Make Your Own Fine Gauge Headpins

by annalee on September 26, 2008

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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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

TeriB November 4, 2008 at 11:59 am

I’ve read so much about creating your own finding and components, and have thought about my need to really design my own clasps, S hooks, etc. It’s wonderful to see you bravely take that plunge! That needs to be my inspiration–so many plans, so much procrastination! Teri

Diana Evans October 2, 2008 at 9:15 am

WOW! this is wonderful Anna!!! neat that you made your own over the gas flame…very resourceful!I look forward to learning more from the group!!!HugsDiana

Anna Lee H. in Toronto October 1, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Hi Lois! Thanks for leaving your comment. BTW I’m sure you know this but I should clarify for other readers… that wire is Fine Silver not sterling. Fine silver melts back perfectly into what ever size of ball head you want plus it stays shiny (no black residue) so no need for pickle. But at 26g these headpins are very soft and should be tumble hardened for use with all but the tiniest of beaded clusters. -Anna Lee

A Beaded Affair October 1, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Gotta try this. I need the smaller gauge as well and haven’t had success in finding them either. Just wasn’t sure if I could really try the stove or not. Can’t wait until hubby comes home hungry and I’m busy cooking silver…Lois

Studio618 September 29, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Hooray for your success. Actually these homemade balled-headpins are better. I find the ready made ones unreliable because the balls can come off.

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