Five Cent Hoop Earrings




About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

This is the sequel to my “Sweetheart Nickel Ring / Pendant”. It’s nearly the identical process. It just takes more time. In either case, you can use a nickel to make hoop earrings.


Sliding square
Razor blade
Center punch
Small hammer
Large hammer
Mandrel (I used a pry bar)
Rotary tool
Drill press
80 Grit sand paper
400 Grit sand paper
2000 Grit sand paper
Polishing Compound


Step 1: Mark the Center

Center the coin in the carpenters square. Using a razor blade score a line in the center. Rotate the coin 90 degrees and score another line. Where the lines cross is the center. Now use a punch to mark the center. This helps you in the next step.

Clamp the ring. Starting with a small drill bit, drill through the premarked center. Progressively drill a bigger hole until it will fit on the mandrel your using. I used a pry bar as the mandrel.

Step 2: Start Hammering

Place a large hammer on a flat surface to serve as an anvil. Next, place the coin over the mandrel. Using a small hammer, hammer the edge of the coin.

As you hammer rotate the mandrel and apply slight pressure towards the anvil. This hammering and pressure helps elongate the coin as it moves down the mandrel. As the coin stretches, check it against the measurement you want.

In other words the bigger you want the ring, the more you have to hammer. View the pictures of how the hole gets bigger measured against my pinky.

Step 3: Keep Hammering

As you hammer the ring will expand. I find it easier to use increasingly bigger socket bits to serve as an anvil. From my pry bar I went to a 12mm socket and ended up at a 7/8 socket.

Every so often hammer the edge of the ring as shown. This helps keep thickness to the ring as opposed to becoming a ribbon.

Step 4: Mount the Ring

Find a socket bit just barely smaller then the ring. Press the ring on the socket. I improvised with a brass fitting

After you press the ring on the socket (or brass fitting), use a nut and bolt and secure it through the female end. The protruding end of the bolt will be used for mounting in the drill press. Mount the assembly in the drill press and spin it round. Use a 80 grit to shape it. You will shape the bottom side first.

Now you have to start being careful not to mar the ring. Use a piece of wood to tap the ring on and off the mount.

With the assembly spinning in the drill press, use progressively finner sand paper to make the ring it's final shape. I start with 80 grit, then 400, then 2000. Spray the 400 and 2000 grit sand paper with water. This prevents the sand paper from getting clogged with metal particles. Again, this gets HOT! And don't breathe the metal dust.

Flip the ring as needed. Use polishing compound to buff it to a shine.

Step 5: Cut It in Half

This step is optional. You could always make Ten Cent Hoop Earings. 

Score a line with a razor blade. Minimal pressure is needed to mark a line. Once the line is marked, remove the assembly from the drill press and move it to a scroll saw. 

Slowly and carefully cut the hoop in half with the saw at it's lowest speed setting. 

Use caution and work within your experience.

Step 6: Micro Hammer

To remove the burs off of the hoops use an engraver.

Remove the tip of the engraver and flip it around to the flat side. Turn it on it's highest setting and use your new micro hammer to remove burs.

Finally, repolish the hoops in your drill press. 

Step 7: Link the Backings

Get a pair of earring backings from your local craft store and link them to your hoops.

You could also cut a section of earring out and solder a backing on.



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    25 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I think this is an awesome instructable and I love all of your others too!
    I do want to say to anyone who is not aware. A *lot* of women have nickel allergies and if you make something for your love and she can't wear it, don't think your efforts weren't appreciated. I am severely allergic to nickel and cannot wear it at all. It eats my skin up as if I had spilled acid on it where it comes into contact. It used to just give me infections on my ear lobes, but has gotten much worse over the years.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    You should never use nail polish as a clear sealant. It has a strong smell that is irritating to some people, and it yellows with age. You could probably use Mod Podge or a similar craft-quality sealant, but you're probably better off using a product meant to be used on metal.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for sharing this. Many, many years ago my husband's great-grandfather made his fiance a wedding ring out of a dime--long since lost in a flood. This may help us replicate it. :)

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Happy to share. I bet the dime was a silver one and not nickel and copper like todays dime. You can still find them. I think they have to be minted before 1962. Thanks for the comment.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great work. Instead of using sockets and fittings to chuck your pieces onto your drill you should try making a custom drum mandrel like the sanding drum on a dremmel. All you would need is a rubber bushing, a full thread bolt about an inch longer than the bushing, a nut to fit the bolt and two flat washers. Put the bolt through the bushing with a washer on each end and thread the nut on. As you tighten the nut, the bushing will expand onto your work piece. I've used this myself for many different projects for sanding and clamping with great success.

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thats an awesome idea. Good thinking. I remember something like that from the Army to seal bullet holes in gas tanks.

    HEY YOUMrballeng

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice Job

    My grandparents were amateur jewelers and used a "ring sizer" to get a ring to a particular size - it is basically a narrow steel cone that you place the ring on and smack it with a wooden mallet to size it and get it back into round if it is bent. I have no affiliation with this site, but they have a ring sizer for $3.50 -

    If you used pieces of pipe increasing in size, you could shape a ring by hammering down rather than around.

    To buff your ring, you could use a sanding drum mandrel like these from Lee Valley,42500,42501 but you can do the same thing with a small piece of rubber air hose, a bolt, a washer and two nuts (one to squeeze the hoe against the ring blank, and one to lock it in place)

    Again, Very Nice work and good Luck

    susanrmHEY YOU

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Unfortunately, looks like the mini sanding kit is no longer sold by Lee Valley.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    So is there never any annealing needed? (to stop it cracking and to make the hammering easier) Do you know exactly what kind of alloy the 5 and 10 cent pieces are made of? Is it nickel plus something else or just nickel? From what I see I guess it doesn't get work hardened then?

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    According to wikipedia a 5 cent US nickel is %75 Copper %25 Nickel. I have'nt used a dime yet but the same site says it's 91.67% Copper 8.33% Nickel.

    I use the coin as is. You could anneal it if you want but I think it turns out fine for what it's used for.

    Really, I've never tried anything other then just strait hammering but I'll give it a try and see how it goes.

    I'm working on a two coin pendant. I'm hoping to have it posted before Valentines Day.

    According to Wikipedia, United States nickels are made from an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel, except for the "wartime nickels" (mid-1942 to 1945: 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese.)

    I know that Titanium is a very hard metal, yet is very, very slow to work-harden; this may also be true about the nickel coin alloy, since nickel is also a very hard metal. (Only a guess - I realize nickel and titanium probably have little in common other than both being corrosion-resistant).


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent instructable.

    Nice instructions.
    Nice idea.
    Great photos. (It's nice to see someone how knows what focus is!)

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    That's cool, but shouldn't it be TEN Cent Hoop Earrings? or Five Cent Hoop Earring?