Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tutorial: Cascade Earrings

 DIY Cascade Earring Tutorial

Chain, Swarovski 4mm crystals in dark purple, gray 6mm pearl beads, and standard headpins
I also used sterling silver earring findings that I already had in my jewelry-making box, plus three tools (pliers, snips/wire cutter, and round-nose pliers).

1. Put a crystal bead on a headpin.

2. Holding the bead between my index finger and my thumb, I used my thumb nail to manually bend the wire to one side.

3. Using round-nose pliers, pinch the wire at the bend, and wind the wire around the nose to make a loop.

4. Cut the excess wire off and you are left with a loop. Don't worry about closing the loop yet. Also, don't worry if your loop looks funny (this one was actually the prettiest loop I've ever made...the rest are not this pretty!). I also realized at this point that I should have purchased shorter headpins so there would be less waste.

5. Repeat this process for the remaining beads you need. I used 11 crystal beads and 6 pearls (per earring).

6. Cut approximately 1 inch of wire. I have 13 links of chain on mine. (Your first try you may want to add more chain -- you can cut it off later.) Attach the earring finding to the end of the chain.

7. On the first chain link closest to the finding, put the first pearl on. Close the loop with the pliers.

8. Attach a crystal loop to the same loop that holds the pearl. (On the first chain link you now have two beads, one pearl and one crystal.)

9. On the next chain link, attach a crystal loop.

10. Repeat down the chain. I drew up a VERY CRUDE version of my pattern.

11. Make the final pearl be on a chain link by itself. Then space out two chain links before you add the final bead. I did this because I wanted it to create an upside-down teardrop effect, and also because the crystals are smaller than the pearls. The final crystal was getting lost in the pearl if I didn't do that.

12. Done!

Total Time Per Earring:
About 25 minutes. I know that is almost an hour per pair...which seems long. That's how long it's taking me right now and I'm hoping to become a master at this and pare it down to 15-20 minutes. But I think it's worth it!

I'd recommend purchasing full-size jewelry tools as opposed to the mini-tools they sell. The mini tools are great for small projects but they can really hurt your hands when you are doing projects as detailed as this.
You could also use a variety of beads. I think if I were to start over I might use a clear Swarovski crystal. You can also use a variety of sizes. I've seen some that use larger beads at the top and smaller beads towards the bottom (or reverse). Also, you could use a pretty bead cap on the end of the pearls to add more detail.


  1. what size chain did you use here? I found a lot of chains online but am having trouble deciding what is too big/too small! Thanks!

  2. I'm sorry! I have no idea what size chain I used here. I no longer have the packaging but I know I bought it at Hobby Lobby. I'd suggest going to a beading store instead of ordering it online. I always have a hard time with sizes of things when I see them online, too. I prefer to see them in person so I know what I'm getting. Sorry I can't be of more help -- and that this response is coming so long after yours.

  3. Pearl stud earrings have a touch of color just like pink or even
    golden and black. You don't need a special occasion to wear these earrings as it can be worn casually with any dress.
    These earrings can be found in different shapes, colors and sizes.