Basic Skills - How to use headpins


Headpins are a component used in jewelry making most often when using beads and making earrings adding wrapped beads to finished chains. Headpins are found in different finished, lengths and gauges to suit your jewelry making needs. Headpins also come with a variety of different heads including ball end, flat end T, dome, open eye and more.

Note: If you are making earrings or matching pendants, create them step-by-step as you go to ensure they are matching.

Tools: chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, bent chain nose pliers, cutters

Materials: Assorted headpins- flat end T pins, open eye pins and ball pins, beads or pearls

How to wire wrap a bead with head pins

Step 1: Choos pin style, choose beads

*When choose finding compatible beads and pins be aware of the gauge thickness of the pin, and the hole size of the bead. Some beads have very fine holes and will not fit thicker gauge wires. Also note the tip of the pin, if the hole of the bead is larger eg. 2mm wide, a ball pin with a 1.5mm ball end will not be suitable for this bead, it will fall right over the tip. **See gauge conversion chart after video.

Step 2: String bead or beads onto pin

Step 3: Using round nose pliers, grip wire about 2-3mm above top bead, slightly twist creating a kink creating about a 30-40 degree angle. 

Step 4: Readjust pliers to sit at tip of the twist

Step 5: Pull wire all the way around making a full loop with tail coming straight across where loop ends- use either thumb to push along round nose pliers or for thicker gauge wire use pliers

Step 6: Gently grip loop with pliers, do not squeeze too hard or you will mark the wire or distort the loop. 

Step 7: Grip tail with 2nd set of bent chain nose pliers and begin twisting, wrapping around the visible wire above the beads. Wrap as close to loop as possible and continue wrapping around keeping coils tight. Wrap all the way down to the top bead.

*NOTE: The space given above the last bead will determine how much wrapping you will need to do. The 2-3 recommended is about 2-3 coils depending on wire gauge. If you want more coil, leave more space and wrap all the way down to the top bead. This is based on your design alone, as long as there is one solid coil the beads will be secure.

Step 8: Once down to the top bead, you may have excess wire. If needed cut the tail with wire cutters.

Step 9: Tuck the tail in, gently push it inwards toward the coil. Careful not to scratch the surface of the beads, especially pearls.

Here you have a complete wire wrapped bead or beads on a head pin, creating a pendant, charm or dangle for earrings.

To make a set of earrings follow the next 3 steps.

Step 10: Choose earwire, if it has an opening, open the ring/tip ( our demo uses the simple ball fish hooks that twist open)

Step 11: Guide loop along earwire securing in position

Step12: Close up erwire ending


NOTE: If the earwire you are using has a closed ring to attach pendants and dangles then you can either use an open jumpring and attach the dangle or refer back to steps. Between step 6 and 7 you will have a loop and the tail sticking out. Here you can feed the tail leading to the loop through the closed ring of the eariwire. The ear wire will then just dangle as you complete the steps. Then continue wrapping and the dangles loop is secure in the closed ring of the earwire.



Gauge to mm Conversion Chart (approx.)
0.3mm = 28 gauge
0.4mm = 26 gauge
0.5mm = 24 gauge
0.6mm = 22 gauge
0.7mm = 21 gauge
0.8mm = 20 gauge
0.9mm = 19 gauge
1.0mm = 18 gauge
With the open variety of headpins available there are limitless possibilities of what can be done with them. These steps outline the very basic of skills in using headpins. 
All materials in the video are sterling silver, gold plated sterling silver and oxidized sterling silver along with an assortment of pearls and beads. 
Thank you
Leave your comment
Only registered users can leave comments.