Phillips Head Stud Earrings

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About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

Being that this was my first ever soldering project, I found that these earrings were surprisingly easy to make.

I went to the plumbing section at Walmart. I picked up this soldering torch for $15. In the same isle they sell lead free silver solder. The solder I bought was $10 and also came with a container of flux, an application brush, and a piece of sand paper. So total damage: $25. These earrings will only use a small fraction of that but you’ll get to use it for all kinds of other projects.

Basically I understand it this way. Solder is a low melting alloy. Flux is a paste that helps solder stick to metal. A torch can heat metal hot enough to the point it will melt the solder. So fire makes heat, flux helps the bond, and solder is the bond.

So this is what I did.

Step 1: Cut Off the Threads

Find a couple Phillips head screws. Use pliers to cut the threads off as close as you can to the head.

Place the screw head on a Phillips head screw driver. File away the remaining threads until the back side is flush. I used a grinding attachment in my drill press.

If the heads are shallow enough you should end up with a perforation in the back of the head.

Step 2: Set Up for Soldering

Apply some flux to the head of a stainless steel needle. Thread it through the screw head.

You only need a small amount of solder.  Hammer a piece of solder and cut a square out with  diagonal cutting pliers.

Place the assembly in the jaws of some pliers. Position the needle so it's perpendicular to the screw head.

Place the square of solder on top.

Step 3: Solder

Melt the solder into the Phillips head. Allow it to cool and solidify.

Step 4: Remove the Excess Solder

File away the excess solder from the front and back. Use some 300 grit sand paper to clean off the last of the remaining excess.

Polish the heads with 2000 grit sand paper, polishing compound, and a polishing wheel.

Step 5: Prepare the Backings

Trim the backing down to size. I compared the length to some earrings my wife has.

File the ends of the backings until no sharp edges are left behind.

Borrow some backings from an old pair of earrings and place them on your new earrings.

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    37 Discussions

    I love this but I think I need a video. It looks so easy to do and something I need to learn. Most of my soldering is done in the kiln. I have made fine silver jumprings with my mini-torch b/c you don't need flux etc. Just heat until the silver 'jumps' together. You have to have a good set of cutters though so the metal will touch as flush as possible. thanks, I'm going to see if I can do this using your method. Jan

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    neilh

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice Instructable! I tried one based on a magnet back. First I used a stainless steel screw, but I could not get the solder to flow at all. Then I found a zinc plated one of the next size up, #8 --- my stainless one was a #6 --- For a first cut it came out pretty good. Picture attached.

    I also, since I had some wire, tried the woven pendant ible from the same author. That was fun.

    Earring-1.jpg
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    redorchestra

    7 years ago on Step 5

    One thing that would move this from a great 'ible, to an awesome 'ible would be to make backings out of the screw!

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    I've made pins/backers from scratch before...
    both starting with wire, and turning steel.
    trust me, you don't really want to try.
    Trying to turn a diameter that small, without a precision watchmakers lathe, and plenty of practice...it'll drive you insane very quickly. then you have to add the "retaining notch" to top it all off! that's some seriously fiddly work.
    just spend the $3 and get a proper silver post/back from the craft store.

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    Kryptoniteironsmiter

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    What lathe were you using? Any standard house-hold lathe would be nigh on impossible to do this with! Kudos for trying though :D

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    ironsmiterKryptonite

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    I guess my grammar checker wasn't working well enough?

    I have done this on the watchmakers lathe i mentioned.
    The only real problem doing it on a larger lathe is... you can't get enough speed for a smooth cut. At that size, the surface speed is too slow for normal work.
    It COULD be done with a fine file. but as i said before, it'd be slightly insane to do it.

    I do have a question now though.
    What constitutes a "standard household lathe"?
    In my experience, having ANY metal working lathe in a house is rather a rarity.

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    Kryptoniteironsmiter

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    He he, sorry, that was very poorly worded.
    3-4 foot work length and about 6 inches maximum diameter? I honestly should have said 'metalshop lathe'.

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    redorchestraironsmiter

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    Not make the pin, I mean use the screw part as the retaining clip.
    So it would look like a screw was through the ear.

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    ironsmiterredorchestra

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    hmm... COULD be done.

    Most posts, like this, are around 20 gauge. that's .032 inch(.81 mm).
    Drill size of 1/32, with a poor sharpening, should work well enough(.0312, plus the wobble from being sharpened wrong). Otherwise, a #66 drill(.033) should be used to make the post hole.

    Now, drill a little deeper, and epoxy a teeny tiny rare-earth magnet into the bottom of the hole. if you can find one that small.
    The other method would be to drill the toe of the screw shaft, and fit a 1/8th inch RE magnet to THAT side, and just let the magnetic properties of the steel do your holding work( like http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSCopr7hKJR4wtHNkR5miU88pr8OBuYmOGya8ips0vSF4JLg1zwuA but different :-).

    One advantage to doing the magnet is, you can NOT use a post, and you have turned it into a "clip-on" earring, for people without piercings. Just make sure the magnet isn't TOO strong, or you could end up crushing the ear. Not a problem with the studded version, because the stud length and backing hole depth can be set to hold the flats apart.

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    beaujangles

    7 years ago on Step 5

    Hi,
    To notch the pins (if they were made from silver) you use round nose pliers, place them 3/4 of the way up the pin, hold them tight whilst rotating the pin in your fingures this will cause a small grove to be created. I am not sure if this will work on stell pins but its worth a go.

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    kathynv

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Again, what you've done with (almost) nothing is genius. I plan to steal your idea this weekend after I purchase some appropriate screws. I do have a small suggestion for you, though. Sterling sliver posts are a more usual way of finishing earrings, and are less likely to cause allergic reactions to the metal. (Most people know if they are allergic to silver. It's really tough to know if you're allergic to one of the many alloys called "stainless steel.")

    It's possible to get small packages of sterling silver headpins at any craft store carrying jewelry findings. Earring backs are also available for very little money. I 'd buy earring backs in plastic, in a larger size, to act as a counterbalance to the weight of screw head. You should be able to buy both for less than $5.

    Once again, thanks again for your brilliant inspiration. Once I make the earrings, I'll post a photo here.

    2 replies
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    Mrballengkathynv

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    All this jewelry making stuff if new to me. I always appreciate any advise. Thanks again.

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    caseygibskathynv

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    now that you brought it up kinda, would it be a possible to make the cuff-links out of stainless steel. Cause i would absolutely do so, but i am worried that after trying to remove excess solder that i would wear away the stainless coating and it would get all funky. Is it possible to solder on stainless steel?? many questions

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    Roryfkl

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Soooo cool... Again! How do you think of this stuff?! I'm thinking of making cuff links in the same way.

    Keep up the amazing work!