Thursday, September 18, 2014

Things to do with headpins - 2 for 1 Tutorial

You may of heard on the blog… Beadfest happened recently! My friend, and AJE team member Lesley, kindly offered to take some of my beads across for swaps so I could share in the beady goodness! I got some amazing swaps back, some of which were headpins. 

I’ve been curious about glass headpins ever since I saw them while scrolling through Facebook, so I was thrilled to get some beautiful millefiori pins from Jen, and pretty green drop pins from Sue (which make me think of little jester’s hats!)

As with a lot of things I covet, once I got my hands on them, I had no clue what to do with them. I just wanted some as they were pretty. So they sat in my box of special things while I pondered. I’ve come up with a couple of ideas which I am going to share today. The demo’s are using Jen’s headpins as I think their shape works really well for these ideas.

The domed clear glass on Jen’s headpins give them such a wonderful depth that I thought they would make a pretty ring. 

Start by taking a headpin and holding it a couple of mm from the glass, bend the glass up so it sits at 90 degrees to the wire.

I used one of my existing rings to get the size. Put it on to your ring mandrel and mark with a felt tip where you need to wrap.

Hold the headpin on the mark with your thumb and wrap the wire around the mandrel, and loop it around the glass.

Keep looping until all the wire is around the head, tuck in the end of the wire and straighten the shank.

Put it on... cute!

Afterwards, I did think about adding seed beads around the shank and was going to make a second, but I couldn’t find anything that I liked that had a large enough hole… time for more bead shopping! If you do want to use beads, you would need put them on to the wire before sizing your ring on the mandrel.

Secondly, I decided to make a clasp. For such tiny heads, they make great focals, so my next design features the pin right in the middle. 

As with the ring design, hold the pin and bend the head to 90 degrees.

With bail making pliers wrap a wide loop on one side of the head.

Fold it round the top of the pin to hold it securely.

Do the same on the opposite side.

Wrap the remaining wire around either side of the head, tucking the end in neatly so it doesn’t catch.

Left as it is, it would make a great connector

Or you could do as I did and make a hook to turn the piece into a clasp.

With both designs, due to the heat needed to make the pins, the wire is quite soft, so it's nice and easy to use. But you may find that you need to harden your work when it's complete!

I hope I've inspired you to get wrapping with those headpins! To get some for yourself, visit Jen or Sue!

Thanks for reading!



  1. I used one of jen's head pins in a ring too (but set in silver), they looks so beautiful and have that much depth that I often get lost gazing into it and it's now one of my favorites! LOVE your idea of making them into clasps! Throughly inspired now (may have to break into my hoard) Thank you Caroline!

  2. How utterly awesome both projects are!!

  3. Ingenious - particulalry like the clasp and will be 'borrowing' that idea...thanks you.

  4. I love your brain and these designs!!! Brilliant Woman you are!!!

  5. I am smitten with glass headpins! I have a whole mess of them, and more on the way from Miss Sue! I never thought of making them into links, connectors or RINGS! Awesome. Some of the headpins from other makers use a steel wire that would make them more durable than the copper. I like to use those tiny button ones to make the center of a flower like I did for the COM a few years back. I still love that bracelet and wish that I hadn't sold it! Enjoy the day. Erin

  6. These a pure genius Caroline! I will be using your ideas for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hi Caroline. Both of these ideas are fantastic. Thanx for sharing.

  8. Love both ideas but especially the clasp! Will have to try it! Thank you for a great article. Lynn Carling :)

  9. I love both of these, especially the connector/clasp!

  10. Really, really love both of these ideas. If you do any beadweaving, you could weave a circular peyote flower to frame the ring. I think I need some headpins now to try the connector, that is awesome!

  11. Caroline thanks for this one. Simple and unique.


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