Introduction: Phillips Head Stud Earrings

Being that this was my first ever soldering project, I found that these earrings were surprisingly easy to make.

I went to the plumbing section at Walmart. I picked up this soldering torch for $15. In the same isle they sell lead free silver solder. The solder I bought was $10 and also came with a container of flux, an application brush, and a piece of sand paper. So total damage: $25. These earrings will only use a small fraction of that but you’ll get to use it for all kinds of other projects.

Basically I understand it this way. Solder is a low melting alloy. Flux is a paste that helps solder stick to metal. A torch can heat metal hot enough to the point it will melt the solder. So fire makes heat, flux helps the bond, and solder is the bond.

So this is what I did.

Step 1: Cut Off the Threads

Find a couple Phillips head screws. Use pliers to cut the threads off as close as you can to the head.

Place the screw head on a Phillips head screw driver. File away the remaining threads until the back side is flush. I used a grinding attachment in my drill press.

If the heads are shallow enough you should end up with a perforation in the back of the head.

Step 2: Set Up for Soldering

Apply some flux to the head of a stainless steel needle. Thread it through the screw head.

You only need a small amount of solder.  Hammer a piece of solder and cut a square out with  diagonal cutting pliers.

Place the assembly in the jaws of some pliers. Position the needle so it's perpendicular to the screw head.

Place the square of solder on top.

Step 3: Solder

Melt the solder into the Phillips head. Allow it to cool and solidify.

Step 4: Remove the Excess Solder

File away the excess solder from the front and back. Use some 300 grit sand paper to clean off the last of the remaining excess.

Polish the heads with 2000 grit sand paper, polishing compound, and a polishing wheel.

Step 5: Prepare the Backings

Trim the backing down to size. I compared the length to some earrings my wife has.

File the ends of the backings until no sharp edges are left behind.

Borrow some backings from an old pair of earrings and place them on your new earrings.

Comments

author
awesomelumens (author)2014-10-04

wow. Excellent polishing job

author
picturesofsilver (author)2013-07-03

I love this but I think I need a video. It looks so easy to do and something I need to learn. Most of my soldering is done in the kiln. I have made fine silver jumprings with my mini-torch b/c you don't need flux etc. Just heat until the silver 'jumps' together. You have to have a good set of cutters though so the metal will touch as flush as possible. thanks, I'm going to see if I can do this using your method. Jan

author
CrLz (author)2012-01-09

Sweet, very elegant.

author
black hole (author)2011-11-18

What kind of torch are you using?

author
Mrballeng (author)black hole2011-11-19

It's a $15 propane torch from the plumbing section at wal-mart.

author
black hole (author)Mrballeng2011-11-19

Sorry, I didn't see that in the intro. I just jumped to the section about soldering.

author
neilh (author)2011-09-11

Nice Instructable! I tried one based on a magnet back. First I used a stainless steel screw, but I could not get the solder to flow at all. Then I found a zinc plated one of the next size up, #8 --- my stainless one was a #6 --- For a first cut it came out pretty good. Picture attached.

I also, since I had some wire, tried the woven pendant ible from the same author. That was fun.

Earring-1.jpg
author
Mrballeng (author)neilh2011-09-11

Glad you liked it. Thanks.

author
redorchestra (author)2011-02-23

One thing that would move this from a great 'ible, to an awesome 'ible would be to make backings out of the screw!

author
ironsmiter (author)redorchestra2011-02-28

I've made pins/backers from scratch before...
both starting with wire, and turning steel.
trust me, you don't really want to try.
Trying to turn a diameter that small, without a precision watchmakers lathe, and plenty of practice...it'll drive you insane very quickly. then you have to add the "retaining notch" to top it all off! that's some seriously fiddly work.
just spend the $3 and get a proper silver post/back from the craft store.

author
Kryptonite (author)ironsmiter2011-05-21

What lathe were you using? Any standard house-hold lathe would be nigh on impossible to do this with! Kudos for trying though :D

author
ironsmiter (author)Kryptonite2011-05-23

I guess my grammar checker wasn't working well enough?

I have done this on the watchmakers lathe i mentioned.
The only real problem doing it on a larger lathe is... you can't get enough speed for a smooth cut. At that size, the surface speed is too slow for normal work.
It COULD be done with a fine file. but as i said before, it'd be slightly insane to do it.

I do have a question now though.
What constitutes a "standard household lathe"?
In my experience, having ANY metal working lathe in a house is rather a rarity.

author
Kryptonite (author)ironsmiter2011-05-27

He he, sorry, that was very poorly worded.
3-4 foot work length and about 6 inches maximum diameter? I honestly should have said 'metalshop lathe'.

author
redorchestra (author)ironsmiter2011-05-23

Not make the pin, I mean use the screw part as the retaining clip.
So it would look like a screw was through the ear.

author
ironsmiter (author)redorchestra2011-05-23

hmm... COULD be done.

Most posts, like this, are around 20 gauge. that's .032 inch(.81 mm).
Drill size of 1/32, with a poor sharpening, should work well enough(.0312, plus the wobble from being sharpened wrong). Otherwise, a #66 drill(.033) should be used to make the post hole.

Now, drill a little deeper, and epoxy a teeny tiny rare-earth magnet into the bottom of the hole. if you can find one that small.
The other method would be to drill the toe of the screw shaft, and fit a 1/8th inch RE magnet to THAT side, and just let the magnetic properties of the steel do your holding work( like http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSCopr7hKJR4wtHNkR5miU88pr8OBuYmOGya8ips0vSF4JLg1zwuA but different :-).

One advantage to doing the magnet is, you can NOT use a post, and you have turned it into a "clip-on" earring, for people without piercings. Just make sure the magnet isn't TOO strong, or you could end up crushing the ear. Not a problem with the studded version, because the stud length and backing hole depth can be set to hold the flats apart.

author
beaujangles (author)2011-04-23

Hi,
To notch the pins (if they were made from silver) you use round nose pliers, place them 3/4 of the way up the pin, hold them tight whilst rotating the pin in your fingures this will cause a small grove to be created. I am not sure if this will work on stell pins but its worth a go.

author
kathynv (author)2011-03-18

Again, what you've done with (almost) nothing is genius. I plan to steal your idea this weekend after I purchase some appropriate screws. I do have a small suggestion for you, though. Sterling sliver posts are a more usual way of finishing earrings, and are less likely to cause allergic reactions to the metal. (Most people know if they are allergic to silver. It's really tough to know if you're allergic to one of the many alloys called "stainless steel.")

It's possible to get small packages of sterling silver headpins at any craft store carrying jewelry findings. Earring backs are also available for very little money. I 'd buy earring backs in plastic, in a larger size, to act as a counterbalance to the weight of screw head. You should be able to buy both for less than $5.

Once again, thanks again for your brilliant inspiration. Once I make the earrings, I'll post a photo here.

author
Mrballeng (author)kathynv2011-03-19

All this jewelry making stuff if new to me. I always appreciate any advise. Thanks again.

author
caseygibs (author)kathynv2011-03-18

now that you brought it up kinda, would it be a possible to make the cuff-links out of stainless steel. Cause i would absolutely do so, but i am worried that after trying to remove excess solder that i would wear away the stainless coating and it would get all funky. Is it possible to solder on stainless steel?? many questions

author
Roryfkl (author)2011-03-03

Soooo cool... Again! How do you think of this stuff?! I'm thinking of making cuff links in the same way.

Keep up the amazing work!

author
Mrballeng (author)Roryfkl2011-03-04

How do I think of this stuff?

Mostly I like the challenge of discovering the process to making something. With this I just wanted to make a pair of earrings. So I went to my garage and figured it out with what I had.

author
foobear (author)2011-03-01

too cool

author
The Ideanator (author)2011-02-23

Beautiful! Its too bad the contrast isn't better.

author
ironsmiter (author)The Ideanator2011-02-28

if you are after contrast, apply a small amount of ammonia.
This should really make the silver content of the solder show, without effecting the steel at all.
Make sure to use stainless steel screws though.
This will make it SLIGHTLY harder to solder well, but you then eliminate the problems of zinc exposure.

TO ensure your polishing and patina(the ammonia treatment) retain their looks, Spray lacquer or clear nail polish should preserve your new earrings for a long time.

author
Mrballeng (author)The Ideanator2011-02-24

My prototype used less solder. I filled the heads with nail polish and polished them flush. My wife has a pair of pink ones.

author
The Ideanator (author)Mrballeng2011-02-24

Ahh, nail polish would work great. Post the pink ones?

author
Nick_W (author)2011-02-25

Oh those are great looking!
Awesome homemade birthday gift for a DIY-er? I think so.
I partially agree on the backs made out of the threads but part of me thinks that it would be a little bit too much work for standard sized earrings.
I have a question though, wouldn't you need to notch the pins so that the backs have a place to lock to?

author
reptilehead (author)2011-02-22

I'd like to mention that MOST phillips head screws are a coated steel. Many people can have an allergic reaction to the base metal of the earring, and as a suggestion those that do this (as i will be this weekend for my wife) should consider using a stainless steel screw as well as the SS pins.
Great job, looks beautiful, I'll be breaking out the tools this weekend on this for sure!

author
Raigmoul (author)2011-02-21

kicking myself ... why didn't I think of that ?!
Well done mate, not just the idea, the whole instructable is simple, clear and very well detailed.
Maybe you can do a little 'ible on how you got those macros as well ;-)

Cheers

author
Mrballeng (author)Raigmoul2011-02-21

All I do is switch the camera to "macro". It's not even a fancy camera. It's a canon that cost me about $250 3 years ago.

Thanks for the comment.

author
kriemer (author)2011-02-21

Great ibble, clever design... but the only screws worth a damn are Robertson head!!!

author
Mechanical Advantage (author)2011-02-21

Very classy, but still has an industrial feel.

author
brunoip (author)2011-02-21

great macro pictures

author
RetroTechno (author)2011-02-21

Very cool. I bet you could take larger screws and make cuff links too.

author
DELETED_jorgegunn (author)2011-02-21

wow how simple and brilliant

author
dombeef (author)2011-02-21

The two types of metal add to the cool X design on it!

author
Dr. Pepper (author)2011-02-21

Awesome! You are so brilliant!

About This Instructable

18,332views

171favorites

Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
More by Mrballeng:Duct Tape TP DispenserDuctanium BandageBarn Door Baby Gate
Add instructable to: