Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sea Glass Earrings

Every year my other half, the children and I head down to Cornwall to spend some of the summer holidays with his family, and every year we go to some of the amazing beaches and collect lots of lovely beach treasures, which inevitably (what with me being a hoarder) end up coming home with us and being put into the "one day I will do something with all these lovely bits" box....

The Contents of the Box
So this year I decided I really need to start using some of these treasures and what better way to start then by making up some earrings....

Making Waves Earrings

To make these earrings you will need
  • A pair of sea glass pieces (mine are 15mm x 10mm)
  • 8mm/20gauge sterling silver wire (The amount of silver you will need for this project will depend on the size of your sea glass and how long you like your earwires. 1/2 meter should be enough to make two or three pairs of earrings).
  • 2 2x1mm sterling silver crimp covers 
  • Wire cutters
  • File
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Bail making or round nose pliers
  • Hammer and anvil
  • Easy solder paste
  • Soldering equipment (including safety goggles and apron)
  • Safety pickle
  • Tumbler
  • Dremel with a 1mm cup burr

Making the Back of the Earring
Cut two lengths of wire long enough to wrap around your cabs and then shape them so that they are ever so slightly smaller then the sea glass, trim and file the ends so they fit together perfectly flush these will become the back of the earrings

Forming Waves
Take approx 3 inches (more if you are using large sea glass pieces) using your pliers form tiny waves, this can be a little fiddly at first. Once shaped gently hammer your waves so they are flat and cut off and file small sections to fit neatly inside the back sections you just formed (they must be touching each side).

Soldering in Place
Cut 4 small pieces of wire, they need to be twice the height of your sea glass and file one end perfectly flat. Arrange your pieces on your soldering block/charcoal block as above and apply small amounts of easy solder paste to all of the joins.

Soldered in Place
Gently solder. I use solder paste as I find it a lot easier then flux and solder pillions which all ways pop apart when I heat them! Once the solder flows wait a few seconds to cool slightly and then using your soldering tweezers place in the safety pickle after a few minute rinse and give them a brush over with a wire brush and check that your joints are strong.

Trimming the Bezels

Using your flat nose pliers gently bend your prongs 90 degrees making sure that your sea glass still fits snugly inside. Trim the wires so there is enough to bend over the top of the glass to hold it in place and then file the wires flat. I use a 4 sided nail file for this as I always have one laying around.

Forming Earwires
Cut x2 three inch long pieces of silver, file one end flat and using your bail making/round nose pliers form a neat eye pin. Heat two small scraps of silver to form little balls. Open your eye pins and thread on the prong settings, close the eye and place them onto the soldering/charcoal block. Place a small amount of solder paste onto the join in the eye pin and place the ball on top, very gently solder (it will not take long at all but be careful not to heat any of your other joints) cool for a few seconds and place into your solder pot (using tweezers of course) after a few minutes remove from the pickle and wash in bicarb and water.

Finishing Touches
Give your pieces a good brush over with the wire brush and shape the eye pins into ear wires using a pen and a pair of pliers. At this point I like to use a cup burr to neaten up the prongs. I tend to use a blob of blue tack to hold my piece on a stone while I use the cup burr in my dremel so my fingers don't get too hot, then I pop them into the tumbler for an hour so they come out beautifully shiny and then carefully using my pliers I bend the prongs over the stones and they are finished!

Finished Earrings
You can also use the same technique (and a bit more patience) to make the following bracelet....

Summertime Challenge Piece
And now you are left to wear your wonderful holiday memories!

Etsy shop - Niky Sayers Artisan Jewellery


  1. Wonderful tutorial! Your earrings are gorgeous.

  2. Wow these are beautiful. Thanks for the detailed instructions!!

  3. Thanks for the great Tut Niky ! Love the waves for the back of the sea glass! And the bracelets were beautiful. <3

  4. I collect sea glass and pebbles, too, but can't solder. Instead, I wire weave but these designs look much better when soldered. I love both the earrings and the bracelet, apparently, soldering gives so many possibilities!

  5. Great tutorial Nicky, thanks for sharing!
    I have some seaglass I picked up in Northumberland I keep meaning to do something with and I've never done prong settings.........:D

  6. Wonderful. Is you bale made of tubing? Did you use medium solder for that join?

  7. Very nice glass. It looks like you have a big chunk of vaseline glass on top. Look in a dark closet with an ultraviolet flashlight.


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