Polymer Clay Jewelry Idea – Drum Bead Earrings, Handmade Earwires

Drum Bead Earrings “I’ve been making jewelry for many years. Polymer clay has now introduced me to so many new ideas.” ~Linda-K

Here is a simple yet stylish way to make polymer clay jewelry using your own handmade polymer clay beads. These tribal/bohemian styled earrings were created with two faux carved drum beads made using a reddish brown mix of Premo Sculpey clay, and drilled with fairly large holes.

To make the paddle shaped copper link, a two inch length of heavy gauge copper wire was hammered flat at one end and rounded off with a file to remove burrs and sharp edges.

Then a drum bead was slipped onto the wire and the opposite end was then carefully hammered and filed to match the first end.

A small hole, large enough for a small jump ring to pass through was then punched into one of the flattened ends… for the earwires attachment.

Since the best (and cheapest) way to get a unique artisan look for any handmade earrings is to make your own earwires, I continued the copper look by making my own earring hooks with 20 gauge copper wire. An excellent alternative for those who have skin sensitivities would be to use a copper colored anodized Niobium wire instead.

The handmade earwires were then attached to the earrings with a small, 20 gauge copper jump ring, slipped through the hole in the top of the flattened copper paddle with the bead on it.

I love wearing this type of earring. Thee sway and swing along with your movements plus look great with casual and dressy outfits.

This particular pair went to my mom for Christmas, along with several other pendants and polymer clay jewelry pieces.

I’ve been making jewelry for many years, mostly using metal links and Softflex covered with seed beads, Fireline with woven seed beads, or silk thread to hand-knot pearls. Polymer clay has now introduced me to so many new ideas and ways to make jewelry. I just love this site! ~Linda-K

Since being able to make your own earwires in many different styles and wires is so useful, I was thinking of adding handmade earwires to an upcoming wire tutorial. Let me know if you are interested or not, by leaving a comment below.

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Comments

  1. Yes.. Yes.. Yes.. please Cindy make a video tutorial. I just spent more money at Michaels last night buying earwires as I have lots of beads and clay ideas to make earrings with. I have enjoyed starting to make my own findings to match my clay treasures, it makes the whole process complete.

  2. Love your earrings. I began making earrings last summer & right away got into simple wire projects, so I’m torn about using video time to make earwires. Selfishly I feel, been there, done that – they’re easy to learn on your own. But the unselfish part of me thinks you should if others want to see it because it is so easy & everyone should be able to make them if they wish. It’s really nice not to have to depend on what the stores sell.

  3. Learning the wire work for me has become a natural extension of what I do with polymer clay, Unique findings like the ones you created here, Cindy, accent the beauty of the beads. Just think how different these beads would look with plain ole store bought (and probably expensive) findings, I would love a video!

  4. I’m with Rose. Ear wires are easy to do, but you may have a special twist that I don’t use. I love the look of your copper findings. Have finally gotten a preservative from the craft store for the copper – Krylon Preserve it – so I’m going to start making more findings. The store had a lot of Krylon products in the glazes section, but lo and behold the Preserve It was in with the adhesives!

  5. Freda – wondering if the Krylon Preserve it is compatible with polymer? I believe Cindy recommended using PYM 2 – which can be used on metal and polymer, right? I haven’t been able to find it (PYM 2) yet. Is it only available online?

  6. I think you already know what my answer and vote will be, but could you also include how to do a post, then the only thing I would need to buy would be the ear nuts (the little butterfly shaped thingies that hold them on) unless you’ve got a way to make them as well. :)

  7. Yes! I would love to learn to make my own earwires. These earrings are so cool. What tool did you use to punch a hole in the flattened copper?

  8. My biggest concern with making earwires, rather than purchasing, is rounding off the ends that go through the ears. It took forever long with a file or using a cup burr by hand, I finally figured out how to use a cup burr with my Dremel and this solved that problem.

  9. @Carolyn: I have been frustrated with the cup burr I bought for rounding off the ends of earwires. I usuallly end up using an emery board to finish the job. How do you use a cup burr with your Dremel?

    • @Linda K.: I have a chuck that will accept just about any size shank, so I just put the cup burr in the chuck, tighten it and turn it on. Really does a nice job in a short amount of time. I kind of rotate the post or other earwire inside in the burr so there are no ragged edges when I am done.

  10. Well I signed on to Avatar to try to get my picture up there. I used my aol Email and I dont think I was supposed to. Does anyone know how to do it? Everyone seems to be picking lesson 014. I have all the supplies for that, so I’ll make it my choice, too. All my Jupiter beads come so dull looking. I’ll figure something out to make them look more colorful. Well back to lesson 014 for a quick review..I

  11. Would love to learn how to make the wires for earrings. Another way to make the earrings all mine. I have always before bought earring wires, so yes please put this on your list of to do items. I will have to find a good place to purchase some copper colored anodized Niobium wire.
    Thanks again CIndy for another great idea.

    • @Peggy:

      Peggy, check out Fire Mountain Gems (firemountaingems.com). Their prices are reasonable I think. If not them try Rio Grande notsure of their web address. hope this helps.

  12. @Carolyn: Aha! The cup burr I have is on a wooden handle, about 6 inches long–no shank. Was your cup burr made to be used in a power tool? Was it made by Dremel?

    • @Linda K.: Mine was made to go in a pin vise. Is there a way you can get the handle off? Or just buy a cup burr without a handle – they are usually available from metal craft outlets. I think I got mine from Indian Jewelry Supply.

  13. Please do show us all how you make ear wires, and please include some variations for the more advanced. The best anchors on any posts or earwires seem to be those clear silicone plugs; they expand to fit a range of different gauges.

  14. Cindy WOW anything you show us will be just great. I just love to see how things are made. Just made my first polishing disks, I don’t have a Dremmel
    but they worked great on my small drill. Just wish I could show you the results but I’m not into photography yet.

  15. Thank you everyone for the fantastic feedback. Gives me ideas on what to offer in the tutorial.

    @Freda: As far as PYM2, it is an excellent product for sealing copper and other metals. It is also being sold in scrapbook stores as CI SuperSeal if you are looking for other places to get it (see Link by my name for more info about the CI SuperSeal Brand). I have not tried Krylon Preserve It so I don’t know whether it is compatible with polymer clay, but if you were only using it on metal, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    @Ken: I may consider doing an earring post tutorial but I’m not sure if I can fit it into this one. I’ll look at the timing. If it won’t fit, maybe a future video could be done on it.

    @Sherry: I just used a hammer and nail to punch the hole and then had to file down the burr. A better method is to use a screw down or squeeze style metal hole punch. A tool I haven’t yet purchased, but want to.

    @Carolyn and Linda: Good discussion on cup burrs! Thank you so much for passing along your information on that. It is important to have a nice smooth wire going into your ears otherwise the earring hole could be scratched or damaged causing a possible infection.

    @Helen: I’m hoping that someone else here, who has just recently set up their Avatar / Gravatar could offer you suggestions / encouragement. I remember when I set mine up a while back, I just followed the instructions at the Gravatar site and it worked perfectly. It sure would be nice to see your face around here!

    @Peggy: Another great place to get Niobium wire is from a Canadian company that I buy from called metaldesignz.com listed in the Tools and Accessories section. He is a really nice guy and his prices are cheap.

    @Martha: Thanks for the tip!

    @Josie: Great idea to use your drill! Glad it worked for you.

  16. Hi everyone looking forward to learning a new skill, also i would like to know if pym 11 or ci superseal is available in England as i can’t seem to find it.Thanks for all this fab information.

  17. @Carole – You are welcome for all this “fab” information. I’m so glad you are enjoying it.

    Now… so that I don’t end up burning out with no time left for filming all the video tutorials everyone is asking for, I’m going to have to come up with some creative ways to teach you guys how to find information here on the site, that has already been discussed before.

    And this is a great time to start. I’m sincerely hoping I’ll be able to lean on some of the “regulars” to help out by using your knowledge of how to use this site’s search function… to locate previous articles and comment threads that you can point people to when appropriate.

    Or of course if you know the answer to questions that come up, you are more than welcome to share your thoughts directly, as has always been the case.

    This site has come to be known as a friendly and supportive place where you can always get answers to your polymer clay related question. I don’t want this to change or be sacrificed in any way. It is one of the reasons why the community is so strong here.

    A side note… just yesterday, I was shocked (and excited) to find out that the comment tally here at the blog, rolled past the 10,000 mark. That’s quite a milestone that I am very proud of, and I would love for you guys to feel proud too. After all, this community would be nothing without everyone’s involvement.

    And since there’s no indication that the pace is going to slow down anytime soon, I’m going to need your help.

    So why don’t we start with the question that Carole asked above, about the availability of PYM II in England. There were a couple of specific comments posted not too long ago, that will be very helpful for Carol to read.

    By the way, here’s a little tip for being able to point to, or reference specific comments in other posts. Do you see that little anchor symbol after the time stamp for each comment? It’s called a permalink. When you clilck on it, this action generates a URL (link) that you can copy from your browser address bar, and then paste into your answer comment. But when you do this, please remember to remove the “http://www” so that the link you post in your answer, does not get interpreted as spam by my blog software. The link by my name will take you to where I explain why live links in comments can create problems.

    So there you have it… the challenge is on! Who will be first to provide Carol with the information she is asking? Actually for those who are able to help with this, you will likely find it to be a very educational experience for yourself too. Thanks in advance guys. I appreciate it very much.

    PS: Carole you are probably thinking… geez it would have been quicker for Cindy to just answer the question. Well, you are right, it would have been. But I’m going to see if I can make that story work that we all know about… the one where you “…teach a man (woman) to fish rather than just giving them the fish.” Crossing my fingers this will work :-)

  18. I think this is the link – and I got it from the ‘reply’ on the right of the blog entry. It looks to me like the anchor just takes you to the next comment that that person made.

    About PYM II in the UK: @Cindy Lietz from Beaded S-Hook Clasp:

    Wonder if this works to get the answer. We’ll see …

  19. Sorry, Cindy. I left off the http:// but not the w’s. So here we are again, trying to give Carole the answer about PYM II in the UK:

    beadsandbeading.com/blog/preserve-your-memories-ii-polymer-clay-beads-copper-findings/5454/#comment-25980

    I’m sure learning more than I thought I would by trying to answer this question! Did I get it right that time?

  20. Perfect Carolyn… you nailed it! Thank you so much for learning how to do this. It will be a tremendous help to have you being able to direct people to helpful information in the various articles here at the blog.

    And just to show that there are often several good answers, here is another link that discusses the PYM – UK topic as well:

    beadsandbeading.com/blog/mens-jewelry-bracelet-polymer-clay-bali-beads-wire-clasp/6488/#comment-27344

    Now let’s see if Carol is able to use these permalinks to successfully get over to the information that will help answer her question.

    @Carol Anne Holt (and/or anyone else) – If you need help understanding how to “cut and paste” these permalinks into your web browser, please do ask. I’d be happy to provide details on that too.

  21. Hi Cindy,

    Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my recent kaleidoscope cane blog post. I did wind up with air bubbles in the final pieces, but I’m pretty sure I know where I went wrong.

    Thanks for posting all your wonderful tutorials – they sure have helped this newbie out a lot!

    Kate

  22. Thanks Ken and Cindy for the information on where to find the wire. I am headed to the sites in just a little bit to see what I can find.

    Friendly and supportive is just the beginning of all the greatness here at this blog.
    Thank you Cindy and everyone else out there!!

  23. Love simple stunning earrings. These definitely fit the bill. For those with skin allergies, Cindy tipped me off to using niobium wire, as it does not react with skin. Obtained mine already made as findings at firemountaingems.com, they have several pair in the package.

    How sweet to be able to wear pierced earring again without the aggravation. I just keep changing out the wire to wear new (old) earrings.

    One big thank you, Cindy!

  24. Thank You, I realize there is only so much time in a video, just wanted to throw that out there for either this video or when you have time for another, one would think it would be obvious on doing posts, but sizing the post to earnuts and things like that just don’t seem obvious,I’m patient, it’ll come eventually. Thank you sooooo much for all the lessons! :)

  25. thanks and thanks again especially to Carolyn for her speedy responce, and thanks to you Cindy for taking the time to explain ,i always wondered what the anchor was for

  26. @Maria – I was thinking to use the Krylon Preserve It on the copper findings before they are put on the polymer clay. Some of the findings won’t work that way, tho. I planned to make up a bunch of clasps and stuff to have on hand.

  27. A few weeks ago I found a site (dont remember which site)that had PC beads as desktop wall paper. It is a beautful bead. My thinking is that it was made by adding sea salt to the clay. So I mixed the salt in the clay ,baked it and then washed the salt out of the bead, I even tried just rolling the bead in the salt. but with both methods my beads were really really bad. I would love to see a video with this method. I would have sent a picture but I dont know how to take a picture of the desktop and I cannot find the file. Hopefully someone know the site I am talking about. On the necklace there is the salt bead, flat pearl looking beads copper little beads and black beads.on a read stringing wire with copper findings.

    I look forward each mornings to reading the blog . It helps make my day a little better.

    Barb42

  28. This may not be what Barb is talking about, but I made some beads a long time ago using Kosher salt. Worked the salt into the clay and after baking soaked the beads in warm water and that melted the salt out and left holes in the bead. Don’t think the beads were gorgeous because I don’t remember using them in jewelry. But it was fun doing it. We used the rest of the salt in the ice cream machine (the crank kind).

  29. Barb, I think the beads that you are talking about are called Faux Lava beads. You roll your clay into rock salt or rock sugar and soak it out after baking, like the others have suggested. I wouldn’t mix it throughout the clay though, otherwise you will end up with weak spots in your beads. Just keep the salt to the outside. Using a variety of sizes of salt and keeping the finish matte or satin looks more realistic than a heavy shiny coat.

  30. I love the look of “special” earwires. Handmade ones show that you really care about the design of your jewelry; they also make earrings much more interesting! This can also be a money-saver (depending on what you normally use.) This will be a great video!

  31. hi im a big fan of yours with interest i want to know how to make polymer clay accessories… can you teach me how to make?..? and what material do i need to buy to make ?..? thanks…

  32. Sure I can help you Anne! Not too long ago, someone else asked me how best to access and utilize all of the information available at my polymer clay web sites (there is a lot of stuff :-). The info I posted for her will be helpful for you too. Click on the link by my name to go there now.

  33. Cindy, I really wanted to ask you where you got your Cup Burrs from, as I’ve been planning on buying some and I might as well get a set that comes with a holder.

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