If you’ve been wanting some statement earrings, I’ve got just the project for you. These brass hand earrings are artsy and intriguing, and while they might look complicated to make, they’re not really, at least not with help from my tutorial and template.
Eyes had their moment in the sun, and now it’s time to move onto other body parts. (I still think eyes are cool, though.) This tutorial covers how to make these brass hand earrings, but you could use the same techniques to make earrings in any single-line shape.
This tutorial is a little more advanced than some of the jewelry tutorials I’ve done in the past, meaning that you will need to use a couple of different kinds of jewelry pliers. If you don’t already have them, a kit like this one will have everything you need. Jewelry pliers open up all sorts of possibilities as far as DIY projects are concerned. You’ll never be sorry to have them!
Brass Hand Earrings
Brass wire – I used soft 18 gauge wire, but 16 gauge or 20 gauge may also work.
Small nails – I used wire nails, but I’d actually recommend nails with a smaller head, like finish nails.
Flat-nose jewelry pliers
Jeweler’s mallet (optional)
Bench block (optional)
1. Cut out the printed hand templates, and tape them to a piece of scrap wood. (Technically you only need one of the hand templates, since they’re mirror images.)
2. Hammer small nails into areas where you’ll be bending the wire, like the ends of the fingers, between the fingers, and along the palm edges, to make what’s called a “jig.” I used wire nails, but I’d recommend using finish nails, which have a smaller head.
3. Starting at the wrist and leaving a tail of about an inch, bend the wire around the nails of the jig so that it forms a hand shape. At this point it won’t be very defined, but that’s okay. Cut the wire when you get to the end, leaving another inch-long tail.
4. Remove the wire hand from the jig. I recommend using finish nails instead of the nails I used because they have smaller heads, so you won’t need to deform the hand as much when you remove it. But if you do need to deform it, it’s fine, because you’ll fix it in the next step. When you’re working with the wire, just be careful not to bend it back and forth all the way in any one spot too much, because it could break.
Repeat for the second hand.
5. Once your hand is off the jig, use the flat-nose pliers to shape the wire. Squeeze the ends of the fingers and the gaps between the fingers to create a more hand-like shape. You can put the hand on top of the un-nailed hand template to help you match the shape. Repeat for the other hand.
6. This is the only tricky part, because it’s hard to describe how I connected the ends. Loop the ends of the wire together, using one end to create a loop for the earwire. Be careful not to deform the shape when you’re doing this, but if you do, gently re-shape the hand. Trim the excess wire. Repeat for the other hand.
7. Optional: If you have a bench block and jeweler’s mallet, lay your brass hands flat, and gently hammer to work-harden the metal.
8. Use the pliers to open the earwire loops, and attach the earwires to the loops you made at the top of the hand.
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