This Instructable is related to the crafting of ear studs from ‘found stuff’ and watch parts.

I don’t use the term ‘SteamPunk’ in my description, because although these are close to that wonderful style, I don’t think they represent enough of the ‘functional’ purpose required of that genre.

Hence my term:  Cogbling.  If anyone else claims ownership of this term I thank them sincerely for letting me use it.

And so to begin: Picture 1 shows a typical product of this process. It’s not the one we’re making, it’s the one I wear most of the time. Sorry if my scraggly white beard offends those of a more squeamish disposition.

Step 1:

This main resource required, as shown in Picture 2, is a bunch of watch parts.  There was a time, a few years ago, you could have scrounged this scrap by the pound, at little or no cost.  Well those days are over, and if you want this material you now have to pay a lot of money from a source such as eBay.

Step 2:

When I get my consignment, I go through it carefully, sorting out and putting to one side these plates, Picture 3.  These plates are available in all watches, but obviously the larger the watch, the larger the flat plates rendered.  The lovely thing about these plates is the wide range of shapes they have. They form the perfect foundation for my creations.

Step 3:

Picture 4, I also purchase another raw material, which is brand new stud earrings.  These particular ones come in numerous colours, and are made of resin and surgical stainless steel.  They are not expensive, and they are ideal for my purpose as they have a fairly stout stem.

Step 4:

To begin the project I gather a suitable foundation plate, and an ear stud, and sometimes a piece of watch to go under the stud for added texture.  Picture 5.

Step 5:

Picture 6 shows the three items being glued together.  The use of a ‘third hand’ device, to my mind is an absolute necessity.  I use cyanoacrylate (superglue,) though I believe in the USA most ‘jewellery’ makers like something called E600, or E6000.  That stuff is fearsomely expensive in dear old blighty, and as I have  had great results from superglue, I’ll keep with it for now.

Step 6:

Once the initial arrangement has set solid, I re-arrange the piece in the jaws of the third hand, for continued additions.

Picture 7 shows the addition of a couple of objects.  I try to create a 3D affect and texture, by choosing some deep objects, some tall, and some flat. The spring-holding cups work very well to create ‘an arrangement within an arrangement,’ effect.

Step 7:

In Picture 8 I continue to add more parts  -  the larger ones at the bottom, then smaller ones stacked as required.  This is the time when you need to go slow, and consider carefully that looks right and what is going to be too much.  Obviously one consideration is the structural integrity, so it’s important to ensure that each item added has plenty of foundation onto which it can be glued.  Any item attached over too small an area is likely to be knocked off the piece at some stage, which is obviously an unwanted occurrence.

Step 8:

Picture 9 shows the end result for this particular piece.  I have added some particularly small items into the ‘cup’ at the top of the picture, to add depth, texture and interest.

Step 9:

Picture 10 shows the underside of the piece, showing that the supporting plate provides very comprehensive support for the added parts.

Step 10:

Pictures 11 to 17 are other examples of this technique.  You can see that depending on the type of watch plate used as a foundation, there is a broad range of sizes and shapes of end products.

You will also see that in the extreme macro photography the ear studs seem to have a slick coating of some sort.  This is down to a couple of coats of clear nail varnish I apply as a final process.  The varnish adds to the integrity of the end product, and under normal eyesight, in normal lighting, is absolutely invisible.  It’s a shame, and frustrating that the macro photography has made these studs look a little weird  -  I assure you they do not have this ‘coated’ appearance under normal viewing conditions.

I do hope you like these things, and maybe you’ll have a go at making your own.



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    7 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    OK, I can add pictures easy enough. Could you clarify and expand on 'modelled' please. If you mean the application of the glue and the actual placement of each item, well I guess I can, but it isn't easy with only 2 hands, even when the item itself is supported. Many thanks for your comment, all feedback is good feedback and much appreciated.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I mean "worn by a model", a photo of them in somebody's ears. It gives a much better idea of how good they look than just seeing them with a coin.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    OK, fair enough. The main pic of the 'ible is in fact my current ring, in my own ear with sundry grey beard fragments as a border. It may be a bit too far away to be obvious it's an ear, but as I took the pic myself (try it :) ) I thought it wasn't too bad. The problem with showing them on a model is that these are for sale, and you really can't sell an ear stud to anyone after it has been in someone else's ear. Thanks again for your message.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, and thanks for the feedback. All I use for the photography (in the instance of the ear) is a pocket Canon A1100 IS. I like this camera because it has an eye pice to view through, rather than relying on the LCD screen, which in many light conditions is pretty much impossible to use for composition. All the closer macro shots on the coins were shot using a Fuji Finepix S9600. Although this is quite an old camera by todays standards, and is fairly bulky and heavy, I think it takes wonderful shots. It was the right balance of quality, performance, price and functionality when I bought it, and so far I haven't felt the need to change it. Thanks again.