A Day Without Headpins (Headpins Are Great But ...)

I have nothing against headpins. I use them too, but sometimes you need a change to jumpstart your creativity.

No Headpins Allowed
Here's a crazy jewelry making idea. Give up headpins for just one day.

No headpins! A crazy notion indeed. Headpins are a jewelry making staple. An earring DIY must-have. Headpin + bead + loop + earwires = earrings. You can do it with your eyes closed. Why would you reject your dependable, little flat-headed jewelry making friends?

I love headpins too; but when you let go of what you usually do, you challenge your creativity. Try it for just one day.


  • Pliers
  • Round nosed pliers
  • Cutters
  • Hammer and block - optional
  • Pull out your wire jig if you have one


  • 20 and 16 gauge wire - 20 fits bead holes best. 16 makes bold shapes.
  • Beads - flat beads work well
  • Ear-wires

Wire, the great headpin alternative
Learn a few basic no headpin techniques. Use your imagination; and soon you'll have tons of your own no headpin ideas.

Coiled "Headpin" 

  • Cut 2 - two inch wire pieces. (longer or shorter if you choose)
  • ½ inch down bend the wire to a right angle.
  • Use round nosed pliers to form a loop at the end of the ½ inch segment.
  • Hold with pliers and rotate the loop into a tight coil.
  • (Optional) Hammer the coil for smooth flat texture.
  • Use like a headpin.
  • Add beads, a loop and earwires.
  • Try forming a triangle or square instead of a coil

Eye Pins 

  • Cut 2 - two inch wire pieces.
  • Form a loop at each end. (Se illustration #3)
  • Add a charm. Make a wire coil or add other shape to the bottom.
  • Use instead of a headpin

Folded "Headpin"

  • Cut 2 - three inch wire pieces
  • Hold wire pieces together and form a zigzag pattern about 1 & ¾ inches from the top.
  • (Optional) Hammer the zigzag part only.
  • Use round nosed pliers to "fold" the zigzag part back against the straight "pin" part (see illustration #2)
  • Slip the pin part inside a bead. (flat beads work best)
  • The zigzag should lay flat against bead.
  • Wrap the end of the zigzag part around the pin.
  • Make a loop.
  • Add earwires.

Use Hoops

  • Form basic hoops using a rod or other long, round object. (You don't have to buy a mandrel unless you really want one.)
  • Use them plain or add beads, charms or wire coils if you choose.

No Beads Allowed​?

shapes instead of headpins

Would it be cruel to insist you give up headpins and beads on the same day? Try it.
  • Experiment with shapes: circles, squares, triangles.
  • Practice making wire people
  • Make heart shapes
  • Bring out your wire Jig and create unusual shapes.
  • Hammering helps retain the shapes you create, but don't hit them too hard. You could weaken the wire.
Try Metal Instead

metal instead of headpins
If you know how to use a jeweler's saw or even metal shears, use them to cut simple metal shapes.

  • Add texture with a hammer.
  • Solder on details.
  • Drill holes to add a danglies or beads.

Updated from my original article published on Yahoo Voices.

I've updated "No Headpins Allowed" to "We Don't Need No Headpins" in my new ebook, "Wire Jewlery, Make It Funky!"


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