Introduction: Faux Gemstone Post Earrings
This is a fun and simple project that yields amazing results and expensive looking post earrings. I use 2-part epoxy for the “gemstones”, which cures rock hard. These earrings are extremely durable and strong.
Step 1: Why Epoxy?
Yes, you can make these earrings using polymer clay, though I strongly prefer epoxy for this project. The epoxy is literally rock hard when it dries so it will wear very much like real stone. Also, since epoxy is glue, the pieces stay together while you are working with little effort. An extra advantage is that there is no need for a heat source, so there are no fumes from baking polymer clay.
Step 2: What You Need
2-part epoxy modeling/repair compound in at least 2 colors:
I use Apoxie Sculpt because it is non-toxic and comes in lots of colors. I buy it online from jewelry supply companies. You can also get white, grey, black, tan etc. 2-part modeling epoxy at the hardware store. (Make sure whatever you buy has at least a 30 minute working time)
Clear 2-part epoxy resin
Earring posts with pads and ear nuts of your choice (2 of each per pair)
Plan to start with 10 of each for 5 pairs
Piece of packing foam
Old needle nose pliers, or tweezers (optional)
Stir stick, small cups for mixing/measuring
Step 3: Mix Colors
Put on gloves
(optional for this part if you’re using a non-toxic product, but they keep your hands from getting stained)
Choose 2 colors of epoxy modeling compound or Apoxie Sculpt. You can choose real gemstone colors or make up your own combination.
You will want to get a dime-sized piece of each of the following:
Measure and mix each color according to package instructions.
Step 4: Rollin'
Roll each of the two colors into a small log. Make these of equal length.
Step 5: Rollin'
Press the logs together. Roll gently until they make one log again.
Step 6: Rollin'
Bend or break the log in half. Once again, roll gently.
Step 7: Repeat
Break the log in half again. Once again, press the logs together and roll gently until they make one log.
You will see stripes or bands forming. You want these to be fairly clear. If you over mix, you’ll end up with a single color. It’s better to under mix than over mix.
Repeat this step until you have a banding pattern you like.
Your final log should be about .25” in diameter. About the width of a pencil. The final length doesn’t matter.
Step 8: Cut
With your Xacto knife, cut a small piece (less than .25”) off the log at an angle. Cut the rest of the log up alternating the direction of the angle. Make the sizes fairly even. The shapes can vary.
Each piece will make one earring stud. Ending up with eight or ten is ideal.
These earrings are supposed to be like irregularly shaped gemstone nuggets. No two will be exactly alike. I like to match up the ones I would wear together at the very end of the project.
Step 9: Attach Posts
Gently pick up one piece of banded epoxy with your dominant hand. Make sure the banding is facing up. Pick up one earring post with the other hand. Use your index finger to press the epoxy lightly onto the pad, just deep enough that they stick together.
Keep holding the post and smooth the top of the epoxy with your fingers. Start at the top and then smooth the sides. You can carefully adjust the shape if you want. Be very gentle! The top should be slightly rounded.
Step 10: Set
Poke the posts into your foam and let them set up for 15-30 minutes.
Step 11: Other Shapes
These are flattened circles pressed onto the posts.
Step 12: Smooth Tops
Very, very gently rub each earring top on your palm or on a soft piece of fabric while holding the post. Hold the post perpendicular to what your buffing it on. Briskly rub the earring back and forth or in circles to buff the top and edges of the “gemstone”. This will remove fingerprints and polish the tops. Check often - you will see a nice shine develop.
Step 13: Cure Fully
Put all the earrings back in the foam for at least 24 hours.
Don’t touch them again until then.
Step 14: Oops
If you’re a little too rough and the “gem” pops off the base pad, don’t worry. Hold everything together and keep buffing. Leave the indent from where the post had been. You can glue the post back into the indentation later.
Step 15: Faux Malachite and Bloodstone
Step 16: Secure Posts
This part isn't absolutely necessary, but makes the earrings very durable.
Mix a very small amount of clear epoxy (you won’t need more than a teaspoon.) according to package directions.
Then hold one earring upside down, by the post. Get a drop of clear epoxy on a toothpick and apply it to the back of the “gem”. Spread the glue to the edges. It should be a very thin layer. Make sure you’ve covered the metal pad.
Use the epoxy to glue any separated posts back on.
Set them aside for a day or two to cure fully.
OR go to the optional next step.
Step 17: "Varnish" - OPTIONAL
Spread a thin layer of clear epoxy over the rest of the “gemstone”. This will give the stone a high-gloss finish.
Then using tweezers or pliers, put the posts back in the foam to cure. Poke them in sideways or upside down so the resin doesn’t drip on the metal posts.
You can also choose to apply this or any other varnish after the epoxy on the pads has cured.
Step 18: Cured!
When the resin is fully dry (a day or two), your posts are ready to wear or add shine.
Step 19: Matching Game
Sort the posts by matching up pairs that look good together. I find this to be a fun game : )
Step 20: Finish
Add ear nuts and they're ready to wear.
Step 21: Have Fun!
Wear them, give some away, enjoy! Have fun experimenting with different colors and different numbers of colors. I'd love to see what you make. Please post!