Instructables

Foldformed circle earrings

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This instructable will show you how to make your own foldformed earrings with some basic tools.  The possible designs are endless!  
 
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Step 1: Tools Needed

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You will need the following tools to complete this project:
1) circle template
2) marker
3) files 
4) 0.4-0.6mm thick piece of coper
5) hammers - rawhide & metal
6) shears
7) anvil or steel plate
8) hole punch for piercing metal, drill or dremel
9) torch, kiln or natural gas stove to anneal copper

Step 2: Cut & file circles

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Use the circle template to draw circles on your copper.  My circles had a diameter of 1.5".  Cut out the circles with your shears & file the edges smooth.

Step 3: Fold circles in half

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Fold your copper circles in half & hammer flat with rawhide mallet.

Step 4: Hammer fold

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Hammer fold edge with metal hammer.

Step 5: Anneal & quench

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The copper is stiff after all the hammering.  Therefore, anneal it before going to the next step.  You can use a torch such as propane or butane to anneal your copper.  I held my pieces over one of the burners on my natural gas stove.  When the copper turns dull red - it's annealed. Quench the piece by dropping it in a container of water.  Dry thoroughly before continuing.  

Step 6: Open fold & confirm it

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Open up the copper & hammer on the fold.  

Step 7: Repeat the annealing & hammering

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You can hammer as many folds into your piece as you like.  I chose to do four folds to get a "star" pattern.

Step 8: Add holes

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Add holes for your ear wire.  I used a punch for piercing thin gauge metal, but a rotary hand tool (dremel) or drill would work equally well.

Step 9: Final cleanup

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You can lightly sand your copper circles with 500 or 600 grit sandpaper or drop them in a pickle to remove all the firescale (black & red spots).  I used a pickle because it's faster.  My pickle is made from a super saturated solution of vinegar and sea salt.  Finally I added the ear wire which you can buy in the jewelry section of your local craft store or Walmart.  I decided to keep going with these earrings, so I cut out parts of the edges, textured them with hammers and stamps, plus used purple Sharpies for color.
Hi great earrings. I have a question. Why do you have the copper covers on the jaws of your vice? I assume it is for protecting other metal that you may clamp with it! Thanks
dorseykm (author)  CherylDunham2 years ago
Thanks for commenting and the jaws of my vice are textured (not smooth & flat). if I don't want to imprint the jaw pattern on the piece I'm working then I have to protect the piece. I used copper because I had it available and rubber is another common material to use. One of the rules I learned for jewelry work is to protect your piece from any accidental marks.
Thanks for your answer, it is as I had suspected. I think I need to cover mine, they are not smoothe either. Thanks again. CD
TwistedJack2 years ago
instead of cutting out a copper sheet, have you ever tried smashing some pennies?
dorseykm (author)  TwistedJack2 years ago
No, I haven't tried that. The pennies might be a little thick for foldforming which generally uses thin pieces of copper because the folding provides a lot of stiffness. I'd love to see pictures if you try this technique with a penny.
sunshiine3 years ago
That is what I was reminded of also. Very pretty! Thanks for sharing your hard work!
dorseykm (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
Thanks & glad you like them.
These ear rings remind me of precious sand dollars...So cool
dorseykm (author)  NaturalCrafter3 years ago
Thanks for the compliment.
Very cool. I did some metalworking in college, annealing and rawhide mallets and the whole shebang, and this brought it all back. nicely done earings.
dorseykm (author)  ATTILAtheHUNgry3 years ago
Thank you & maybe this will encourage you to try metalworking again.
kdisom3 years ago
Your earrings are beautiful ! !
dorseykm (author)  kdisom3 years ago
Thank you.