Have you ever checked out the findings section of your local craft store? Or browsed an online findings store like Artbeads.com? If you have, you might well have been overwhelmed by the amazing quantity and variety of different findings available. Well, I’m here for you! In this article, I’m going to narrow the field a little bit, and point out which types of posts will work best with which feather types, and why. And as with all of my pages, I have links behind each picture so that if you see something you’d like to purchase, you can head straight to it. Oh, and if you missed my first part in this series, you can learn all about the best types of feathers for earring making here.
What I generically refer to as “ear posts” are anything that goes on or through your earlobe to hold the feathers on your head. If you’ve browsed my DIY feather earrings instructions, you’ll see I use french hooks a lot of the time. This is mostly due to my personal preference; I like an earring hook without a backing, so as to avoid the risk of ripping my earlobe should they get snagged on something. However, as you’ll note when you read on, french hooks are not appropriate for every type of earring. Of course, even within the narrow category of french hook, there are numerous differences. For example, all three of the pictures below are considered to be french hooks:
But french hooks are by no means your only option. In fact there are dozens of ways to attach your feathers to your ears. One of my favorites are these beautiful ear threads. They have a tiny chain, no wider than the post that normally goes through your ear, and a loop on one end to attach your feathered creation. I think these are a beautiful and elegant type of earring post, though you will want to limit the weight of whatever you attach to them, as anything too heavy will cause the chain to slowly slide back out of your ear, and take the post with it. Since we’re working with feathers, that shouldn’t be too difficult; just don’t use these if you’ll be adding heavy elements like beads or crystals to your earrings.
A variation on the french hook theme is the ear wire. These come in many shapes and sizes, and each has its own possible uses. For example, the stacking earwire shown at right (LINK) has what looks like a standard french hook for going through the ear, but then extends down the front for quite a way, giving you a place to slide on crystals, beads or charms. Then at the bottom there’s a ball, which not only holds the stacked beads above it, but also provides an opportunity to hold a jump ring from which you can hang feathers and other goodies. Further variations on this same theme may be seen below.
Lever-backs and kidney earwires are yet another variation on the hook theme, with their own built-in clasps to help prevent the wire from sliding out of your ear. These are useful when you want to use beads, wrapped semi-precious stones, crystal strands or other heavy elements among your feathers, as they prevent the weight of the earring from pulling itself out of your ear. They can also help with unusually-shaped earrings; I learned the hard way to test an earring design around the house before taking it out in public. Sometimes even light designs can shift with movement, causing them to fall out of my piercings. These are some examples of the many lever-back and kidney designs available:
As you might expect, you can also buy posts. Posts come with and without loops, which make it easy to attach your feathers via wire or jump rings. If you happened to have on hand the type without loops, you could conceivably just use a jump ring as an “earring jacket,” meaning you slide the post through the jump ring before inserting it through your ear. Still, with posts that do have loops so cheap and plentiful, there’s no reason not to pick up a package or two. Below are a few of your options when buying posts.
Hoop findings are another option for your feather earrings. Some give you a bit of flexibility regarding how many feathers you can attach, and the fact that feathers can slide freely along a smooth hoop gives a more playful appearance to your earring. They are also an inexpensive way add length to a feather earring, which is especially helpful if you have only relatively short feathers to use. While hoops do have some sort of closure mechanism (either a post-back, clasp or sliding into the back of the hoop itself), they are not generally well-suited to heavy add-ons.
Probably the most secure of the hoop closure systems is found on something called the “endless beading hoop” (shown at left) Endless beading hoops actually don’t have a closure when they arrive; this is so that you can add your beads or whatever decorations, and then crimp the end as needed to create a closure. For this reason, you can have either a small, 90-degree bend in the wire (like this), or a full 180-degree bend (which will be hard to close, but also nearly impossible to open by accident).
Chandelier hoops are another variation on the hoop theme. These are hoops with small rings on them where you can attach feathers and other elements via jump rings. These are great if you have a design where you need to space out your elements. They can be found with anywhere from one to 20 attachment rings on them, so you can really go wild with your attachments, or leave some rings empty to space things out a bit. They are also available in many fashionable variants, like the wavy 9-ring style shown below right.
Last but not least, we have clips and cuffs, for the folks who do not have pierced ears (or who want to attach their feathers to a place where there are no holes). As with most other types of earring attachments, you’ll need to take care not to add too much weight if you’re using these. Still, given that we are talking about feathers, you probably won’t have much trouble with that! Just don’t go overboard on glass beads and such, and you’ll be find. I find feather ear cuffs to be especially attractive; they sort of bridge the gap between feathers in your hair and feathers on your earlobes. Below are some example styles.
I hope this page has made you realize just how many types and styles of ear posts there are on the market today, and also helps you determine which style is best for the feather earring design you’re planning. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or would like feedback on what I’d use to accomplish a particular feather-earring making task, feel free to leave me a note in the “Speak Your Mind” section below!