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Making Festive Earrings

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Embellish wooden designs with beads for fun and fashionable gifts

My wife, Jenny, is always looking for unique earrings and loves to collect beads. Earrings are a great way to combine my love of woodworking with her love of beads. These designs focus on Christmas and Hanukkah designs. However, just about any silhouette can be reduced to earring size and used for a pattern.

Adjust the size of the patterns for a variety of uses. Enlarge them to create ornaments, pendants, or pins.

Because the earrings are so small, you can use exotic wood without worrying about the expense. I use mahogany because it cuts well. Wood with large differences in hardness, such as oak, may cause problems. The softer spring wood between the harder summer wood can catch a drill bit, causing it to go off the lines or into an adjacent blank. Lightweight woods, such as yellow poplar or sassafras, work well. If you plan on painting the earrings, consider using woods that accept paint well, such as yellow poplar.

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Although I haven’t tried them myself, many non-wood materials should also work. As long as you can drill a small hole for the wires and use compatible glues, alternate materials, such as colored acrylic, should work fine. Thin materials, such as metals, can’t be drilled through the edge. Instead, add a loop to the top or drill a hole and use jump rings to attach the findings and beads.

Embellishments

Beads add sparkle and color to the earrings. Beads are made from a variety of materials with prices that range from less than a penny to several hundred dollars each. The earrings don’t require a lot of beads, so don’t feel like you have to scrimp on beads due to cost.

Findings are the wires, clasps, and other items that turn the beads and wood into jewelry. For these designs, we use eye pins, head pins, and ear wires. Eye pins have a loop on one end. Head pins are similar to eye pins, but they have a flattened end instead of a loop and are designed to hold beads unobtrusively. You could also use kidney wires instead of ear wires. Kidney wires have a loop that closes the earrings in the back while ear wires hang free.

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Author info
David Griffin David Griffin is a recent U.S. Air Force retiree who now works full-time at his business, Tuliptree Crafts. He lives in Bogue Chitto, Miss., and Pendleton, Ind., with his wife, Jenny Lynn, and runs the website www.scrollsawblog.com. more