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Want to learn how to make hairpins?
The beautiful hair jewelry that you will be able to make is limited only by your imagination. Using the following jewelry making techniques, you will have the basics to start making hairpins for yourself and gifts for your friends and family.
All for a fraction of the cost if you bought them!!
This section deals with simple jewelry techniques and basic supplies.
Examples of Hair Jewelry That You Will Learn How To Make
SUPPLIES and WHERE to FIND THEM
Beading and jewelry supplies can be found almost anywhere.
- Beading and Craft Stores(staffed with enthusiastic beaders who would be happy to help with questions on how to make hairpins) can be found in or near most cities. Look in the Yellow Pages for one near you.Also, the craft departments of the large super stores may carry some of the supplies you need.
- Barrettes, combs and bobbie pins can be found in beauty supply stores, supermarkets, some beading and craft stores, to name just a few.
- Tools and glues can be found in hardware stores and the hardware department of the large super stores.
- The best source for beading and jewelry supplies, variety and price, is the internet. Search ”beading or jewelry supplies” and a multitude of websites will pop up.
- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads are a bit pricey but they carry almost anything you will ever need. It’s one stop shopping.
- Fire Mountain Gems and Beads also has an education section where you can find additional information on how to make hairpins and other types of jewelry.
- Blue Mud has the one of the best selection and prices for Swarovski Crystal (which are the most popular crystals used by beaders). They carry some sterling silver beads and supplies and are slowly increasing their inventory.
How to Make Hairpins
We select a particular wire for many reasons -
- The metal its made of (Sterling Silver, Copper, Stainless Steel,etc.)
- Its color (or lack of…).
- Its price.
- Its flexibility.
- Its hardness.
- Its strength.
- Its diameter
Color will be important to you if you think the wire will show and detract from the jewelry.(Sometimes exposed wire is intentional and it can be attractive.).
Price is always something to think about. We certainly don’t want to practice with sterling silver or gold wire. Stainless steel or color coated copper is a good choice
For our purposes, while learning how to make hairpins, we will focus on strength and diameter. These two usually (but not always) are directly related to each other, the thicker the wire (larger diameter) the stronger the wire.The diameter must be thin enough to go through all your beads at least once and the wire must be strong enough to make your hair pin durable.
So, how thick or strong should our wire be?
This is where it gets confusing. Wire diameters can be listed in millimeters, inches or by gauge.Gauge runs from about 16 to 36 and is inversely proportional to the diameter. This just means that the bigger the GAUGE number the smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire. Pick the largest diameter cord (smallest gauge) that will go through your smallest bead.
Wires are usually mini-cables and are made up of 7 to 49 strands. The more strands a wire is made of, the more flexible it is.
You don’t need a very strong or thick wire for hair jewelry. Pick a wire slightly thicker or stronger than the thinnest. If you have a range of 10 sizes, go up about 3 or 4 steps from the thinnest. If you get 5 choices, go up about 1 to 2 steps. These sizes should go through almost all beads at least once.
Pictures above - starting at top and going clockwise:These three wires will work will work well for the projects about to be described on the next page after How to Make Hairpins – DIY Hairpins
- Accuflex Wire - This is a name brand of stainless steel wire. There are many brands of wire available – Acculon, SoftFlex, etc. They come in a large variety of strengths, diameters and ranges of flexibility.
- Invisible Cord - aka illusion cord, fishing line. Great for projects where the cord might show. It come in black and translucent and one size – very thin but it is relativity strong. Draw back – The translucent can be difficult to see and can easily slips through your fingers if your not paying attention. Senior Citizens,(or anyone over 40) a magnifier helps!
- Gold Wire (also comes in silver) -38 gauge, which means it’s really thin! There is no brand name. I like it because it is thin, strong, very flexible and when twisted around itself(up to about 1 to 1.5 inches) can hold a bead vertically or at an angle. The importance of this will be demonstrated later.
This wire kinks easily and kinks can cause breakage So, stop and straighten your wire if you see a loop forming.
How to Make Hairpins
I’ve listed two types of glues, the ever popular Super Glue and E6000. Both can be found in a hardware store or hardware department and both will come in handy while learning how to make hairpins.
Super Glue works fast so you have no working time. It is good when you want to add a drop to secure a knot or quickly fix a bead in place and be done with it. I like the gel formula as it is easier to control. It’s supposed to be clear but it will be visible when dry. Super Glue can be brittle. Don’t use it on just a few strands of wire or cord. The glue may cause them to break.
E6000 is a good all purpose household glue. It holds well and I use this to glue beads on to another surface, The value of this will be described later.
E6000 will give you time to reposition your beads, an important factor when learning how to make hairpins. Give the glue 24 to 36 hours to completely dry. When dry, the glue is flexible and translucent. (See hair comb above.)You can also use this to smooth out any rough areas which might tangle in the hair.
How to Make Hairpins
Starting at the top and clockwise
- You will need a pair of wire cutters or an old pair of scissors that you won’t mind dinging. Again these can be purchased at any hardware store or hardware department.
- Tweezers are handy to grab a thread, loosen a knot or pick up beads. Unfortunately, your hand may tire quickly with tweezers. Chain nosed pliers (see below) do a much better job in picking out that rare bead and is much easier on your hand muscles.
- Flat nosed pliers, on the lower right, are made to work with wire. Notice the nylon cover which helps prevent the tool from marring soft wire such as silver.
- Flat nosed pliers can also be used to temper metal. Tempering (moving, bending, tapping, pounding, etc.) metal will make it harder. This is important if you want the wire to more firmly hold a shape. You can gently tap( the wire with your flat nosed pliers open and close quickly) to make it harder. (Caution! Working with metal too much will make it brittle and may cause it to break.)
- If you don’t plan on wire wrapping, you probably won’t need flat nosed pliers too often. A rubber mallet hammer can be used to temper. So check your garage or toolbox before buying these.
- Chain nosed pliers are a really handy tool to have whether you are learning how to make hairpins or you’ve advanced to the expert level. They can pick up beads easily, grab short wires, loosen knots and make sharp bends in wire, to name a few. This tool is Highly Recommended It will make your life easier while learning how to make hairpins.
A single tool can range in price from a few dollars to nearly $100.00. Invest wisely.
The BEAD BOARD
The Bead board can be found in craft departments, craft stores and online and can cost anywhere between $3.00 to $20.00. They hold the beads you selected to use for your project. The grooves will keep your beads from rolling around.
All jewelry designers, from the novice, learning how to make hairpins, to the expert spread out their beads and rearrange them to get the most appealing combination. The bead board helps make this easier.
If you are planning a limited beading career, just making a few pieces of jewelry after learning how to make hairpins, you can also work on a terry cloth towel (very short nap) or a piece of velvet material to keep your beads in one place.
No matter how careful you are, some beads will fall on the floor. I guarantee it! Therefore, it’s best not to work over a plush carpet The beads will quickly sink between the fibers and you may never find some of them.
Considering the large numbers of 2mm sterling silver beads in my carpet, when I sell my home, I’m adding on an extra $500 to the price for the added attraction of a “Treasure Hunt for Lost Treasure” that awaits the new owner!
If needed, a hands free magnifying glass can make learning how to make hairpins even more enjoyable. You’ll string your beads easily and quickly.
How to Make Hairpins
BEADS USED IN HAIR JEWELRY
The number of bead colors, sizes, materials, shapes, etc. are daunting. If you can imagine it, it’s out there. It’s easy to get caught up in a buying frenzie, so start with a shopping list of the beads you’ll need when practicing how to make hairpins.
Swarovski Crystal Beads are thought by most to be the finest crystal in the world and are one of the most popular beads used by beaders. These are pricey and your bill can add up quickly.
Many shapes are available but I like using bicones the best. They are, relatively, reasonably priced, their angles catch and reflect light beautifully and are available in almost all Swarovski colors and effects.
Swarovski Effects refers to the special coating on some of the crystal beads which give them a different or unusual appearance.The name of the special effect follows the name of the color of the bead, ex: Sapphire AB(aurora borealis) and satin.
The term BEAD is loosely used to describe anything you can string onto something. Generally, beads can be broken into 2 categories – top-drilled/pendants and beads, with the term “bead” referring to most everything other than top-drilled. Beads usually have the hole through the middle.
The only time this is important to know is when you are searching for a particular style in a breading catalog or on line. Many of these terms are interchangeable, so take care to get what you want.
A few basic beads and stringing(or attachment) techniques will meet most hair jewelry needs.
The picture on the top left shows numerous flat beads and a bobbie pin with an attached flat disc (Fire Mountain) Using E6000 glue, simply glue a flat bead on to the disc at the end of the bobbie pin, position and hold the two together until the bond is secure. Give the piece at least 24 hours to completely dry. You’ve just made your 1st piece of hair jewelry.
The second picture (on the right) has the addition of a perforated disk. You can use this to make bead clusters and will be described on the next page “DIY Hairpins” where I will give instructions on how to make specific examples of hair jewelry.
The third picture on the left shows Swarovski beads called bicones. The hole is at the top and, therefore, it is referred to as top drilled” or “pendants”.
The fourth picture (on the right) shows a wire going through a pendant style bicone and a round bead with the hole through the middle.
The last two pictures in the bottom row demonstrates a stringing technique used when you need a bead, with the hole drilled through the middle, to be strung or hang as a pendant. String a wire through the hole add a very small bead and then string the wire back through the bead. The hole must be large enough for your wire to go through twice.
My last words about beads will be about bead chips.
I don’t have any exampled of hair jewelry made with bead chips but I have used them in bracelets and necklaces. See the section on “Sets Special Occasions” (Navigation Bar on left margin) Morning Mist Necklace and Bracelet.
I bring these up because they are a good way to incorporate some, usually expensive gemstones, inexpensively into your designs.
The picture above, with 5 groups of gemstones, shows the wide range of chip sizes available.The stones at the 9 o’clock position are large enough to be considered nuggets. The other 4 groups would be considered chips.
Notice hoe small and thin the chips are in the group on the lower right side (about the 4 o’clock position). These are usuallt referred to as mini chips, or at least “small” will be wsed in the description.
FYI: I find these difficult to work with. The holes are hard to find and he chips are often broken and unusable.Choose the size that fits your design
How to Make Hairpins
BARRETTES, BOBBIE PINS, CLASPS
The base for your hair jewelry can be found in many places – on beading supply websites, in grocery stores, beauty supply stores, etc. You probably have a few possibilities already in the back of a drawer that you could practice with while learning how to make hairpins.
If a plain hair clip has a hole to stick a string through or a place to wrap a wire around, it can be used to make hair jewelry!
Keep in mind that when finished with your hairpin, in most instances, the hairpin will still need to clasp firmly shut. Take care not to block or hinder the clasp with wires, glues. etc., when practicing how to make hairpins.