Shotgun Shell Jewelry 2.0 Lapel and Hat Pin




Introduction: Shotgun Shell Jewelry 2.0 Lapel and Hat Pin

This Instructable will show with minimal tools and supplies how to make lapel and hat pins from used and reshaped shotgun shells. Jewelry for any sportsman!

In contrast to my last Instructable where I focused on techniques of bonding metal to metal, here I will show a simple technique of cutting and reshaping.

The most challenging part of this Instructable will be acquiring high brass shotgun shell casings. If you know a bird hunter then it will be easy.

As mentioned in my last Instructable, Shotgun Shell Jewelry Pins, I have a limited tool set to work with in making this jewelry. While it would be great to have all the special tools that go along with the craft, sometimes that just is not in the budget. So, we will do the best we can with the resources available.

Step 1: Supplies

First you will need to acquire some shotgun shells. Before going online or to a gun range for shotgun shells be sure you know what you are looking for in shell casings. Shotgun shells come in different length sizes and diameter depending on the type and gauge of shotgun for which they are made.

As far as length, most of the shotgun shells you find for sale online are considered low brass target loads. These are very short, usually less than 1/2 inch deep. In the image you will see the silver casing is a low brass target load. On the other hand, you have high brass that measure approximately 3/4 of an inch deep, give or take 1/16 of an inch.

The high brass will be harder to come by as they are common for the sportsman that might shoot waterfowl. Most shooters will not use high brass for target shooting due to expense and the pounding on the shoulder. The higher the brass the bigger the BANG! Why? MORE GUNPOWDER!

I will use both high and low brass in this Instructable. The high brass will allow for some cutting and shaping while the low brass will be used in some quick lapel pins.

In addition to the shotgun shell casings you will need.

  • Jewelry Pins
  • E6000 Jewelers Glue
  • Masking Tape

Step 2: Tools

There really are only a few tools you need to create these lapel pins.

  • Dremel rotary tool
    • Rotary tool cutting wheel
    • Rotary tool polishing compound and wheel
    • Rotary tool grinding wheel.
  • Vise
  • Couple sets of mini pliers
  • Small fine file

Step 3: Polish Casings

For this first set of casings you will want to polish them using your rotatory tool, polishing bit, and polishing compound. You will see in the following steps why we are polishing first.

As you can see from the images, the casings really do clean up nice with a mirror like shine.

Step 4: Cutting the Casings

Next, use a vise to hold the casing firmly for cutting. Notice in the images that I added a piece of masking tape after I discovered the vise marking up the metal. I recommend you do the same.

With your cutting bit make cuts of the sidewalls all the way to the base of the casing. 6-8 cuts should do it, giving you about 1/8 inch fingers off the base of the casing.

If you have the fancy jeweler hand saw, you might want to use that instead for more refined cutting.

Cut a few more casings this same way while you are in the cutting zone.

Step 5: Shaping the Fingers

Next we are going to shape the metal. With a small set of needle nose pliers bend out the fingers to make a nice flat star shape. This will be the base design for 2 different finished designs.

Now you can see why we polished the casing in an earlier step. It would be very difficult to polish this shape as the casing sidewalls are very thin and narrow.

Step 6: Sunburst Design

Here we will create a sunburst design.

  1. Use your pliers and twist each finger a quarter turn.
  2. Now is probably a good time to use a small file and file off those cutting burrs and make the edges dull.
  3. Next use pliers to make small curls in each of the fingers.
  4. Voila! You have a starburst.

Step 7: Sunflower Design

This time we will use the same flat base design to create sunflowers.

With that same pair of pliers, simply bend the fingers back toward the base of the cashing making flower petals.

For those of you with the small jeweler hammers, I recommend tapping each petal flat. Once again, don't have jewelers tools.

Step 8: Glue Pins

Next we will glue some jewelry pins to the back side of the pins. Apply some E6000 glue to the primer of the casing and set a pin into the glue. Let sit for 24 hours to dry and cure.

There you have it! A couple beautifully shaped shotgun shell lapel or hat pins.

Step 9: Quick and Easy Pins

Here are some quick and easy pins as well. No cutting and shaping necessary. Simply glue the pins to the primers inside the casing.

Get out the polishing bit and make them real pretty.

Step 10: Shotgun Shell Lapel and Hat Pins

Here you go folks. A little bling that any true sportsman would love to adorn.

While challenging at times, had lots of fun making these. When you have no choice but to use oversized tools you just need to adapt. This makes my 4th shotgun shell project for the past month. While making these I started thinking about the bullet casings I have. Should have that Instructable up in a day or two. Be sure to check back for my next masterpiece made from spent ammunition.

Thanks and keep Making!
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    Outstanding. I look forward to your Instructable on the rifle casings. I have thought of doing something similar but wondered about attaching the case heads to mounting pins or other materials. I was thinking of using them like Conchos on denim or leather.

    I think the old British Nitro Express rounds would be great as well as the Eley revolver round like .450 Adams or .455 Webley. .303 Lee-Enfield rifle cases would be a natural as well. And we won't leave out our American greats like .45-70 or .45 Colt. Thanks again.


    Reply 5 years ago

    You might want to check out another one of my projects. Another good use of shotgun shells and bullets.


    Reply 5 years ago

    thanks for the kind words. Hope you give a vote.

    Sounds like you know your ammunition. Me not so much. I know enough to buy the right ammo to hunt wild game such as waterfowl, small game, and white tail deer.

    I asked a friend who collects military stuff if he had any spent ammo to share. He gave me a small box of assorted rifle and pistol rounds to work with. I have attached an image of one that I will be working on. I was drawn to the color as it was unusually reddish copper in color. It really stood out from the others. Perhaps you can identify? All I could find was that the P186 is of German origin.


    Without knowing the military codes for the numbers on the head stamp I could not be completely certain. Sometimes photo perspective on the net is not what you perceive in person.

    So here is what I think it is; 8 x 57 mm Mauser from German military. Howerver, it could be the much smaller 5.56 mm current NATO round which is tiny next to the Mauser. The shape looks like the 8 x 57 to me. Easy to tell though. The Mauser round would be ~8 mm inside of neck where the bullet would be seated and almost exactly 57 mm in length and nearly half inch inch diameter at the head. The current NATO round would be .22 calibre in the neck and only 45 mm long or so and much less diameter.. Hope that helped.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Confirmed from friend who gave the rounds. "8 x 57 mm Mauser from German military"

    Dr. Gonville Farnsworth
    Dr. Gonville Farnsworth

    Reply 5 years ago

    Excellent. I look forward to seeing your next project.


    5 years ago

    very nice


    Reply 5 years ago

    thank you. please vote.