Laser-Cut Acrylic Geometric Drop Earrings

By Mrs. F and Sasha K.

With minimal design, materials, time and effort, you can have a pair of dangle earrings with the help of a laser cutter. This project takes less than an hour and can provide you with earrings that are a perfect match for that outfit or a last-minute gift for a friend or relative. This is also a great project for getting started with 2D design or getting students interested in digital fabrication, or a great way to demonstrate how Tinkercad can be used for 2D design.

Supplies:

Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

For this project, you'll need the following items:

1) Jump Rings

2) Long-nose Pliers - two pair. Jewelry pliers are preferable because they do not have grooves that can scratch or damage the surface of the materials you use them with. However, if you don't have them, just cover the grooves on regular pliers with some masking tape while you are working with the jump rings.

3) Jewelry adhesive

4) Earring posts and backs (I've used these before)

6) Access to CorelDraw or other 2D design software (Gravit.io is a great free resource.) . Tinkercad, known for its 3D design capabilities can also generage .svg files for lasercutting! It is also free.

7) Access to a laser cutter at your home, school, library or local makerspace

8) Laserable acrylic pieces big enough for design; we used 1/8" thick, in florescent pink and a green opaque

Step 2: Design and Laser Cut Your Pieces

Laser cutting is unbelievably fast and precise. Once you have your shapes designed in CorelDraw, you can send the print request to your laser cutter. We used an Epilog laser cutter and here is a great Insructable class that details the process. Again, consider free design options with Tinkercad or Gravit.io to export .svg files for printing. Two .svg files are attached that were downloaded from Tinkercad.

We always cut parts from cardboard or other scrap material to make sure the pieces are what we want and that the components fit as planned.

Step 3: Put the Pieces Together!

If you haven't worked with jump rings before, it is pretty easy to do - IF you remember one crucial thing: jump rings should be opened by moving, or twisting, their openings sideways to make a space for attaching pieces, NOT apart. HERE is a quick WikiHow explanation. You twist them back in the opposite direction to close.

I suppose it doesn't really matter what order you connect your 3 pieces. I connected the middle ring to the bottom wedge, then connect that combined piece to the top piece with the earring post.

The final step is to center and glue the earring post onto the back of the top circle with the jewelry adhesive.

Step 4: Enjoy Them! Give Them! Display Them!

These earrings are dangly and lightweight and best of all, a custom design. Laserable acrylic comes in so many colors and varieties that you are sure to find something you like. We find inexpensive scraps from many sign vendors who are willing to sell small pieces at a fraction of the cost of new sheets.

Have fun!

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    5 Discussions

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    seamster

    25 days ago

    Very nicely done!

    Are you a teacher? If so, can you tell me a little more about the course this is for, or how you're using making in the classroom? Very curious! Thanks!!

    2 replies
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    LearnAtLaunchpadseamster

    Reply 24 days ago

    Hi Seamaster,
    Yes, I am a makerspace teacher. This project is the result of a program for passion-based learning that students in grades 6-8 may apply. It is an extracurricular undertaking as most of the work is done outside of school (home, before school and after school, some weekends). Inspired by some of my projects, this student applied to learn about how the laser cutter might be used to make jewelry. Students keep portfolios (Google Sites) to document their projects and learning. She is now my laser cutting expert!

    Other work in the space is integrated into classroom projects.

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    seamsterLearnAtLaunchpad

    Reply 24 days ago

    Awesome, thank you for the background. We're always curious how students and teachers are using the site. Thank you!!

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    23mkroberts

    25 days ago

    Is this just like the 3d printed earrings but laser cut? They seem very similar. This is a cute design though

    1 reply
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    LearnAtLaunchpad23mkroberts

    Reply 24 days ago

    Yes, they are the identical design to the 3D printed earrings in my other Instructable, but designed and fabricated in two very different ways. Laser Cutting is much, much faster and there are more color/style options with acrylic. 3D printing is more accessible to users, but far fewer colors exist. Something notable is that the same Tinkercad design for these earrings can be downloaded for use to either a 3D printer (.stl) OR a laser cutter (.svg).