Introduction: Ombré Earrings

About: In which I turn the thoughts from my head into objects in my hands

I was working on a project that involved folding paper units, and later I realized that I had cut out and folded too many of them. Unwilling to waste paper, I decided to come up with something to utilize the excess, and this is what my imagination dreamt up, which is funny because I don't even have pierced ears. ^^ Even so, I had fun making these, and they look like the perfect present for one of my friends whose birthday is coming up...

Step 1: Materials

  • origami paper
  • headpins OR wire (I'll show you how to make your own) (paperclips will work)
  • earring wires OR wire (I'll show you how to make your own)
  • pliers
  • OPTIONAL: beads
  • glue
  • pencil + ruler + scissors
  • box or book with a crisp, 90 degree angle

Step 2: Preparing Squares

The units for this require squares of different sizes, and eight of each size. The side lengths of my sizes were 1.875 cm, 2.175 cm, 2.475 cm, 2.775 cm, 3.075 cm, and 3.375 cm. (The decimal places are because I had a few 1.875 squares already, and I just wanted each unit to be 3 millimeters bigger each size up.) The corresponding colors are progressively darker for larger sizes (so red is the largest size, white was the smallest).

Just use your ruler and pencil to draw squares for those sizes (for decimal places, eyeballing your ruler is fine) and you should end up with eight squares per size, 48 squares total.

Step 3: Folding Units

The units for this are fairly simple:

  1. Start with a square.
  2. Fold along one of the diagonals.
  3. Fold the sides inward to the diagonal crease from the previous step.

Make more of these using the squares that you cut, and you should end up with 48 units.

Step 4: Gluing Units

Take a unit of your smallest size, and put glue on the backside of it. Then put it on top of the next bigger size, making sure to line up the top sharp angle of the units. Using a box or book with a crisp 90 degree angle, firmly rub the two units together so that they are stuck together with a 90 degree bend. Apply glue on back of those units, and put it on top of the next larger unit, again lining up the top corner. Use the box or book to press all the units together, and continue until you've used all of the different sizes. Continue doing this until you have 8 glued units total.

Step 5: Gluing the Glued Units Together

To make the pyramid shape of the earrings, you need to glue the glued units together. Follow the pictures above; it's hard to explain in words without pictures.

Step 6: Optional Step for Stability

The corners of my pyramids were pretty flimsy because the origami paper I used was quite thin. I wanted to reinforce them so I cut out little squares of thicker paper and folded them along a diagonal. Then I glued them to the underside of each point of each pyramid.

(sorry; I don't have pictures of this step)

Step 7: Headpins

I didn't have headpins so I just made my own from wire. Use your pliers or fingers to make a ball of wire on one end (just randomly make twists and circles; it doesn't matter how hideous the ball ends up). Then cut the wire about 2 cm from the wire ball, and you've got a headpin. Make one more for a total of two.

Insert the headpin into a pyramid, making sure that the wire ball is big enough that the pyramid doesn't slip off. If you wanted to add beads, put the bead onto the headpin so that it rests above the pyramid. Finish off by making a loop with your pliers, and repeat for the other pyramid.

Step 8: Earring Wires

Take your spool of wire and make a sharp bend about 2.5" down. Bend until the end of the wire is parallel to the rest of the wire, and cut so that you have a piece of wire with two parallel 2.5 pieces (like a long, sharp U). Shape the wire into the shape of regular earring wires (use an online picture or another pair of earrings) -- shape BOTH parallel wires at once so that they are identical. Then cut about 0.75" down from the last bend. Put a bead on that 0.75" tail if you have beads before making a final loop, and repeat for the other piece of wire.

Step 9: Attachments

Bend the loop of an earring wire slightly and attach it to the loop of one pyramid. Repeat for the other earring wire with the remaining pyramid, and you have a new pair of earrings!

Note: you'll probably want to sterilize the earring wires if you made them.
Again, here's the project for which I had excess units.

I think it'd be a good idea to apply some sort of clear sealant so that the earrings would be stiffer and more durable, and perhaps waterproof too, but I'm not sure what I would use. Please comment below if you have ideas though; I'm open to suggestions. :3

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