Earring Making : How to Make Mod Earrings

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A friend once asked me how to make Mod earrings.

"Mod earrings" I asked?

"Yes, those ones you’re wearing!" my friend replied.

That's how the name of these earrings was born.

These charming and elegant earrings are easy and quick to make. The look of your earrings can be changed dramatically by using different metals, beads and patinas. Make sure you check out the variations at the end of this tutorial for some ideas.

Mod Earring 1

Materials for the earrings

  • 2 commercial or handmade sterling silver or gold-filled balled wire headpins - 4" long
  • 2 beads (make sure your bead holes are large enough for your wire to fit through)
Mod Earring 2
I'm using some handmade gold-filled headpins and glass beads.


  • Round-nosed pliers
  • Flush cutters
  • Nylon jaw pliers
  • Jeweler's chasing hammer
  • Rawhide hammer
  • Anvil or steel block
  • Flat metal file
  • Round mandrel of some sort (see step 1)
Mod Earring 3
Nylon jaw pliers (for straightening wire) Round-nosed pliers
Jeweler's tools make this project easier, but you don't necessarily need jeweler's tools to make these earrings. Here are some alternatives to try if you're not yet ready to invest in the good stuff:
For this project, instead of:
  • round-nosed pliers you can use a pen or dowel
  • nylon jaw pliers you can pull wire through a folded piece of cloth (hold tightly and pull your wire through to straighten)
  • a chasing hammer you can use a regular hammer (make sure your hammer's striking surface doesn't have sharp edges. If it does, it might make dents in your headpins/ wire)
  • a rawhide hammer you can use a rubber mallet or a nylon hammer from the hardware store.
  • An anvil or steel block you can try using any hard, flat, unpainted metal surface that you don't mind marring and denting (not ideal but do-able)
Mod Earring 4

Mod Earring 5

Mod Earring 6
Rawhide hammer
Flat file
Chasing hammer


Step 1: Wrap your headpins around a round object to make them have a gentle curve.

*Any object used in jewelry making as a rounded forming base is called a mandrel. In this project I'm using a wooden box I had lying around. You can use a tomato paste can, small jar, or commercial bracelet mandrel from a jeweler's supply.

Mod Earring 7

Step 2: Check your curves and make sure they match.

*If there are any kinks or bends in your headpins this is your last chance to straighten them out. If necessary, pull your headpins through the jaw of your nylon jaw pliers to straighten them.

Mod Earring 8

Step 3: String your beads onto your headpins

Mod Earring 9

Step 4: Grasp your headpin with your round-nosed pliers.

You want to make a large-ish rounded bend in the wire slightly off-centre on the headpin so that your earwire will hang longer in the back than the front.

Mod Earring 10

Step 5: Using your fingers, gently bend the wire around the largest part of your round-nosed pliers.

Mod Earring 11

Your bent headpin should now look like this:

Mod Earring 12

Mod Earring 13

Step 6: Make your second earring.

Tips: I make the second match the first by holding both in the pliers at the same time, matching the beads together. When I'm pretty sure I have the second wire grasped properly, I carefully remove the first from the pliers without disturbing my second headpin from its position. Then I bend the second and double check that it matches. If necessary, I adjust the bends with my fingers.

Don't worry yet about making the back part of your earring match- we'll trim the ends later.

Mod Earring 14

Step 7: Harden the wire into its new shape. To do this, place your earring on an anvil or steel block, hold it firmly, and give it some good whacks with your rawhide hammer.

This hardens the metal because it compresses the molecules in the metal. Using a rawhide hammer (or nylon hammer) will harden the metal without changing its shape or flattening it.

Tips: Hold the wire tight and hang the bead off the edge so you don't damage it.

Don't whack your bead with the hammer.

Mod Earring 15

Mod Earring 16

Mod Earring 17

Step 8: Using a metal hammer, tap the bend lightly and repeatedly until you like the look of it. Using a metal hammer will flatten the wire where you strike it so be gentle. We're going for a slight flattening here.

Mod Earring 18

Step 9: Using your flush cutters, trim the back ends of your earrings so they match exactly.

Step 10: Use your file to soften and round the ends of your earwires. Make sure the ends of the wire are nice and smooth so they don't cause micro-tears in the earring wearer's earlobe holes.

Step 11: Polish the fingerprints off your beads and wire. Done!

Mod Earring 19


Need some tool definitions?

Jeweler's tools make this project easier, but you don't necessarily need jeweler's tools to make these earrings.


Mod Pod Earrings:

Mod Earring 20Mod Earring 21Use handmade balled sterling silver headpins and vintage czech pressed-glass pod beads. Oxidize the earrings with liver of sulphur to create a matte black patina.

(Learn how to make your own balled sterling silver headpins period)

Lucky Mod Triplet Earrings

Mod Earring 22Honey jade is said to bring good luck to those who wear this gorgeous semi-precious gemstone.

Use some oxidized "super simple headpins" and 6 faceted honey jade gemstone rondelle beads to create a pair of earrings that will make you look gorgeous and bring you luck at the same time.

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