Thursday, June 22, 2017

Earring Marathon

Every once in a while I engage in an earring marathon. I might have said “indulge” but that is not the way I feel about it. Making earrings is work. Good work, but still, toil.

Why is this?  You would think earrings would be the ultimate immediately gratifying act of jewelry creation: Ta-DAH!  But it doesn’t always turn out like that.

There are some good sides to making earrings - it’s a great way to get reacquainted with your bead stash. The down side is the same: getting reacquainted with your bead stash. It’s an embrace that can quickly pall if you are doing it on a large scale, as I do in making earrings to sell.

Selecting your beads is the mere tip of the iceberg. Then you have to decide what color of metal you want for your findings:  gold (and would that be pale gold, yellow gold, lemon gold) or silver (and would that be white silver, yellow silver, antique silver) brass (antique, shiny, matte) copper (ditto), or gunmetal and would you like fries with that?

Before you know it, the bead room is awash in small plastic bags and tubes that the cat wants to lie down in, and you want to join him. For something so small and easily made, your basic earring requires an amazing amount of thought and planning. Finding le bead juste for a single pair of earrings is fun. Finding the same for two dozen will send you screaming from the house.

There are some things I have learned over the years to manage this process in order to engage in a sane earring marathon.

A while back someone on one of the beading blogs I subscribe to described the Muffin Tin Method. This is a great way to produce earrings efficiently, well, more efficiently than the Mount Trashmore approach. Start with one or two interesting beads that go well together and toss them into one of the muffin cups, add your findings and accent beads and stir. Pretty soon you have twelve pots of potential earrings. Ta-DAH!

A second method I have begun to use is what I’ll call the gold panning method. It works best if you focus on a central color scheme, such as turquoise, one of my favorites. My friend Barb, bless her, recently brought me a large shallow lidless cardboard box with a Styrofoam base insert that is perfect for this. Pile everything relevant to your colorway into the box. Sit it in your lap and sift out the specific beads you want to use and put them in a smaller box and make your earrings from that. Essentially you are creating a manageable bead stash you can dip into without getting overwhelmed. When you finish with that colorway, you can assemble another.

So here are the results of my latest Muffin Tin marathon:

Whew! I’m exhausted just writing about this.


  1. Let's try some more complicated earrings sometime soon.

  2. What creative ways to sort beads for earrings! I never thought of using either of those methods!