Introduction: DIY Hot Glue Earrings! | Gold Leaf & Foil Fashion Jewellery

About: Multi-crafter, jewellery maker, card designer and frequent procrastinator.

The idea for this jewellery came from my previous project where I covered small glue leaves with gold leaf. I was pleased with the shiny metal-effect finish and thought it lent itself to creating some lightweight and interesting jewellery.

After some experimentation (see the first steps for the fails!) I got some really lovely results.

I hope you enjoy this Instructable :)


- Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks; I used black glue sticks.

- Parchment Paper; otherwise known as baking paper. Make sure you don't use wax paper.

- Non-Stick Mat; Use one that doesn't stick to hot glue. If you don't have this, parchment paper will do the job instead.

- Something to hold the parchment paper flat; I used a sheet of glass from a photo frame. You could instead use something heavy like books either side of the paper to keep it in position.

- A Piece Of Paper & A Black Marker Pen

- Jewellery Findings; I used earring hooks, eyepins, jump rings, a lobster clasp and an 18" length of chain, all in gunmetal black colour.

- Jewellery Pliers & Wire Cutters

- Imitation Gold Leaf

- Foil Glue; this is glue that dries to a tacky finish, which is suited to using with gold leaf and foils. I used the 'Zig Memory System' 2-way glue.

- Tweezers (optional)

- Transfer Foil; I used silver, copper and cream coloured transfer foils.

- Crepe Paper; I used gold paper for the necklace pendant.

- Mod Podge; I used matte finish Mod Podge to adhere the crepe paper to the hot glue.

- A Tealight

- Small Sharp Scissors

- An Awl

Step 1: Attempt 1: Glass

The first thing you need to do is draw out the templates for your earrings and/or pendants.

You can draw out both earrings shapes to be more efficient; I didn't because I was making them one at a time in case they didn't work well :P

I then placed the glass part of a photo frame on top of these templates, thinking that hot glue would just peel nicely off the glass....and, well, it DID NOT. I managed to just about get the rainbow earrings off the glass with some coaxing, and it was useable, but the large disc earring and necklace pendant took warm water and some elbow grease to remove.

As you can see in the photo above, the disc earrings got my fingernail marks all over and got quite warped, so ended up not being useable.

In conclusion, don't put hot glue on glass!

Step 2: Attempt 2: Acetate

For this method, I used an X-acto knife to cut out the shape of the disc earrings and rainbow earrings (combined into one) from a sheet of acetate.

I placed this on a non-stick mat and then added hot glue within the cut-outs. This worked well for the disc shape, but I went outside the lines on the arch shape and this is when I learnt that hot glue really sticks to acetate!

Unfortunately, the template broke when I tried to remove the hardened glue, so I abandoned this attempt. I did get one useable earring out of it though :)

Step 3: Attempt 3: Parchment Paper

This method was definitely the best and easiest method, and is the one I would recommend!

Simply lay the parchment paper flat over your drawn templates and keep it in position however you can. I wrapped it around the sheet of glass from the photo frame.

Draw the shapes with the hot glue, trying to follow the templates as best as you can.

Remember to add any eyepins or other jewellery findingsas soon as you can, before the glue hardens.

I added 1 eyepin to each earring. I needed to reduce the length of my eyepins first, to fit my earrings. Then I pushed them into the melted glue as soon as I could after making the shapes.

The purpose of the eyepins is to hold the separate hot glue shapes together, and to allow me to attach an earring hook easily later on.

Step 4: Freeform Shapes

The easiest method to make shapes is to do so on a non-stick mat without templates at all.

For the dot earrings, I simply laid down 2 eyepins and added 3 hot glue dots along each of them. And for the 'bar pendant', I just did this by eye.

Step 5: Refine the Shapes

Use some small sharp scissors to trim off any excess glue, and aim to make the earrings the same shape as each other.

Don't worry about the rough edges; we'll smooth those out in the next step.

Step 6: Smooth the Glue

Place a tealight on a heatproof surface and light it. Make sure you have your sleeves rolled up and hair tied back for this step. Be careful and don't lean over the candle!

We're going to use the heat from the flame to smooth the glue to get rid of any rough edges and bumps/lumps.

Carefully move the hot glue over the candle, quite quickly so the flame just licks the glue. It doesn't take many licks of the flame to melt the glue.

You want to melt the glue just enough that the surfaces smooth out and go shiny, but not so much that it deforms or drips.

Make sure you don't touch the glue soon after you have smoothed it in the flame; the glue will stick to your fingers (ow) ...and you will leave fingerprints. Best to smooth one half of each shape, then leave it to harden on a non-stick surface, before smoothing the other half.

To flatten any bumps, I softened the glue in the flame, set it down, then pressed part of my non-stick mat down on top after about a minute of cooling. The glue will still be soft enough to flatten slightly.

Step 7: Add the Gold Leaf

The imitation gold leaf is very light and delicate; if you sneeze, this stuff is going to fly off everywhere!

Apply your foil glue all over the front of the shapes you want to cover. In my case, the glue is blue when wet and dries clear. It's when the glue goes clear that I need to apply the gold leaf (i.e. when it is tacky rather than wet).

Place a sheet of golf leaf over the top of the shape and press down all over to adhere to the glue. Rub lightly all over with your fingers to smooth the gold leaf.

Once dry, you can do the same for the back of the shape.

Step 8: Adding Transfer Foil to the Dots

These dot earrings turned out to be my favourites due to the silver foil on top of the black glue producing a very pleasing effect - much like dichroic glass I think.

I applied the glue to alternating halves of the dots, waited for the glue to go clear, then pressed silver transfer foil on top.

Rub the foil onto the glued areas and then remove the sheet. Transfer foil won't give full coverage like the gold leaf.

Step 9: Foiling the Rainbow

I used the same transfer foiling method as in the previous step, but here I used copper foil and cream foil - applying one colour at a time.

Step 10: Decoupage

I used Mod Podge to layer sparkly tissue paper onto one of my necklace pendant shapes, one layer at a time, but I didn't like how the black glue showed through in the finished result. I think this would look nice if I had used white glue underneath though.

The other pendant I covered with a thin fabric, which again has potential but I didn't like the black glue showing through. I know what I need to do next time now though!

Step 11: Gold Crepe Paper

I found gold crepe paper to be a successful addition to my 'bar' necklace pendant, as it does have the look of brushed metal.

I simply applied Mod Podge to the pendant, added a piece of the crepe paper, then folded and glued the excess onto the back.

When it was dry, I cut off some excess paper and added a layer of paper onto the back with Mod Podge. Then I cut off the excess paper again when it dried.

Step 12: Adding the Jewellery Findings

I used an awl (with a cutting mat below) to add a hole to either end of the crepe paper pendant.

I then used my jewellery pliers to add a large jump ring, then a smaller one, to each end of the pendant.

I cut an 18" length of chain in half and attached half to each smaller jump ring.

For the fastening, I added a jump ring on one end of the chain and a jump ring plus a lobster clasp on the other end.

For each of the earrings I just added a single earring hook.

Step 13: Finished!

And that's it; your jewellery is complete!

I hope you had fun doing this project :)

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