut length of your wire and the mandrel size that you choose to form the circles.

Step 1

Straighten a length of 20ga wire by running it between your fingers or the jaws of your Nylon jaw pliers a few times. Once the wire is straight, measure and cut a piece of wire to one of the following lengths:

  • 4 inches for the 9mm (small) circles
  • 5 inches for the 12mm (large) circles

Use your fine-point permanent marker to mark the center point of your wire.

Step 1 - Measure and cut a piece of 20ga wire to the length specified in the instructions. Mark the center point of the wire, as shown.

Step 2

The key to making matched sets of ear wires is to create both wires at the same time, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

Use your flat nose pliers to form a sharp 90-degree bend at the center mark of your 4-inch or 5-inch wire. Then carefully fold the wire in half by gradually tightening that bend until the two ends of your wire are parallel.

Step 2 - Use flat nose pliers to begin folding your wire in half, as shown.

Step 3

Tighten the fold by squeezing it closed with the tips of your flat-nose pliers, as shown.

Step 3 - Tighten the fold by squeezing it close with your flat nose pliers, as shown.

Step 4

Check the ends of your wire to make sure they’re even. If not, trim the wire so that both ends are the same length.  

Step 4 - Trim the ends of your wire evenly with wire cutters, as shown.

Step 5

Grasp the cut tips of the wire with the 2mm step (the smallest step) of your bail-making pliers, as shown.

Step 5 - Grasp the cut ends of the wire with the tips of your bail-making pliers, as shown.

Step 6

Using the thumb of your free hand, firmly roll the wires all the way around the 2mm mandrel.

Adjust the position of your bail-making pliers, if necessary to roll the wire all the way around until the cut ends touch the long length of the wire.

These are the simple loops that will attach to your earring dangle.

Step 6 - Create a 2mm loop on the ends of your wires, as shown.

Step 7

At this point, we’re going to make the 9mm circles first. If you’re making the 12mm circles, skip ahead to Step 11 now.

Place the small loops that you just made between the 8mm and 9mm steps on your bail-making pliers (the two largest steps). Make sure that the loops are facing the 8mm step, as shown.  

Step 7 - To make the 9mm ear wires, place the wires between the 8mm and 9mm mandrels on your stepped bail-making pliers, as shown.

Step 8

Now roll the wire all the way around the 9mm mandrel, as shown.

Be sure to press the wire firmly against the mandrel with your thumb or fingers as you roll. This helps form the wire into a clean circle.

Step 8 - Roll the wire all the way around the 9mm step on your bail-making pliers, as shown.

Step 9

Once you reach the point where the folded end of your wire is touching the small loops that you made in Step 6, shift the folded end of the wire over a bit so you can continue the curve.

Adjust the position of your bail-making pliers, as needed, and keep pressing the folded end of the wire around the mandrel until you have a complete circle, as shown.

Step 9 - Shift the folded end of the wire over to clear the small loops and continue forming the wires into a continuous circle, as shown.

Step 10

Finally, use your soft mallet to tap the folded end of the wire down until it fully conforms to the shape of the mandrel, as shown.

Step 10 - use your soft mallet to taps the folded end of the wire down and around the mandrel, as shown.

Your 9mm circle ear wires should look something like this when you’re finished forming the 9mm circle. Skip ahead to Step 15 where we’ll trim the folded end off and separate your perfectly matched circle ear wires.

Your 9mm ear wires will look something like those shown here when finished forming the 9mm circle.

Step 11

To make the 12mm circle ear wires, place the small loops that you just made on the Size 1 mark on your ring mandrel.

Make sure that the loops are facing up and away from the mandrel’s surface, as shown. 

Step 11 - Position the looped ends of your wires at the Size 1 mark on your ring mandrel, as shown.

Step 12

Now roll the wire all the way around the ring mandrel, as shown. Be sure to press the wire firmly against the mandrel with your thumb or fingers as you roll. This helps form the wire into a clean circle.

Step 12 - Roll the wires all the way around the ring mandrel, as shown.

Step 13

Once you reach the point where the folded end of your wire touches the small loops that you made in Step 6, shift the folded end of the wire over a bit so you can continue the curve.

Keep pressing the folded end of the wire around the mandrel until you have a complete circle all the way around the mandrel, as shown.

Step 13 - Shift the folded end of the wires over to clear the simple loops and continue forming around the mandrel, as shown.

Step 14

Now use your soft mallet to tap the folded end of the wire down until it fully conforms to the shape of the mandrel, as shown.

Fully forming this curve is the key to maintaining the circular line on your ear wires from beginning to end, even though we’re going to trim off some of the length of that formed wire.

Step 14 - Use your soft mallet to tap the folded end of the wire all the way around the mandrel, as shown.

Your 12mm circle ear wires should look something like this when you’re finished forming the 12mm circle.

Your 12mm circle ear wires should look something like those shown here when finished forming the 12mm hoop.

Step 15

Now use your wire cutters to trim off the folded end of your wires.

Make sure you position your wire cutters with the beveled side facing the fold, as shown. This gives you the cleanest cut on your finished ear wires.

Step 15 - Use wire cutters to trim off the folded end of the wire, as shown.

Step 16

Use your needle file to remove any sharp edges on the cut ends of your circle ear wires.

If you have a cup burr, you can use that tool now to round off the ends of your ear wires, as shown.

A cup burr is a special tool designed to round off the edges of ear wires. This tool is optional. A needle file works just as well.

Step 17

Now that your ear wires are fully formed, we need to work harden them, so they’ll retain their shape.

I like to slightly flatten certain points on my ear wires because I think it gives them a bit more dimension and more of a hand-forged look. If you prefer your wires to remain round, skip this step and go on to Step 18.

Use your chasing hammer and bench block to lightly flatten the small loops, the hook ends, and the top point of the ear wires. Don’t use too much force or the wire will spread to a width larger than 20g, which could make the wires uncomfortable to wear.

Step 17 - Use a chasing hammer and bench block to lightly flatten the loops, ends, and tops of the wires, as shown. This step is optional.

Step 18

Once you’re satisfied with the look of your wires, use a nylon or rawhide hammer and your bench block to further harden the wires.

Just tap lightly and evenly on the wires several times. Then check to see how sturdy your wires are by giving them the slightest twist. If the wire bends easily, harden it some more with your soft hammer and bench block.

Continue this process until the ear wires are noticeably stiff and springy.

Step 18 - Use a soft mallet and bench block to work harden the finished ear wires, as shown.

That’s it. Your sleek and modern circle ear wires are now complete and ready to use. You can patina them now if you like. Or just leave them bright and patina along with whatever you decide to attach them to.

I like to make ear wires in small batches of about a dozen pairs. That way I always have some perfectly matched ear wires on hand when I want to assemble earrings quickly.

Your finished circle ear wires will look something like those pictured here. The 12mm ear wires are shown on the top left. The 9mm ear wires are shown on the bottom right.

It’s not easy to make copper or sterling silver ear wires as hard as the base metals used in commercially manufactured ear wires. But being able to make wires that match your jewelry perfectly is totally worth the effort.

With proper care, these wires will last a lifetime. They also look better and cost significantly less than commercially manufactured ear wires.

Perfectly Matched Ear Wire Variations

This method of making matched pairs of ear wires can be easily adapted to almost any shape and style. Here are just a few examples of some popular ear wire silhouettes you can try.

These are a few simple variations of the perfectly matched ear wires. All six pairs of ear wires shown here were created using the same technique outlined in this tutorial.

Experiment with this method. See if you can come up with an ear wire design that is uniquely your own. As with my Easy Infinity Clasp, it’s often those extra personal touches that ultimately become your signature – that unique little detail that clearly sets your work apart from the competition.

Also, watch for upcoming tutorials on the rectangle threader ear wires (pictured above, bottom center) and the rustic French Hooks pictured top right. Those tutorials are coming soon. And I’ll work out all the measurements for you so you don’t have to figure it out yourself.

If you haven’t already seen the tutorial for the classic French Hooks (shown bottom left in the photo above), be sure to check that one out! Just click on the image below.

Also, be sure to check out the Marquis Earring Series, which walks you through the process of making fun beaded earrings from scratch, starting with the Marquis Ear Wires. Click on the image below.

Finishing Suggestions

I patina all of my copper and silver jewelry with Liver of Sulfur (LOS), and then I burnish the antiqued pieces with super fine steel wool (Grade #0000) in a warm bath of water and original Blue Dawn dish soap. The steel wool brings back the bright copper highlights on the high spots.

Once that’s done, I rinse the jewelry thoroughly to remove any particles of steel wool. Then I put the jewelry in a tumbler barrel filled with warm water and a generous squirt of Blue Dawn. I tumble all of my finished jewelry for a minimum of two hours.

Tumbler Tip

There’s a lot of debate about whether tumbling will work harden wire. My experience is that you can achieve some hardening, but only by tumbling for extended periods of time. So, two hours on the tumbler won’t make a noticeable difference. Twenty-four hours of tumbling does seem to noticeably increase hardness, however.

I never recommend tumbling wire jewelry with beads or gemstones for extended periods. However, there’s no risk in tumbling plain wire findings for several hours. Tumblers are designed to run for days at a time because that’s how long it takes to polish rough stones. So, if you don’t mind listening to the rustle of a tumbler for a full day, give it a try. And let me know if your ear wires came out of the tumbler noticeably harder than when they went in.

If you’re new to wirework, read this detailed tutorial that walks you through my 7-step patina process. And if you’re wondering why I recommend tumble polishing specifically, check out this post. Also, be sure to clean your stainless steel shot regularly. Because clean shot gives you the best possible final fiish on your jewelry.

Thank You!

Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed creating your own Perfectly Matched Circle Ear Wires from scratch. If you’d like a printable PDF version of this tutorial, you can find it here.

Also, be sure to add my Etsy shop to your favorites for the latest ad-free printable PDF tutorials. As always, I’d love to see what you’ve made and hear your ideas and suggestions for new tutorials and blog posts. So, be sure to connect with me @door44studios on PinterestInstagram, and Facebook.

Until next time, go make something beautiful!

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Learn the secret to making perfectly matched Circle Ear Wires with this free wirework basics tutorial from Door 44 Studios.