Friday, September 26, 2008

Make Your Own Fine Gauge Headpins

Thanks to my cyber Sis and fellow eSMArts member Carlotta (of CarlottaP on etsy) who straightened me out on the fundamentals of creating my own sterling silver ball end head pins. Shown above is my first batch created using 26 gauge wire.

Now handmade 26 gauge sterling silver ball end headpins may not sound exciting, but the smallest diameter headpins usually offered for sale at the largest and most abundantly stocked gem shows is 24 gauge. So in order to work with the majority of the faceted precious gemstone beads (sapphire, emerald and ruby) you either need to fabricate your own 26g or 28g headpins or find a great source.Carlotta's Prehnite drop with Tourmaline, Apatite, Citrine Gemstone Cluster drop EarringsPurchasing these little darlings can get expensive.

I've lately been scouring the jewelry making world to even find them. There are a few sources to purchase these handmade findings on etsy, but most of those vendors don't offer a reliable year round supply, offering just overstock or small handmade lots on an ad hoc basis.

But forget about buying them. If you have a small torch (you can even use your gas range stovetop like I did) these are extremely easy (and fun) to make! On my first try (batch on the left) the ball ends were perhaps a bit smaller than I'd like. So in the remainder of this lot I made the ends more plump.

These headpins range from 3/4 to 1 3/4 inches in length. I find the 3/4 inch length is perfect for tiny gem clusters but in future, I'll make them in 28 gauge as well with varying lengths and the larger heads.
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