Peruvian Thread

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Make a simple pair of earrings with wire and thread! By Sian Hamilton

It was a while ago that I came across Peruvian thread jewellery online and ever since then I've been wanting to have a go at it. So when I got the perfect tool for the job, yes the Coiling Gizmo® again, I thought it was the perfect time to learn a new skill. This tool makes it so easy that the hardest thing will be getting a good coil if you don't have a Gizmo! I've mixed the thread colours and used coloured wire to complement the thread. The combos are endless to create a gorgeous pair of earrings for the winter season in your favourite colour. I'm planning a black and silver pair for Christmas day!


Designer Tips:

If you want to have a lot of layers of thread on your design, make sure you have a slightly larger coil and smaller inner wire (such as a 0.6mm inner wire with a 1.2mm coil) to hold the bulk of the thread.

This project uses commercial earwires, but it's pretty simple to make your own by cutting two identical lengths of wire, making a loop at one end and bending into a hook shape. Make sure you file down the end that goes through the ear, as the ends of cut wire can be sharp.



0.8mm silver-plated wire

0.5mm coloured wire (such as Artistic wire)

Coiling Gizmo® (optional)

Thread (KO and embroidery)

Snips or side cutters

Round nose pliers

Ring mandrel or round shape



The first step is to make a coil for the earrings. If using a Gizmo, follow the steps on page 28 using the smallest rod and 0.5mm (24 gauge) wire. If not, get a 1mm (18 gauge) length of wire and coil using 0.5mm coloured wire. Spiral the wire so the coil sits close together and coil as much as you want. If using a Gizmo you'll be restricted to the length of the crank rod.


Take the coil (about 8cm long for earrings) and thread it onto a 15cm length of 0.8mm (20 gauge) wire. Hold one end of the coil against the 0.8mm wire and pull so the coil opens out a little bit; do this carefully so it opens up evenly. You need it open as the thread sits in between the coils against the inner wire.


Keep the inner wire (0.8mm) longer than the coil and centre the coil in the middle of the wire. Kink one side of the wire just above the coil. Bend it around a shape, such as a wooden ring mandrel. You are creating a teardrop shape, so whatever you have to hand that the wire fits around will work.


Wrap the opposite end of the wire around the kinked one, to make a spiral wrap that secures the shape. Try to keep this as close to the coil as possible. This is a little fiddly, but work slowly and persevere. 


Create a loop above this, similar to making a wrapped loop except that this is left open. Work the shape so that it is how you want it to be, which could be round or a long drop shape. Make both earrings at the same time, so they are as close to the same size as possible.


To do the threading, pick the base colour, such as purple. Wrap the thread a few times around the neck and tie a knot. With the thread coming down in front of the teardrop, take it down and around the centre at the bottom. You can do this by eye, or you may want to count the coils to be very precise.

Bring the thread back up and around the next coil, down and around the opposite side of the coil, so as you go it's top right to bottom left. You'll see quickly if it looks right. Keep going all the way around. Then wrap the thread again around the neck and tie off. 


To add the next colour start in the same way, by wrapping the thread around the neck but instead of going around the centre at the bottom start about a third of the way up on the left hand side. Keep wrapping to the top.


Add a third colour to the earrings to complement the design. When the threading is finished, dab a tiny amount of glue on the neck to keep the knots tight and add a simple pair of earwires.



Coiling Gizmo:


KO thread:

Embroidery thread from a local fabric shop

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