Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

This week I learned how to make a new finding – paddle head pins! It was a little tricky to get the hang of these, but they gave my necklace a totally different look. You can use today’s tips to get the best results with your paddle head pins!

Use paddle head pins in your next design

Using the right materials is often the key to a successful project. Paddle head pins are made by hammering one end of a wire into a flat, elongated shape. You need a solid wire, not one with a core or a coating on it, for this type of project. Hammering will crack a coating or wear down the outer plating of a wire to expose the core underneath. I used a 20 gauge copper wire for my necklace.

Use flush cutters to make a clean cut at the end of your wire. Straighten your wire out with nylon jaw pliers or by running it through your fingers a few times. A smooth flush cut and straight piece of wire means a better shaped paddle!

Draw your hammer towards you as you strike the wire. I think of my hammer strikes as moving up, forward, down, and back instead of up and down. This motion helps to smoothly taper the wire into a paddle shape instead of just flattening it. To get paddles of roughly the same length pause every few hammer strikes to check your size and shape. When your paddle is shaped the way you want file away any sharp edges and give it a quick rub down with a polishing cloth to remove any hammer marks.

I think paddle head pins are interesting enough to use on their own, but you can string them with beads like a regular head pin too. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can even stamp or texture the paddle!

You can see how our designers used paddle head pins with beads in our Peaceful Waters and Streamline Earrings.

Peaceful Waters Earrings

Streamline Earrings

How have you used paddle head pins in your jewelry?

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen




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