How Did I End Up Here?

In my welcome statement on this blog, I wrote about myself and what I make.  I never really got into why I wanted to start a blog about jewelry design with easy to follow tutorials.

When I got started making jewelry, like most people, I bought components such as ear wires, chain, earring hoops, etc.  As I moved forward in my jewelry making I wanted to learn to make these things for myself.  I found some free on-line tutorials that confused me even more, and even a few videos on You Tube. Everything seemed so scattered around the web it got mind boggling at times.   I’m not saying these tutorials weren’t good, I just am a different type of student, I guess.  I started to just learn by looking at something I wanted to make, and then through trial and error I eventually had my own little way of doing things.

My hope for this blog is that people who are just beginning their jewelry making journey, and even those who are further along, have a place to come for basic, straight forward jewelry tutorials all in one place.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, let me know and I’ll make it happen.  I’m no expert.  I’m someone just like you who wanted to learn how to make jewelry, made it happen, and now wants to share what I’ve learned with you.

I hope you find this blog fun as well as helpful.


Heidi Kinnally

HeidiLee Design




Easy Wire Wrapped Stud Earrings














In this mini tutorial you will learn step by step how to make a pair of stud earring from wire and a couple of beads.  I recommend starting this project with copper wire, and as you become familiar with the technique you can begin working with sterling silver and gold wire.  I always use dead soft wire for this project.  Always take safety precautions by wearing protective eyewear.


3 1/2″ – 4″ of 20 Gauge Wire

2  6mm Round Beads


Wire Cutters

Flat Nose Pliers

Jeweler’s File



Step 1: Taking one length of your 20 gauge wire and your flat nose pliers and bend back 1″ of the wire at a 90 degree angle.











Step 2: Add your bead onto the longer length of wire, bringing it all the way to the bend.  Then take the shorter length of wire and bend t all the way over the bead.  Using your flat nose pliers, bend the wire back out starting at the middle of the bead.  This will be your post.












Step 3: Holding the post between your thumb and index finger with the front of the bead showing, begin wrapping the wire around the outside of the bead.  When you get where the wire first went through the hole, you want to continue wrapping over the front of that wire, then bring it back behind when you reach where you started wrapping.












Step 4: Your wire should be wrapped around the outside of the bead two times.  Using your wire cutters, cut off an excess wire.










Step 5: Leaving a post length of 3/4″, use your wire cutters to remove any excess wire.  File the end of your post smooth with your jeweler’s file.











Step 6: Now that your first stud is complete, all that’s left to do is repeat steps 1 through 5 to complete the other earring.  Now you can experiment with different beads and gemstones and a variety of wire.



Wire Basics: Wire Wrapped Beaded Ring




In this step by step tutorial you will learn to make a basic wire  wrapped ring with one bead.  Always take saftey precautions by wearing protective eyewear and gloves.  In this project I will be using 20 gauge copper wire.  This project can also be done using 18 gauge if the hole in the bead is large enough for it to fit through.  I always use dead soft wire.



Tools and Materials:

One 12″-15″ piece of 20 gauge wire

Ring Mandrel

Wire Cutters

Flat nose Pliers

Jeweler’s File

One 6-10 mm Bead

Liver of Sulfur (optional)

Step 1: Begin by sliding your bead onto the center of the length of wire and bending it do that both ends are pointing down.











Step 2: Using your flat nose pliers, bend the wire away from the bead, making somewhat of an “L” shape.  Repeat on the other side.











Step 3: Place the wire onto your ring mandrel in the size you want it to be and wrap it around on both sides.











Step 4: Bring both sides of the wire all the way over the ring mandrel and then wrap one side up and over the bead until it’s facing the other direction.












Step 5: Bring the other side up and over the bead like you did in step 4 and repeat each side once more.












Step 6: Carefully remove your ring from the mandrel and take the loose end of wire through the ring and wrap it around the band.












Step 7: Continue wrapping the loose end around the band three times and then trim off any excess wire with your wire cutters.  Use your flat nose pliers to make the end lay flat against the band.












Step 8: Repeat step 7 on the other side and file down any sharp wire ends with your jeweler’s file.












Step 9: Put your ring back onto the mandrel to reshape it.












Step 10: (optional) Use liver of sulfur to give your ring a rich, earthy look.











I hope you found this tutorial fun and helpful.  Now you can have a blast with different wires and beads!

Wire Basics: Earring Components

Ear Wires and Basic Hoops

In this lesson, I will be taking you step by step through the process of making ear wires and basic hoop earrings.  I recommend reading through the entire process at least once before beginning.  Always take safety precaution by wearing protective eyewear and gloves.

Step 1:  Choosing Your Wire

I recommend starting with copper wire, and as you get more familiar and confident with the technique, you may move onto sterling silver or gold.  I always work with dead soft wire.  For this project, you will be using 18 and 20 gauge copper wire.

Step 2:  Choosing the right Tools

Wire Cutters

Flat Nose Pliers

Round Nose Pliers

Chasing Hammer & Steel Bench Block

Looping Pliers

Ring Mandrel

Other useful tools:  jeweler’s file or wire rounding tool

Step 3: First we will make the basic hoops.  Using your wire cutters, cut two 3” lengths of 18 gauge wire.  You will notice that you have a burr on the ends of your wire.





Step 4: Using your jeweler’s file or wire rounding tool, smooth the burrs at the ends of thelengths of wire.





Step 5: Using your ring mandrel, wrap the two lengths of wire around the mandrel in the size 8 spot.





Step 6: With your round nose pliers, make a loop at one end of the hoop, and use your flat nose pliers to bend it slightly upwards.  Repeat this on both hoops.





Step 7: Using your flat nose pliers agin, bend about 1/4” of the other end of the hoop and file it smooth with your jeweler’s file.  Repeat this step on the other hoop.





Step 8: Slightly hammer the hoops with your chasing hammer and bench block.  Do not hammer them flat, just enough to harden the wire and give them a more finished appearance.





Congratulations!  You’ve completed your basic hoops.  Now you can experiment with different sizes and adding beads and or patinas.

Step 9: Now we will make the ear wires using two 2” lengths of 20 gauge wire and filing the ends smooth like we did with the hoops.





Step 10: With your looping pliers, make a small loop on the ends of both lengths of wire.





Step 11: Using your looping pliers again, make a slightly larger loop the opposite direction of the first smaller loop.  Repeat this step on both lengths of wire.





Step 12: Taking your looping pliers on the largest loop, bend the wire all the way around until you have a “hook” shape.  Repeat on both lengths of wire.





Step 13: Taking  1/8” of the ends of the ear wires, slightly bend them outwards using your flat nose pliers.  Repeat on both ear wires.





Step 14: Slightly hammer the ear wires with your chasing hammer and bench block.  Do not hammer them flat, just enough to harden the wire and give them a more finished appearance.  You’ll also want to make sure the ends of the ear wires are filed smooth.





Congratulations!  You’ve completed your basic ear wires.  Now you can experiment with different sizes and adding beads and or patinas.



My name is Heidi Kinnally, and I create hand-crafted jewelry inspired by nature and all its beauty. I try capture the colors, textures, and movements of our natural surroundings with each piece of my jewelry. I use , earthy, semi-precious gemstones that I choose not only for their beauty, but that are beneficial to the mind, body, and spirit. Natures gems, brought together with sterling silver and copper create wearable art that promotes, health, healing, and happiness.

I use earthy gems that for centuries have been used for healing and spiritual purposes. As far back as the Stone Age, men and women wore crystal jewellery. They had a protective, as well as a decorative function, guarding their wearer against harm. The ancients employed gemstones for protection, adornment, healing and for seeing into the future. Gemstones were frequently worn and carried by ancient Egyptians as amulets and charms. Greek mythology frequently refers to gemstones, and many have been discovered in the tombs of Chinese rulers. Gemstones were used extensively in ceremonies and initiations by the Native Americans, the Mayans and Aztecs. The breastplate of the Jewish High Priest was set with precious stones; it conveyed power to the wearer.

I also use a lot of copper which has been used in medicine for thousands of years — apparently since before the beginning of recorded history. The ancients recognized copper as an essential healing mineral. Copper was found useful for its curative powers — largely due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties — in the treatment of wounds and skin diseases. In modern times, copper is becoming more widely recognized for its effectiveness in the treatment of a number of internal diseases including anemia, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and heart disease.