Introduction: Geeky Circuit Board Earrings

Picture of Geeky Circuit Board Earrings

My sister saw a set like these in a catalog for about 20 bucks. I'm cheap, so I didn't let her get them and made my own. The catalog is sold out now, anyway.
I should mention that this is my first Instructable, I'm new to the site.

Update June 21, 2007: I just found a great bracelet that would match nicely, courtesy of llama13, who I just noticed links to here. Thanks, llama13!

Another update, September 24, 2007: Make a processor belt buckle while you're at it! Wow, we're getting an entire wardrobe here! Who volunteers to make the IC chain mail?

Step 1: Collect Materials

Picture of Collect Materials

The first step is to get all of your stuff. You will need:
Circuit Board
Earring Hooks (two)
Jump Rings (I used four, but didn't decide to until later)

Bandsaw (or similar device to cut the circuit board)
Needle nose pliers--it's waaaay easier if you have two pairs
Drill press with 1/16" bit
File or Sandpaper

Step 2: Cut the Board

Picture of Cut the Board

Next you have to select an area of the board to use. It helps if you use a board with duplicate areas. I used an array of little surface mount components. I would recommend only using surface mount boards, as regular ones will be bulky. Keep an empty area towards the top to attach the hooks.
After selecting the area, cut out the board. I used a bandsaw with a wood blade because I'm too lazy to change blades. It didn't splinter, so I guess it worked. Test it on a scrap board. And of course, don't cut off any body parts. As my dad says, a blade can't cut you if your fingers aren't in front of it.

RaNDoMLeiGH brought up a good point that I hadn't thought of in the comments. Read her comment for a better description, but the basic point is, WEAR A DUST MASK! The dust produced by sawing through silicon can give you a huge assortment of unpleasant respiratory problems, namely lung cancer and silicosis. Wear a mask, use a saw with a vacuum setup, wet it down, whatever you need to do to avoid breathing the dust. It's a much bigger issue than solder. This goes for the next step, too.

Step 3: Smooth Edges

Picture of Smooth Edges

The bandsaw left a lot of rough edges, so I used some medium grit sandpaper to smooth them out. You might see little bits of copper traces sticking out; take them off. You can use sandpaper, a file, cheese grater (not recommended :-)) for this step. I tried a belt sander, but it didn't work.

Step 4: Drill Holes

Picture of Drill Holes

Drill holes in the tops of the boards to attach the earring hardware. A 1/16" bit worked perfectly. Use a piece of scrap wood to support it, and go slowly to prevent splintering. Slow and steady wins the race.

Step 5: Add Hooks

Picture of Add Hooks

Next, add the hooks. You will need two jump rings and a hook for each earring.
Use the pliers to open all four jump rings. Hook a ring through each earring's hole and squeeze it shut. Then, use the other jump rings to link the first rings and the hooks. Pay attention to direction so that the earrings hang right.
You will notice that in the images that one earring has two rings and the other only has one. I made the one-ring version first, but it hung sideways, so I added another ring to make them hang straight.

Step 6: Present

Picture of Present

You are hopefully done! If not, run screaming around the block a couple of times. It won't help, but it will give your neighbors something to laugh at.
Congratulations! You have just saved about $19.89!


Yonatan24 (author)2015-11-28

Hi, I've added your project to the "Re-Using Old Circuit Boards (PCB's)" Collection

This is the link If you are interested:

Yonatan24 (author)2015-11-28

Awesome! Ceramic capacitors and SMD/T resistors look the best

redsunmtm (author)2013-06-27

hi, good ones, take a look here:
i am doing this kind of scrapping for years now
the ear rings i made were lightable

eternalwind (author)2012-07-08

I made a pair with a ram drive that i ripped the little black boxes off of. (i don't know what they're called)I cut off the section of that black box.It took me a few minutes but I keep getting comments everywhere I go!! : ) P.S. I would post pictures but it's not working.

argentin (author)2010-11-28

This guide inspired me a lot to make a pair of earings for my sister
I used a HDD circuit board and 2 clips to make my set and a CD case to make the support for them
They came out great
Thanks for the idea

CameronSS (author)argentin2010-11-28

Those look great! I love to see pictures from people who used my Ibles. :)

theXmaker (author)2009-09-02

Btw people.. i appreciate whatever u say about the toxity of the solder.. but i REALLY USED TO EAT SOLDER!!! ALL TYPES!! (and even lead solder.. if lead is that brown thing inside the solder!!!!!)

sr1sws (author)theXmaker2010-07-22

Eat solder - not smart. Old school solder is generally an alloy of lead and tin. Lead is a heavy metal and accumulates inside the body. Eat enough over a period of time and you WILL have health problems. "The brown stuff" inside solder is flux - generally rosin (hence the name "rosin core solder"). I can't imagine it being too good for you either, but at least it's organic ;-) P.S. people DO understand that just because something is organic does not mean it won't kill you - right??

bassclarinet23 (author)theXmaker2009-11-09

You used to eat it? Why?

crummett (author)2010-06-16

I tried this with a wood blade like that and rendered my blade unusable after cutting 4- 5" circles. Of course, I was cutting through some pretty heavy duty components! Next time I'll try a hack saw blade.

Drackar (author)2007-02-22

Not nicely done, bloody dangerous. If you notice, the earings sold in the magazine have not had components soldered to them. Solder is toxic. Those earings are putting heavy metals onto your sisters skin, and into her blood stream, which could eventually lead to sickness and death.

CameronSS (author)Drackar2007-02-22

I have to disagree with you on this one. For starters, the only possible toxin in solder is lead, which cannot be absorbed directly through the skin. These earrings do not even come into contact with the skin, they hang there. Secondly, there is no way to know that the solder even contains lead. Most solder nowadays is lead-free silver. Plus, even removing the components leaves a thin layer of solder on the circuit boards. And the recent recall of toy rings containing lead was because they could be swallowed. If you are worried that the toxic solder will kill you, go check your plumbing. The pipes are soldered together.

Drackar (author)CameronSS2007-02-23

She handles them, putting them on, it can be transfered to food, beverages, and so on.

Also, while they are trying to make companies move to lead free solder, due to problems with melting points, to this day many companies still use lead based solder.

The earings made appeared to not have burn marks or signs of removal. Printed circuit boards usually do NOT have solder on them. As i recall the coating is zink.

Pluming, however, has been required, *and done* with lead free solder for a very long time. The solder I have, which I use to repair pipes, is lead free. The solder I have for electronics is good old 60-40.

No disrespect is intended in's simply concern for your sister *and any people who read this*'s health.

DavidRobertson (author)Drackar2010-06-01

Also, i always use tin/silver RoHS solder. As do many commercial products.

DavidRobertson (author)Drackar2010-06-01

It's usually tin or gold.

CameronSS (author)Drackar2007-02-23

Confusion alert! I don't understand what you are saying. First you said that the earrings are toxic, then you said that PCBs use zinc. Zinc can be found on the nutrition facts of your fortified bran flakes. You expected burn marks? You don't believe in my Mad Desoldering Skilz?;-)

Bob7k (author)CameronSS2007-03-09

i dont have mad skillz, all i got is mad desolder-all-over-my-pantz-with-hot-solder skillz, i need me some desoldering wick

CameronSS (author)Bob7k2007-03-09

never had solder on my pants while desoldering, only when I accidentally use way too much and it dribbles. Yay for solder-resistant denim!

Drackar (author)CameronSS2007-02-28

Your examples here have soldered on chips. That is the toxic element. The solder. Not the plain, unused circuit board that you copied the idea from. They are not using toxic, used circuit boards. Your circuit board, however, is used. And has what is almost unquestionably lead based solder all over it.

CameronSS (author)Drackar2007-02-28

Exact quote from the catalog: "These green earrings are truly unique --each is made from a recycled circuit board!" Click on the link in the intro if you don't believe me. They are recycled boards. They are used. They have solder.

Drackar (author)CameronSS2007-03-01

..ok, the idea that they are healthier is withdrawn.

dan (author)CameronSS2007-03-09

- most circuit boards still use tin/lead solder, especially the cheapest ones. it will probably be another 10 years before all electronics is lead free.

- eating lead will give you stomach cramps after 2 weeks:

- it is true that solid lead can't be absorbed through the skin. *HOWEVER* when you wear something you will sweat on it a small amount, and the sweat will dissolve a teeny bit of the lead, and the disolved lead can get into you. personally i would not consider that much of a risk for a dangly earing, but i wouldn't wear a lead finger ring. i could not find a study directly testing touching of lead, but here's some general notes:

- if you are worried, i recommend (as mever suggested) coating the circuit board, since it is very easy to do. clear nailpolish is a good way to do it, or clear urethane coating from the hardware store.

- the real concern with lead and the reason it is being phased out of use is that it is very toxic when it gets into the environment - it will poison the ground and water around dump sites for example. this is why you want to take your broken electronics to a recycling or hazmat disposal center.

- zinc is not used on pcb's.

Bob7k (author)CameronSS2007-03-09

actually, the lead content should be below toxic if you used recent electronics or something with an RoHS sticker on it. recently someone changed the solder around to not contain as much lead or something. i could be wrong.

mever (author)CameronSS2007-02-22

First of all, CameronSS, nice job on your first Instructable! I cant wait to see more of your work. Drackar, CameronSS is using purchased or salvaged earring hooks here. I would consider them as dangerous as any ear ring hooks used today. The circuit board itself makes less direct contact with the body than I would replacing out the hard drive in my PC, no sufficient concern for me there either. A good solution would be to coat the board with some durable, non toxic clear coat of some kind if it is a concern for you. I am not worried with this myself and feel safe with my ram keychain as is. If anyone wants to be extra safe, there is always a creative solution.

brooklynlord (author)2009-11-12

Maybe you can coat the edges with a layer of clear epoxy? Just asking.

Jake Morton (author)2009-02-26

anyone notice how when u scroll past picture three it move smaller and bigger!!!!!!!!!

higgledypiggledy (author)2008-06-26

Loved this! I have completed thsi project, and made a necklace to match - I murdered my old gameboy, lol. Lovely, no?

Punkguyta (author)2007-02-11

Now,..Tell me, who in their right mind would wreck a pentium 3 processor (from the looks of it)????

CameronSS (author)Punkguyta2007-02-11

me. I took that out of an ancient computer. It ran Windows 98, had a huge 4.3 GB HD, and it was the deluxe multimedia center version with a whopping 64 MB of RAM. This was from a machine with 128KB standard memory. Oh look, I still have the spec panel from the box: Intel Celeron 333MHz processor. Still, that 56Kbps modem occasionally gave me glimpses of the fabled "World Wide Web"...

minfu2 (author)CameronSS2008-06-24

Hey! I have a celeron. But it is the new version with an acceptable 2.2 ghz processor.

Punkguyta (author)CameronSS2007-02-12

oh, a celeron? Then it deserved to be cut up, do be a favour and cut the actualy core in half for me, just in lue of me hating celerons, thanks.

Mojo_JoJo (author)Punkguyta2007-10-23

Well... I did make a key chain using a 486 for a friend of mine before I discovered instructables but he managed to break it by the time I discovered this site. I also made another one using a 40 pin IC, had to bend all 40 pins into a "J" shape like one of those SMD's so that it doesn't poke me. Come to think of it, other jewellery items could be made e.g a bracelet, by stringing a few 1" square PCB's and it would be even cooler if they had working LED's on them. Anyone want to give this a try?

Punkguyta (author)Mojo_JoJo2007-10-24

I would keep the 486 and play dos games on it, those things are wicked.

bmlbytes (author)Punkguyta2007-02-11

Not a processor. Just the board. The processor has been taken out. I'll PM you tommarow on how to add yellow boxes.

CameronSS (author)bmlbytes2007-02-12

No, it is a processor. The shiny square in the middle is the processor. It was mounted sideways with a giant heat sink.

bmlbytes (author)CameronSS2007-02-12

Oh, my bad it looked like it wasn't there to me.

David Cousins (author)2008-03-08

I like it. I going to make some for my daughter.

NetReaper (author)David Cousins2008-06-10

Make sure to protect her from any lead solder in the circuit board.

Bitsi (author)2008-04-12

I bought a pair of circuit board earrings on etsy for $4 (the store is gone now, sorry). Turned out that they were not actual pieces of a board, but LAMINATED PICTURES of circuitry. At first, I was really disappointed. After wearing them several times, though I kind of like the idea. They are lighter than actual board would be, and indistinguishable from 2' away. Also, from a crafter's point of view: laminated pictures are easier to cut, and easier to reproduce, and easier to match for earrings. I might try shrinky dinks too. :-)

Lithium Rain (author)2008-03-06

If you can't/don't want to wreck a nice computer, try the board out of an old cheapie $1 calculator.

deadalchemist (author)2008-01-15

This is a neat idea; i totally want to make a pair of these!!!

kqrpnb (author)2007-10-02

Great instructable! I just made some for my daughter, and then had the bright idea to look on Instructables for thoughts on how it's done!

A suggestion for jump rings: twist them open instead of spreading them. Pulling them apart (Making an "O" into a "C") fatigues the metal, and can introduce folds marks.

Check out mine below ( SugarTeen52 modeled them for me).

CameronSS (author)kqrpnb2007-10-02


I don't quite agree with your statement about the jump rings. Pulling them apart...fatigues the metal... Any bending action will fatigue metal. That's one of the obnoxious laws of nature: If you have a piece of metal, and you bend it repeatedly, it doesn't matter how quickly you move it, how frequently you move it, or how far you move it. After a certain amount of motion, the metal will break. Fold marks I don't know about, and they;re too small to see anyway, so I didn't care. :-)

les_SD_3386 (author)2007-06-25


iamnotsancho (author)2007-03-19

I like, keep up the good work. I'm wondering what else I could use to cut circuit board?

CameronSS (author)iamnotsancho2007-03-19

Well, a waterjet would work well, as would a laser cutter. But I think that if you don' have a bandsaw, you probably don't have either of them either. A good hacksaw, a Dremel tool, a good knife and a lot of time, a tablesaw if you were very optimistic, a sabersaw/jigsaw, a scrollsaw, tinsnips, boltcutters, teeth (not recommended), diagonal cutters, etc. Shall I go on? About anything that's tough enough would work. Silicon is pretty tough stuff.

dan (author)CameronSS2007-03-21

just a hacksaw works great. you want fine tooth blade for cleaner cut.

Aud1073cH (author)dan2007-06-21

I use my mini hacksaw, like this one You can find them at the local "home center"/hardware store. I got mine for $3 with extra blades. - talk about cheap :)

CameronSS (author)dan2007-03-21

True. However, you can always sand it down.

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