Ear Cuffs: The Bow Tie Technique

August 17, 2012

Bow ties are cool.

(I'm not going to stop quoting the Doctor until things stop reminding me of the Doctor. I should have made this cuff out of blue wire, then I could have called it the TARDIS Ear Cuff!)

In case you haven't heard of ear cuffs before, they are basically jewelry for your ears that don't require piercings! They are comfier than clip-on or screw-back earrings, and they can range from elegant to funky. You can see a few here on my Shoppe.

Whenever I have a smidge of free time, I'll head to the craft room to tinker. I've been experimenting with different kinds of ear cuffs, and thought I'd share some behind-the-scenes photos! I've got three new techniques and variations figured out already. These posts aren't going to be full tutorials, but hopefully they will inspire you to do some creative tinkering of your own!

Before you go any farther, you'll need to check out the basic ear cuff tutorial and the swirly ear cuff tutorial. You need to be able to make both of those designs with a decent amount of ease before you tackle this not-TARDIS ear cuff.

You'll need:
- 6 inches of 18 ga wire
- needle-nose pliers
-flat-nose pliers
- (optional) 24 ga wire and beads

Cut 6 inches of wire

And create a double-loop bow-tie with your pliers. Use the bottom of your pliers, the widest part, to create the loops. The overlap from both ends should be on the same side.

Experiment with the placement of the bow-tie. The ear cuff will look really different depending on how long those ends of the wire are.

 (I did mention that this is not a full tutorial, right? You're on your own to figure out how to make the loops. It should take less than 5 minutes of playing with the wire to get the hang of it, though, it's really easy).

Take the loose end of the wire on the top of the ear cuff and fold it over along the backside of the bow tie.

Fold the other loose end of the wire (in this case, the 'other loose end' is very clear because it's longer) up along the backside of the bow tie.

(Optional) Fold that same end (in this case, the long length of wire) back down across the front of the bow tie.

If you leave the end of the wire sticking up, the ear cuff will climb up and down the length of your ear. The ear cuff I'm making in this semi-tutorial is only going to climb down the ear.

Now you've made the knot to tie the bow tie up nice and snug; just use some flat-nose pliers to flatten that knot so it's more comfortable.


Next, wrap the bow-tie around a marker and tweak it with pliers to make the bow-tie grip your ear comfortably. (The how-to for this step is found in the basic ear cuff tutorial.)

 Next, use needle-nose pliers to swirl the ends of the wire however you would like! (a la the instructions I gave in the swirly ear cuff tutorial).

Note that the knot sits on the outside of your ear. The swirls are the only thing that determine which ear the ear cuff belongs on-- unlike the swirly ear cuff, which has to be designed from the start with either the left or the right ear in mind.

Here's a nearly identical one on my ear; you can see that I added a small brown bead to the top swirl and I made the bottom swirl pointier.

You can also take thin 24 ga wire and use that to wrap coils, loops, and beads onto the ear cuff. In this photo, I let the ear cuff 'climb' both up and down my ear.

Voila! Hip hip hooray and happy day! You have a bow tie ear cuff, and bow ties are cool!

(As always, please be sure to reference me if you use this technique in making your own ear cuffs. Thanks!)

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