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How to Make Romantic Beaded Heart Earrings Jewelry

Margaret Schindel has designed, created and sold one-of-a-kind and custom handcrafted jewelry for decades. She loves sharing her techniques.

Make these beautiful, easy heart dangle earrings to wear or give as a Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, anniversary or birthday gift, or for bridal or bridesmaid jewelry gifts.

Make these beautiful, easy heart dangle earrings to wear or give as a Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, anniversary or birthday gift, or for bridal or bridesmaid jewelry gifts.

Making Romantic Heart-Themed Earrings

These beautiful heart-themed earrings are the perfect accessory to dress up a simple outfit. They also make a wonderful gift for a special occasion like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, a birthday or anniversary, or just to say "I love you" to someone special. This simple, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make a pair in less than an hour!

The design features jointed dangles to create movement, so the crystal beads sparkle and shine. For extra glitz, you can replace the corrugated silver rondelle tire beads with silver-plated crystal rondelle spacers. And whether you use sterling silver findings and rare vintage beads and Swarovski crystals, as I did, or substitute less expensive beads, the earrings you make will look like a million bucks.

Different Colors Can Change the Look Significantly

You can change the appearance of these earrings quite a bit just by choosing different bead colors or finishes to suit your preference, coordinate with a special outfit, or create a different mood.

For example, you can easily adapt this design for bridal earrings by substituting clear crystal or crystal AB (aurora borealis-coated) vertically-drilled heart-shaped beads (I recommend 12 mm Swarovski crystal heart beads, style 5741) for the red hearts.

You can also choose heart-shaped and/or round faceted beads in your wedding colors and make several pairs as gifts for the bridesmaids and matron or maid of honor.

What You Will Need for This Project

Time required:

Approximately 20–60 minutes, depending on your level of jewelry making experience

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Varies depending on beads, findings and tools selected and purchased vs. on-hand

Materials

  • Two silver 1.5" head pins, 23 or 24 gauge. I prefer using sterling silver but you can also use silver-plated pins.
  • Two silver 2" eye pins, 23 or 24 gauge. Again, I use sterling eye pins, but you can use silver-plated ones if you prefer.
  • Two 4.5 mm silver corrugated rondelle tire beads OR two 4–6 mm clear crystal and silver rondelle spacer beads for more glitz.
  • One pair of sterling silver or silver-plated earring findings with a loop for hanging the beaded dangle. These can be lever back, fish hook, post, or clip earrings, according to your or your recipient's preference.
  • Eight 3 mm pearls, cream or white. You can use natural freshwater pearls or high-quality glass pearls. Swarovski makes beautiful glass pearls (style 5810) in a wide range of colors.
  • Two clear crystal 3 mm bicone beads. I recommend Preciosa crystal or Swarovski crystal Xilion bicones (style 5328) for the best clarity and sparkle.
  • Four clear crystal 4 mm bicone beads. Again, the Preciosa crystal or Swarovski crystal Xilion bicone beads (style 5328) are the best choice.
  • Two 7 x 5 mm or 8 x 6 mm vertically drilled jet black faceted glass teardrop beads, either Czech fire polish or vintage Swarovski crystal teardrop beads (style 5500), if you can find them. Swarovski 9 x 6 mm crystal teardrop beads, which are currently in production, could also work in this design.
  • Two vertically-drilled 12 mm red glass heart-shaped beads or the new Swarovski crystal heart-shaped beads (style 5741). If you can't find 12 mm heart-shaped beads, you can substitute any size between 10 mm and 14 mm, although obviously the proportions of the design will change.
  • Two 8 mm jet black faceted round crystal beads. Again, choose Swarovski or Preciosa crystal for the best sparkle. Alternatively, you could substitute jet-fire polished glass beads.

Tools

  • Flocked bead board AKA beading board (optional but recommended)
  • Very fine pearl reamer (if using natural pearls)
  • Nylon-jaw pliers (optional)
  • Two pairs of pliers, your choice of bent-nose, chain-nose and/or needle-nose pliers (I recommend using at least one bent-nose pair)
  • Round-nose pliers
  • Standard size crimping pliers (suitable for 2 mm crimp beads)
  • Small, sharp, tapered or angled flush cutters

Choosing Jewelry Pliers and Other Basic Tools

As a jewelry designer, I own a large collection of pliers, including a few that are quite expensive. If you aren't a jewelry professional, you certainly don't need to invest in top-of-the-line tools. If you are very new to making beaded jewelry or only create a few pieces a year, you probably can make do with inexpensive "economy" pliers from the crafts store.

But if you enjoy creating these types of projects and plan to make them frequently, you'll probably get more than your money's worth by buying a few pairs of reasonably priced, good-quality pliers. They can help you work more comfortably and achieve better, more professional-looking results faster and easier than you could with cheap, poor-quality tools.

There are also some inexpensive tools that work fine. I'll share which types of tools I think are worth spending a bit more on and which ones are fine to use cheap versions.

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The Tools I Used in This Project

I'll start with two of my favorites. The first is the Baby Wubbers Fine Round Nose Jewelry Pliers. The short, cushioned handles fit my small hands very comfortably, and as you can see in the step-by-step photos, the narrow tips make it easy to form very small, neat loops at the tops of the head pins and eye pins that don't distract from the beads or the design.

In addition, the jaws of these Baby Wubbers pliers are less likely than most others to mar fine gauge wire, such as the thin 23 or 24 gauge wire head pins and eye pins in these earrings. I recommend these highly for people with small hands and for projects that use lightweight wire. Wubbers also makes full-length version of these fine round nose jewelry pliers that are great for people with medium- to large-size hands and for forming heavier gauge wire.

I also used Xuron 450BN Bent Nose Pliers. What I love most about these is that their tips are shorter and narrower than those of most other bent-nose pliers I've tried. I use them much more often than I did my previous bent-nose pliers, in large part because the short, narrow bent tips make opening and closing jump rings—especially small, lightweight rings—so much easier!

The pliers and cutters with the two-tone light blue and black handles are made by Excelta. They're designed for comfort and precision work (albeit in the microelectronics industry), so they're a very good choice for jewelry making and very well priced. The company changed the material it uses for the grips (the parts that cover the handles) after I purchased my set about six or seven years ago. I don't own any with the newer, single-color aqua grips, so I can't confirm the manufacturer's claim that the new material is an improvement.

However, assuming the company hasn't changed anything else, I can definitely vouch for the quality of the pliers for jewelry-making purposes. They're certainly not top-of-the-line, like Tronex or Swanstrom, but for anyone who isn't a full-time jewelry professional, they're a great option.

Which Tools Can You Cheap Out On?

For a couple of tools, there are inexpensive models that work fine for most projects. For example, the Hakko CHP-170 Micro Soft Wire Cutter makes nice, clean, flush cuts on fine to medium gauge soft wire and is ridiculously cheap. And I've been using the same pair of fairly inexpensive crimping pliers for probably fifteen years. (True, they don't work as well as they used to, but they still work well enough for me to get by until I can afford to upgrade them.) Put the money you save on those into getting better quality round nose, chain nose, flat nose and bent nose pliers.

Choose Function Over Looks

Don't feel you need to buy a matching set of tools from a single brand or line. As with kitchen knives, you can often get better quality for the same or less money by choosing each type of pliers you need individually and mixing and matching.

Step 1: Set Up Your Work Area

In the culinary world, "mise en place" refers to setting up the kitchen workspace and doing all the prep work for each ingredient before the chef begins to cook, so that everything is ready to use and where it belongs. I find it very helpful to go through a similar setup, selecting, setting out and organizing whatever materials, tools, supplies and equipment I will need before beginning any type of project, be it jewelry, crafts, painting or DIY. If any of the materials need to be prepped before use, this is the time to do it.

Create Your Jewelry "Mise en Place"

  1. Choose someplace with good natural light, or use a task lamp with a good daylight bulb. I recommend using some form of magnification whenever you are doing a jewelry making project.
  2. Choose and set out the beads and findings you will use. I almost always design jewelry projects on a flocked bead board with channels and recessed compartments to keep the materials organized. The flocked surface prevents the beads from rolling around and, very likely, off the work surface and onto the floor (voice of experience here!).
  3. Place the pliers, cutters and whatever else you need within easy reach.
  4. If one of the eye pins or head pins you will be using is curved or slightly bent, take a moment to straighten it by pulling it through nylon jaw pliers three or four times, rotating the wire approximately 1/4 turn between passes.
  5. If using natural pearls, check to see whether the holes are large enough for the head pins and eye pins to fit through. If necessary, widen the hole slightly with a very fine wire pearl reamer, dipping the tip of the reamer in water frequently to lubricate it and rinse away the material you removed from the hole.
Beads and findings for making the romantic Queen of Hearts beaded heart drop earrings in this tutorial.

Beads and findings for making the romantic Queen of Hearts beaded heart drop earrings in this tutorial.

Step 2: Make the Bottom Section of the Dangles

Each earring dangle is made up of two sections that are attached to form a hinged joint to add extra movement. We'll start by making the bottom section of each dangle.

Slide the Beads Onto the Head Pin

Thread the following beads in order onto a head pin:

  • One 3 mm crystal bicone bead
  • One 7 mm x 5 mm faceted glass teardrop bead
  • One 3 mm pearl
Threading the beads onto the head pin for the bottom part of the beaded dangle

Threading the beads onto the head pin for the bottom part of the beaded dangle

Bend the Excess Head Pin Wire to Start a Wrapped Loop

Use the remaining wire that extends above the beads the create a wrapped loop:

  • Grasp the head pin just above the beads with chain nose, needle nose or fine bent nose pliers.
  • Use your fingers to bend the rest of the wire over one jaw of the pliers at a 90-degree angle.
  • Remove the dangle from the pliers.
Making the 90-degree bend in the wire of the beaded head pin

Making the 90-degree bend in the wire of the beaded head pin

Make the First Half of the Loop

  • Hold the bent "leg" of the wire between the tips of the round-nose pliers, placing them right against the bend you just made.
  • Hold the end of the wire with your fingers and pull it over and around the top jaw of the pliers, making a partial loop.
Making the top half of the wire wrapped loop

Making the top half of the wire wrapped loop

Make the Second Half of the Loop

  • Re-position the pliers so the tips are holding the top, rather than the bottom, of the partial loop you just made.
    • Tip: Don't hold the jaws closed too tightly or they will likely mar the wire.
Repositioning the round nose pliers in the top half of the wire loop

Repositioning the round nose pliers in the top half of the wire loop

  • Pull the wire the rest of the way around to complete the loop, with the remaining tail extending at a 90-degree angle.
Completing the loop at the top of the beaded headpin

Completing the loop at the top of the beaded headpin

Begin Wire Wrapping the Loop

  • Use your fingers to bend the tail back down very slightly so that the first wire wrap will start directly under the loop and not wrap around it.
Pulling the wire tail down a bit below the 90-degree angle

Pulling the wire tail down a bit below the 90-degree angle

Wrap the Tail to Create a Tight Coil

  • Grasp the loop you just made between the jaws of a chain-nose, needle-nose or bent-nose pliers. You also can use a flat-nose pliers for this if you prefer. Place the jaws of the pliers across the loop, not inside it, with the lower edge of the jaws right at the bottom of the loop. Note: In the photo I'm holding just one edge of the loop in the pliers so you can see the loop, but you want to place the jaws of the pliers across the entire width of the loop.
  • Use your fingers or another pair of pliers to grab the very tip of the wire and wrap it snugly in a coil, starting the first wrap directly under the loop. Continue wrapping until you reach the top of the pearl.
Wrapping the wire to make a wire wrapped loop

Wrapping the wire to make a wire wrapped loop

Trim the Wire Flush

  • Use the flush cutters to trim the wire as close to the pearl as you can, taking care not to scratch the pearl with the cutters.
  • As you will see in the close-up inset in the photo below, no matter how closely you are able to trim the wire, the very end will stick out a bit and need to be tucked in. Wrap the wire a little bit past where you want to trim it, then loosen the end just enough to allow you to make the cut. Curving the wire tail before you trim it will make it easier to tuck in the trimmed end neatly.
Close-up of the trimmed wire wrapped loop

Close-up of the trimmed wire wrapped loop

Tuck the Tail of the Wire Under the Coil

  • While it's possible to use the tip of a chain-nose or needle-nose pliers to tuck in the trimmed wire end, it's faster, easier and neater to use this professional trick. Place the wrapped wire coil inside the outer opening in the jaws of a standard-size crimping pliers and squeeze gently. This tucks in the trimmed wire end more neatly than using pliers with straight jaws, because the end of the wire continues the curve of the coil.
  • Make sure to use the opening near the tips of the jaws (the one used to round a crimped crimp bead) so you don't ruin your wrapped loop.
Use the outer opening in a pair of crimping pliers to tuck in the trimmed wire tail of the headpin neatly and to round the wire wrap

Use the outer opening in a pair of crimping pliers to tuck in the trimmed wire tail of the headpin neatly and to round the wire wrap

Here's what your dangle should look like after you use the crimping pliers to tuck in the end of the wire. See how much neater it looks than before?

You'll also notice that the loop isn't perfectly round. No worries—we'll fix that next.

The wire wrapped loop with the trimmed end tucked in and the wrapped section of wire rounded with the crimping pliers

The wire wrapped loop with the trimmed end tucked in and the wrapped section of wire rounded with the crimping pliers

Re-Round the Loop, if Needed

If your loop needs re-rounding (and it probably will), slide it onto one of the jaws of the round nose pliers. Keeping the jaws open, use your fingers to gently push and wiggle the loop toward the base of the jaw, rounding the loop. Take care to keep the dangle perpendicular to the jaw.

Slide the dangle off the pliers jaw, turn it around to the other side and repeat the pushing and wiggling motion to finish rounding the loop, taking care not to accidentally bend the loop at an angle.

Re-rounding the completed wrapped loop with the round nose pliers

Re-rounding the completed wrapped loop with the round nose pliers

As you can see in the photo below, the formerly misshapen loop is now perfectly round. This completes the bottom section of the dangle.

The completed wire wrapped loop

The completed wire wrapped loop

Make a Matching Bottom Dangle Section

Repeat Step 2, periodically checking the dangle in progress against the completed one to make sure they match. Pay particular attention to the size of the loop and its distance from the pearl at the top.

Step 3: Make the Top Section of the Dangles

Follow the instructions below to help you make the top section of your earrings' dangles.

Slide the Beads Onto the Eye Pin

Thread the following beads in order onto a 2" eye pin:

  • One 3 mm pearl
  • One 12 mm heart-shaped bead
  • Another 3 mm pearl
  • One 4.5 mm corrugated silver rondelle tire bead or a 5 mm crystal rondelle
  • One 4 mm crystal bicone bead
  • One 8 mm jet faceted crystal or glass round bead or a vintage jet Swarovski bead, Art. 349 or Art. 5101
  • Another 4 mm crystal bicone
  • Another 3 mm pearl

Note: For the Queen of Hearts Earrings shown in the photos I used two styles of rare vintage beads from my personal bead collection: red opaque glass heart beads and jet (black) vintage Swarovski crystal "aspirin" beads, Art. 349 (later renumbered Swarovski Art. 5101). However, I designed these earrings to look just as good made with contemporary pressed or lampwork glass heart beads and 8 mm round faceted glass or crystal beads.

The beads for the top half of the beaded dangle threaded onto the silver eye pin

The beads for the top half of the beaded dangle threaded onto the silver eye pin

Make a Wrapped Loop

  • Repeat what you did in Step 2 to create the loop and wire wrap it.

Rotate the Eye Pin Loop

Rotating the unwrapped eye pin loop at the bottom of the upper dangle component at a 90-degree angle makes the loops at the tops of the upper and lower dangle sections face the same direction:

  • Hold the loops at the top and bottom of this upper dangle section firmly, using two pairs of chain-nose, needle-nose, flat-nose and/or bent-nose pliers. (The jaws of the pliers should be across each loop, not inside it.)
  • Turn the plain, unwrapped eye pin loop at the bottom of the upper dangle at right angles to the wrapped loop at the top.
By rotating the "eye" at the bottom of the eye pin 90 degrees, the loops at the tops of the upper and lower dangle sections will face the same direction in the assembled earring.

By rotating the "eye" at the bottom of the eye pin 90 degrees, the loops at the tops of the upper and lower dangle sections will face the same direction in the assembled earring.

Step 4: Connect the Top and Bottom Sections

The next important step is connecting the earrings' top and bottom sections.

Open the Eye Pin Loop

Next, we need to open the loop of the eye pin.

  • Hold the completed top section of the dangle upside down, so the open loop is at the top and the wrapped loop is at the bottom.
Diagram of upside-down top section of beaded earring dangle indicating the unattached half of the eye pin loop.

Diagram of upside-down top section of beaded earring dangle indicating the unattached half of the eye pin loop.

  • Using chain-nose, bent-nose or flat-nose pliers, grasp the unattached half of the loop (annotated on diagram, above).
  • Gently angle that half of the loop either forward or back just a little, as shown in the photo.
Twist the unattached half of the eye pin loop forward or back to open it

Twist the unattached half of the eye pin loop forward or back to open it

Hook the Bottom Section Into the Opened Eye Pin Loop

  • Slide the wrapped loop of the bottom dangle section onto the eye pin loop you just opened.
Hang the bottom section of the beaded dangle on the opened eye pin loop of the upper section

Hang the bottom section of the beaded dangle on the opened eye pin loop of the upper section

Close the Eye Pin Loop

  • Use the pliers to close the eye pin loop by holding the side you opened, reversing the direction of the movement you used to open the loop.

Note: Opening and closing an eye pin is similar to opening and closing a jump ring. To maintain the round shape of the wire loop without distorting it, the loop should be opened by angling the two halves of the ring on a vertical plane (one half toward you and the other half away from you), rather than by pulling the sides apart horizontally.

Complete the Second Dangle

Repeat Step 4 to connect the top and bottom components of the second dangle.

Close the eye pin loop to finish attaching the lower part of the beaded dangle

Close the eye pin loop to finish attaching the lower part of the beaded dangle

Step 5: Attach the Ear Wires or Earring Findings

The next step in the procedure is attaching the ear wries or earring findings.

Open the Loop on the Ear Wire or Earring Finding

To attach the dangles to the ear wires or other earring findings, such as ear clips:

  • Twist open the loop on each earring finding the same way you opened the plain loop of the eye pin in Step 4. Open the loop just enough to be able to slide the wrapped loop at the top of the beaded dangle through the gap.
Twist open the loop of the ear wire just enough to slide on the beaded dangle

Twist open the loop of the ear wire just enough to slide on the beaded dangle

Attach the Dangle and Close the Loop

  • Slide the earring dangle into the open loop of the ear wire.
  • Use pliers to close the ear wire loop, reversing the motion you used to open it.

Tip: Try to open and close each ear wire loop only once since bending the metal back and forth can cause that part of the loop to weaken or break off, ruining the ear wire.

Repeat to attach the remaining dangle to the other earring finding.

Open the loop on the ear wire to attach the beaded dangle

Open the loop on the ear wire to attach the beaded dangle

These beautiful drop earrings are ready to wear or to give as a gift.

Completed beaded heart drop earrings made from this tutorial

Completed beaded heart drop earrings made from this tutorial

Another view of the finished earrings

Another view of the finished earrings

© 2014 Margaret Schindel

Comments

mmcuthbertson0@gmail.com on September 01, 2018:

Yes yes I love them I would make them for myself and for friends thank you very much.

Wednesday-Elf on February 03, 2018:

These earrings are beautiful. I've never tried to make my own jewelry, but your tutorial makes the steps look fairly easy. I may have to give it a try sometime.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 02, 2018:

Thank you so much, Cynthia! Actually, it really doesn't take that much practice to learn to do the wire wraps neatly. It helps to have good-quality pliers, good natural light or task lighting, and some form of magnification. Thanks again for your lovely feedback!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 02, 2018:

It is that time of the year again! I really do love these earrings and your fantastic tutorial. I am amazed at how pretty and even your "wire tail" is. I am wondering how many years of practice I will need before I can make such a neat loop.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on May 15, 2016:

@ecogranny, thanks so much for that wonderful compliment! I truly appreciate your kind feedback.If you ever decide you want to try your hand at making these, please let me know. I'd be delighted to help you with any questions or problems!