Instructables

Bone Tunnel Plugs for Your Super-Sweet Gauged Ears

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A friend of mine sent me a big box of deer bones she found in the forest near her house. Many of my friends have their ears gauged to a huge variety of sizes, so I made a few sets of tunnel plugs out of some of the larger bones.

Making bone plugs is easy, but it is time-consuming and takes a lot of trail and error. The end result is fantastic--hand-made jewelry crafted out of a natural material, and they make a really cool gift.
 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
TOOLS
Jewelry Saw
Dremel Tool
Sandpaper
Craft Knife
Pencil
Pipe Cleaner

MATERIALS
Cleaned bone that is slightly wider that you want your final plugs to be

NOTE ABOUT CLEANING BONES: My favorite ways to clean bones are to bury the bones in the ground and dig them up after awhile, or to place the bones on an ant hill and let those creepy crawlies go to town.

Cleaning bones in bleach or setting them in the sun tends to make them brittle. Do not boil or heat the bones to clean them; this will make the bones absorb fats and oils, making the bones turn yellow and weirdly translucent.

Step 2: Bone Selection

Picture of Bone Selection
If you have a variety of bones to choose from, look for a bone that is a little bit wider than you want your final plugs. The bone also needs to have an area long enough to make two plugs that is also fairly consistent in width. Plugs are half and inch deep, so you will need slightly more than one inch of bone that is the same size.

Use a pencil to mark off two half-inch sections of your bone.


PaigeGrel1 year ago
This is a fascinating idea, and I love the look of the gauge in use, but I'd just worry about if there's any health risks associated with using bone in your gauged ears. Is there any way of sterilising the bone without making it brittle?
emilygraceking (author)  PaigeGrel1 year ago
Thank you! You can sterilize the bone by cleaning it in hydrogen peroxide. I just clean mine with water and anti-bacterial soap after I'm finished with the shape of the plug. Because you are carving away all of the exterior of the bone, it shouldn't carry any nasty bacteria inside.

I realize this comment is made way too late to the party but I figure I might as well make note in case anyone else stumbles upon this: bone plugs, like wood and to a lesser extent stone, can be problematic for some folks with stretched ears. They're porous, and those pores make wonderful hidey holes for the little beasties that can make your earlobes' life unpleasant. I seldom completely remove metallic plugs but I find that wood, bone, stone, etc. seem to require removal every night lest they get real nasty. With this in mind, I feel like extra cleansing precaution should be taken with bone material, as it seems within the realm of possibility that they would come with bonus microorganisms cozied up deep inside before you even put 'em in your head. Just something that might be good to keep in mind.

That said, I dig the Instructable and would totally give it a try (along with other artsy use of bones) if I had any sort of access to them.

jhartbev1 year ago
^^^ don't be rude. You have the freedom to call them what you'd like but show some respect and not be so critical about someone who just showed you how to make sick GAUGES.
Gauged or gauges is not the proper term to describe A Stretched piercings or B The actual piercing used in stretched piercings. Gauge is the proper term for the size of a piercing. Yes people in the industry laugh at you when you use the word wrong or defend the wrong use trying to be cool.
This sounds like a cool idea for some shed antlers too!
emilygraceking (author)  ThatKnottyguy1 year ago
I wish I had a box of antlers to use for projects--I've never worked with antler, but the color and textures are so beautiful. If you make some gauges with antlers please send me the pictures; I would love to see how they turn out!
bob30301 year ago
Your method of using "ants" to clean the bones is similar to museums etc. using beetles and "grubs*" to clean bones for display.
(*grubs, polite term for maggots".)
Cool information and those of us without gauges can use this info for other projects such as jewelry.
Thanks for posting.
emilygraceking (author)  bob30301 year ago
Thank you! I would love to see any ideas you come up with for other jewelry made with bone. It is such a cool material.
majinjojoe1 year ago
I don't have any gauge ears but I got homeboy that does so I definitely going to make this for outta his b-day or Christmas present.. thanks for showing how to make some awesome gauges dude!
emilygraceking (author)  majinjojoe1 year ago
I would love to see how your gauges turn out--the different widths of bone make such cool variations, and no two pairs will ever be alike. Hope your friend likes them.
zomfibame1 year ago
I don't have pierced ears; but this is a very cool idea. ... as someone who has done many things with a dremal-tool though I do recall that it can be bad to breath in bone dust, so if my memory is correct, then I'd say wear a dust mask when grinding bones to shape em'. ?q
emilygraceking (author)  zomfibame1 year ago
Thanks! You a right--wearing a dust mask would be a good idea.
zomfibame1 year ago
They do look cool
jhartbev1 year ago
^^^ don't be rude. You have the freedom to call them what you'd like but show some respect and not be so critical about someone who just showed you how to make sick GAUGES.
amber-rose1 year ago
*stretched ears