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How to Make Wire Wrapped Leaf Earrings From a Recycled Milk Jug


As some of you already know, Serendipitini co-blogs with Ellen of The Chilly Dog Blog. Recently we agreed to accept a challenge for each of us to post a blog tutorial on making something from recycled items. We decided on plastic. I am a firm believer that many of the things we discard can be reused and made into something beautiful so I set out to prove it by reusing a plastic milk jug, something most of us think nothing about tossing into the garbage.

SUPPLIES: For this tutorial you will need one semi-transparent white milk jug, a small thin piece of cardboard to use as a pattern, a pencil, small sharp scissors or tin snips, optional wire jig, a small awl, round nosed pliers, needle nose jewelry pliers, jewelry wire cutters, 20 gauge dead soft copper wire, two 24 gauge head pins, 1″ long, copper jump rings, silver plated ear wires, 2 small swarovski crystal beads. Note, if you do not want to invest in a wire jig you can use round nosed pliers to turn your wire loops.

1.  Draw a small leaf shape approximately 3/4″ high on your cardboard and cut it out.

2. Trace this pattern 14 times onto the plastic jug with a pencil.  Cut out the leaves.

3.  Pierce the cut out leaves with an awl near the top.  (You want the hole near enough to the top to allow for the jump ring to clear the top of the leaf once it is inserted.)

4.  Cut two sections of copper wire 10″ long each.

5. Follow the directions for wrapping your wire on this tutorial I previously created for making a jig wire necklace. It’s the same principle. Stop when you finish wire wrapping and do not follow the directions for finishing the necklace. You only need to watch to the point of making the wire wrapped design. Make two of these designs, one for each earring.

6.  Open a jump ring by rocking it side to side. Do not pull it apart as it will weaken the ring. Insert the jump ring into one leaf. While the top of the jump ring  is still open, fit the jump ring over the bottom loop of your wire wrapped design. Rock the opening of the jump ring closed.

7.  Repeat this step for each loop on your copper jig design until you have it filled with 7 leaves. Adjust your leaves so they are all on the correct side of the jigged design.

8.  Fasten a jump ring to the top of your jig design. While the jump ring is still open, fit the jump ring through the loop on the wire earring. Rock the jump ring closed.

2014-07-16 19.29.24earr001c9.  Take one head pin and thread a crystal bead over it.

10. Wrap the head pin around the round nose pliers

11. Cut the headpin so the loop makes a complete circle.

12. Using round nosed pliers take a jump ring and fit if on the top of your jig wire design just below the closed loop at the top so that first over the crossed over wire where it makes an x intersection. With the jump ring still open, fit your looped headpin with your crystal onto the jump ring so it hangs in front. Close the jump ring.

13.  Flip your second jig wire piece over so it is a mirror image of the first jig wire piece. Repeat all steps for making the second pair of earrings making sure that you earwire for this one faces the opposite direction of the first one so they hang properly.


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earr001bneck001aIf you are interested in these earrings or necklace, send me an email.


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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • SusanM July 30, 2014, 3:40 pm

    Great re-use idea, thank you for sharing this great tutorial!

  • Teena Stewart July 30, 2014, 5:16 pm

    Thanks. Hope it inspires folks.

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