Foldformed Circle Earrings

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Intro: Foldformed Circle Earrings

This instructable will show you how to make your own foldformed earrings with some basic tools.  The possible designs are endless!  

Step 1: Tools Needed

You will need the following tools to complete this project:
1) circle template
2) marker
3) files 
4) 0.4-0.6mm thick piece of coper
5) hammers - rawhide & metal
6) shears
7) anvil or steel plate
8) hole punch for piercing metal, drill or dremel
9) torch, kiln or natural gas stove to anneal copper

Step 2: Cut & File Circles

Use the circle template to draw circles on your copper.  My circles had a diameter of 1.5".  Cut out the circles with your shears & file the edges smooth.

Step 3: Fold Circles in Half

Fold your copper circles in half & hammer flat with rawhide mallet.

Step 4: Hammer Fold

Hammer fold edge with metal hammer.

Step 5: Anneal & Quench

The copper is stiff after all the hammering.  Therefore, anneal it before going to the next step.  You can use a torch such as propane or butane to anneal your copper.  I held my pieces over one of the burners on my natural gas stove.  When the copper turns dull red - it's annealed. Quench the piece by dropping it in a container of water.  Dry thoroughly before continuing.  

Step 6: Open Fold & Confirm It

Open up the copper & hammer on the fold.  

Step 7: Repeat the Annealing & Hammering

You can hammer as many folds into your piece as you like.  I chose to do four folds to get a "star" pattern.

Step 8: Add Holes

Add holes for your ear wire.  I used a punch for piercing thin gauge metal, but a rotary hand tool (dremel) or drill would work equally well.

Step 9: Final Cleanup

You can lightly sand your copper circles with 500 or 600 grit sandpaper or drop them in a pickle to remove all the firescale (black & red spots).  I used a pickle because it's faster.  My pickle is made from a super saturated solution of vinegar and sea salt.  Finally I added the ear wire which you can buy in the jewelry section of your local craft store or Walmart.  I decided to keep going with these earrings, so I cut out parts of the edges, textured them with hammers and stamps, plus used purple Sharpies for color.

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    13 Discussions

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    CherylDunham

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi great earrings. I have a question. Why do you have the copper covers on the jaws of your vice? I assume it is for protecting other metal that you may clamp with it! Thanks

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    dorseykmCherylDunham

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for commenting and the jaws of my vice are textured (not smooth & flat). if I don't want to imprint the jaw pattern on the piece I'm working then I have to protect the piece. I used copper because I had it available and rubber is another common material to use. One of the rules I learned for jewelry work is to protect your piece from any accidental marks.

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    CherylDunhamdorseykm

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your answer, it is as I had suspected. I think I need to cover mine, they are not smoothe either. Thanks again. CD

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    Travpena

    7 years ago on Step 2

    instead of cutting out a copper sheet, have you ever tried smashing some pennies?

    1 reply
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    dorseykmTravpena

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 2

    No, I haven't tried that. The pennies might be a little thick for foldforming which generally uses thin pieces of copper because the folding provides a lot of stiffness. I'd love to see pictures if you try this technique with a penny.

    Very cool. I did some metalworking in college, annealing and rawhide mallets and the whole shebang, and this brought it all back. nicely done earings.

    1 reply