Shotgun Shell Jewelry Pins




Introduction: Shotgun Shell Jewelry Pins

Learn how to make a shotgun shell pin without all the specialized jewelry making tools. I will show a few different techniques I used to meet the same end when attaching a shotgun shell to a pin. A special piece of jewelry for any proud sportsman.

Wow! Wouldn't it be great to have the great tools that are prizes in the Jewelry Contest? Absolutely! After all, it is so much easier to get any job done when you have the right tools. Sometimes we just have to make do with what we have at our disposal.

One of the things I have noticed since entering contests over a year ago is there is often a correlation between the grand prize winners and the prizes. Often times winners are winning prizes they already have. I mean, they are winning tools that they used to make their great creations. While I applaud their skills and envy the tools they have to work with, wouldn't it make more sense to award those grand prizes to those who do not have the tools in their shops already? Just saying... :-) Logically it just makes sense to try to advance the capabilities with the right tool set.

When I vote for contests I usually take into consideration how resourceful the makers were to build their masterpiece.

So, if you feel this project worthy with the limited tool set available, give it a vote.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

By no means do I have an elaborate set of tools for making jewelry. While a professional set of tools would be great, I made do with what I had on hand. In addition to what is pictured, below is comprehensive list of tools and supplies used for these shotgun shell pins.


  • Hammer
  • Center punch
  • Rotary Tool
  • Rotary tool buffing wheel
  • 1/16 inch drill bit
  • 1/8 inch drill bit
  • 1 inch spade bit
  • Drill press
  • Hand drill
  • Butane torch
  • Vice
  • Small C-Clamp


  • Casings from spent shotgun shells
  • 1 inch round pin blanks
  • Acrylic rhinestones
  • BB's
  • #6 3/8 inch machine screws and nuts
  • E6000 Jewelry and Bead glue (this is good stuff)
  • Super Glue (not recommended, but I gave it a try just to see how well it works)
  • Scrap wood
  • Lead free solder
  • Butane fuel
  • Polishing Compound

No special tools were purchased for this project. The only special supplies I purchased were the pins, rhinestones, and E6000 glue, which were purchased at a local craft store totaling about $7.00.

Step 2: Removing Casing and Primers to Prepare Casings

To start you will need some spent shotgun shells. You will need to remove the plastic shell from the casing.

Take a look at how to remove the plastic from the metal casing. You can see how the LoneSoulSurfer separated the brass from the shotgun shell. I pretty much did it the same way for this project and my Shotgun Shell LED Senor Clock.

Removing Primers

For some of the casings in this project you will need to remove the primers from the metal casing. The hole created by removing the primer is where I will insert a screw to do some fastening for one of my techniques. If you choose to remove the primer, see below.

  1. Turn brass upside down so you can see inside of casing.
  2. Insert a center punch or Phillips screwdriver into center of primer.
  3. Give your center punch a couple taps and the primer will pop out.

WARNING: Be certain the primers have been spent before doing this. The primer is the part of the shell that ignites the gunpowder when shell is shot. You will not want the surprise if striking a live primer. BANG!

Step 3: Prepping Pin Blank for Screw Fastener

One of the techniques I used to fasten the shotgun shell to the pin was to fasten with a machine screw and nut. While this might not be a "purist" jeweler technique, it works. Before fastening I had to drill a hole in the center of the round pin blank. This is the technique I used to find and drill the center of the blank.

Making a Drilling Jig and Drilling Hole

  1. With 1/16 drill bit, drill a hole completely through a scrap piece of plywood.
  2. With a 1 inch spade bit drill down about 1/8 inch using the 1/16 inch hole as your center point.
  3. Insert pin blank into the 1 inch depression made with spade bit. It should be a snug fit.
  4. While holding pin in place firmly, insert 1/16 inch drill bit with hand drill into opposite side of wood.
  5. Drill just enough to score a center point onto the pin blank.
  6. Remove pin and drill through with 1/16 inch drill bit. This will be a pilot hole.
  7. Change drill bit to 1/8 inch bit. This hole will be large enough to insert a #6 machine screw.

Step 4: Screw Fastener Technique

Now that you have 1/8 inch hole drilled into the center of the pin blank you can fasten the pin to the shotgun shell casing with machine screw and nut.

  1. Insert screw through top of shell casing.
  2. insert screw trough pin.
  3. Use screwdriver to tighten. This will be a snug tight fit. Do not over tighten as you will bend the pin.
  4. Add nut to pin backing and tighten with wrench slightly.
  5. Do this to a couple shells or more to your liking.
  6. Pins can be used as is or you can move forward with additional BLING!

NOTE: Be sure you get that hole centered! Otherwise, when adding the bling later you will run into problems. If you do not get it centered, then try using one of the other following techniques to hide your error.

Step 5: Soldering Shell Casing to Pin Technique

Here is another technique I used to fasten the shell to the pin. Perhaps this is a technique that the "purist" jewelry maker might use?

  1. Use a small C-Clamp to center and hold together then shell casing and pin.
  2. Make adjustments as necessary to center the two pieces. You should have a 1/16 inch lip around the entire shell of the pin.
  3. Secure C-Clamp and work piece into a vice.
  4. Using a mini butane torch heat up your work piece.
  5. Apply a few tacks to secure the shell to the pin.

Step 6: Fasten With Glue Technique

Here is the final technique I tried. While a little on the messy side, the messy glue can be hidden with the BLING!

  1. Use the C-Clamp once again to center and secure shell to pin.
  2. Use a tool pick to apply a small amount of E6000 jewelers glue to seam around entire shell where it meets the pin.
  3. Allow to dry 24 hours inside clamp.

Step 7: Polish Your Piece

Before adding your BLING give the piece a polish with a rotary tool, buffing wheel, and polishing compound. Give it a good polish and wipe with clean cloth. Image shown is from recent Shotgun Shell Clock. Take a look if you wish and give it a vote!

Step 8: Bling It Up

Now you can make your piece as Blingy as you wish with whatever you desire. I used some acrylic rhinestones and BB's. If you used the machine screw technique, you might want to cover that screw with BLING! If you use the solder or glue technique you can leave the primer exposed or cover with BLING

With a small paint brush or toothpick I used a small amount of E6000 glue to adhere a rhinestone or BB to the center of the shell primer or over the screw head.

A little note about the E6000 glue. From what I have read this seems to be the preferred adhesive for jewelers that actually use glue. It does a great job of securing metal to metal. On another note, I noticed it does interact with the acrylic rhinestones in a negative way as you can see in one of the images above. Do not waste your time with Super Glue. With my first piece I tried the stuff and with one drop of the pin the glue will break and bling will fall right off.

Glue BB's to Pin Lip

  1. Apply a small amount of E6000 around the perimeter of the 1/16 inch lip of pin.
  2. Select the shiny BB's of your batch.
  3. Each pin will accept 18 BB's if set side by side with no gap.
  4. Set each BB side by side.
  5. Let dry 24 hours.

Step 9: You Are Done

Here you go folks. You are done!

Obviously it is possible to create jewelry without all the specialized tools, but it would make the job a whole lot easier and cleaner with a jewelers kit of tools. Just Saying. :-)

Hopefully the few techniques I shared with a minimal tool set will inspire others. Let your creativity run wild with the BLING! Would love to hear from others on their techniques and critique mine as well.

If you feel worthy, throw a vote for creativity and resourcefulness! Workmanship could improve with more experience and a dedicated set of tools.

Bling It On!


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    5 years ago

    I saved the shells from when my husband was teaching our boys to shoot. I am going to have to make some jewelry.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Be sure to check out another project with shotgun shells at


    Reply 5 years ago

    Go for it! A clock is always fun too.