Around here I am kind of known as the “cluster earring girl”. I guess you could say it’s my signature. I just love to make earrings that resemble little bundle of grapes! Anytime I see a new bead, be it a keishi freshwater pearl or a hematite cube, I imagine, how would those look in cluster dangling from my ear?
I am going to show you how to make a basic cluster, using some sparkly glass beads. Once you get the basic “formula” down, the possibilities are really endless, and the results are always beautiful! You can embellish this style by adding charms, graduating the size of the beads, or mixing different materials. Clusters can be at the top of the earring, nested above a delicately wire-wrapped briolette, or they can be hanging from a focal bead or metal connector.
There are only a couple of steps to follow when it comes to making this type of earring.
Step 1. Choose a bead that has a size anywhere from about 3mm to 8mm. You can use a round, cube, chip, or rondelle shape; both smooth or faceted beads will work. Depending on how long you want the earrings you will need anywhere from 5 to 21 beads per earring.
Step 2. Choose head pins. My favorite are ball-end, but any head pins will work. If you are doing a simple loop, 1″ headpins are long enough. If you would like to try a wrapped loop you will want 1.5″ or longer.
Step 3. Assemble your cluster pieces. Do this by putting one bead onto every headpin and securing with a loop. You can do a simple loop or for a fancier look try a wrapped loop. Use side-cutters to clip any excess wire and chain nose pliers to tuck the extra wire. Assemble all the beads on head pins, before you assemble the earrings.
Step 4. Once you have all of your pieces made, you can begin assembling the clusters. To do this you will need jump rings. Smaller jump rings will create a tighter cluster, larger jump rings will make a looser, more airy cluster. I follow a very basic pattern for the assembly. On the first jump ring, place only one looped head pin. Add a jump ring and two more head pins, one on each side. Continue, forming a chain until you reach your desired length.
Step 5. Attach ear wires! I sometimes I add one more looped head pin to the ear wire itself, though this step is not necessary. It’s that simple! (p.s. the earring wires I used are niobium! They are great for sensitive ears and will match your antique copper and antique brass earring designs!)
Examples of Cluster Style Earrings
Well, I hope you enjoyed my tutorial 🙂 For more designs with “Cluster Stlye” check out the design gallery at our online store, Rings-things.com. If you have any questions about the beads I used for any of these earrings please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Happy Beading!
Tiffany @ The Rings and Things Showroom
Other great how-to blogs: