Thursday, November 6, 2014

Shank Button Earrings - a Quick How To

If there's one thing that frustrates me about designing jewellery it's having an idea in my head and struggling to make it work with elements that aren't specifically designed for the purpose but, I am pretty determined and it's not often I give up on something.

I bought a lot of gorgeous Green Girl Studio pieces when I visited Bead Fest in the summer including these two sugar skulls which I thought would make cute earrings. They are in fact shank buttons and because they are top heavy and concave at the back I was having troubling fixing them in a way that stopped them tipping forward. I tried jump rings, wire wrapping and looked at attaching them to a back plate but the effect wasn't really what I wanted.

But then after playing around for a while and as often happens I came up with a simple solution involving a length of 18swg annealed steel wire - tough to work with but perfect for what I had in mind. With some bending and determination I managed to get the wire through the shank twice to create a loop and using two pairs of pliers pulled the wire around a pair of bail making pliers to create a neater smaller loop. I then pulled the two ends of the wire down round the shank, twisted it a couple of times and then trimmed the wire.

I used round nose pliers to to turn simple loops in towards the shank. I then made some droppers by threading flower and pewter beads onto some hard wire head pins and turning a simple loop at the top. The open loops were attached to the loops at the back of the button and closed. The wire structure is pressed snugly against the button back and stops any unwanted movement or tipping (the droppers create movement on the earring but if you prefer them rigid you could just extend the steel wire, add beads to that and finish with turned loops)

Add a couple of ear wires and voila - a cute pair of earrings.

So frustrating as it was at the start ultimately I ended up with a technique that may open up lots of possibilities for other components...what's not to love.

UK readers may like to know that Green Girl studios are now available in the UK from The Artisan Bead Company a new online shop set up by our very own Caroline.

The Gossiping Goddess


  1. So clever! Great earrings and wonderful problem solving!

  2. yes ! That's the tip i needed for some ornaments I have !

  3. Brilliant! It's always the most simple ideas that are the hardest to pin down... love the earrings!

  4. What an inventive way to figure this out. You have a terrific imagination and a unique way of approaching things. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing your newly discovered technique.

  6. Very clever and even the back looks tidy! The loops at the top are a great design addition too. Man I hope I can remember about this post....Have to send myself a link!

  7. I like the way your ingenious mind works! The earrings are cute as can be, and it's nice to have this technique--thank you! xo


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