Sheet Metal Gauged Earrings




About: Art Teacher, Artist, and Maker - Follow me on Instagram to see what I'm working on before it hits Instructables.

I love making solid metal jewelry, but I don't have a torch for soldering. I came up with these designs to create sheet metal earrings without soldering a wire onto them. They fit easily in my 6g holes with a silicone tunnel, and fit snugly in my 8g holes.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

sheet metal (16-20 gauge) - I used brass, but copper or silver would be nice too.

jeweler's saw

masking tape

small files


sandpaper - I left them with a rough finish. If you want a smooth shiny finish, you'll need a range of grits

Silhouette cutter with engraving tip- The Silhouette is optional though highly recommended. The oval earrings were made without it, and they turned out fine. However they aren't as symmetrical, because the lines I drew on the metal were thicker and tended to rub off if I wasn't careful. The engraved lines are much better, but I'll include instructions for making them without the silhouette for those that don't have access to one.

Step 2: Design

Draw out your design. As long as the top has a hook on it, you're all set.

Draw the design in a vector based program like Illustrator or Inkscape.

Save your design as a .dxf

Import your design into Silhouette Studio.

Adjust the size. I made my design 1" wide.

If you don't feel confident coming up with your own design, I've attached my files.

Step 3: Silhouette

Tape your sheet metal to the center of your Silhouette cutting mat with masking tape.

Make sure your design is placed to match where the metal is taped.

Set the cutting defaults to coverstock with double cut.

Install the engraving tip and run your design.

If the design is hard to see, run it again.

If you don't have access to a Silhouette, print and cut out the design on cardstock. Trace the design onto the metal with a permanent marker.

Step 4: Drilling

Drill holes into each of the circles or any other negative spaces in your design that is at least as big as the blade on your jeweler's saw. There's no need to drill the top hole because there's an entry for the blade at the edge.

Tape your metal to the edge of a table and clamp it into place. The tape isn't completely necessary, but helps to hold the metal from falling off the table when you need to adjust the clamp.

Step 5: Cutting Holes

Detach the blade from the top of your jeweler's saw and thread it through one of the drilled holes before reattaching it.

Cut around the circle.

Detach the top of the blade again to remove the jeweler's saw.

Repeat until all negative spaces are cut out.

Step 6: Cutting Edges

Cut out the edges of the design before cutting the top out.

Step 7: Filing

File the edges until smooth.

Step 8: Sanding

Because it's very likely there are a few scratches in the surface of the metal, sand the front and back of each piece. This will rub out the scratches. If you're patient, you can also sand it with a variety of grits from 200 up to 600 for a shinier finish.

Step 9: Enjoy

Bend the top to the side slightly to wear.



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    9 Discussions


    Question 8 months ago on Introduction

    Hi there, thank you so much for this helpful tutorial. I would really like to make my own cut out metal triangles for necklaces. I can see how I could do this with your method. However, is the quickest way to achieve this without using a cutting laser machine? I'm looking to start making my own jewellery so I'm just in the research stages but I can't seem to find much information on this. Thanks so much in advance =) happy to follow your method as cutting machines are so expensive!

    1 answer

    Answer 8 months ago

    Thanks, I'm glad you found it helpful. Hobby laser cutters aren't strong enough for that. I have a $4,000 laser cutter and it barely engraves. You're looking at a 5 figure laser cutter if you want to cut metal. Good luck!


    1 year ago

    Great saw control!! Beautiful job.


    1 year ago

    These are beautiful and voted for. However, and I hate to be the party pooper, please be careful in the choice of metal for jewelry. Modern brass is a different composition to older/antique brass and is almost certainly going to contain nickel. Nickel is added in small amounts to improve flow and initial casting and patina improvement but will leach out. Copper itself is the next culprit for skin irritation or at least green skin. Using silicone tunnels is a great idea for stretched lobes but perhaps investing in some surgical steel 316L wire for making simple ear wires might be a good idea for those folk who don't have 16mm stretchers like me in their lobes

    Please don't be offended. I have had problems in the past with jewelry materials and on a couple of occasions have bought piercing jewelry that I was informed was surgical steel. When sterilized and worn they put me in some of the worst pain in my life at the site of the piercing. I took them out and put the original jewelry back in and the relief was immediate. So, that wasn't 316L!

    2 replies
    Brooklyntonia Oncer

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for providing that info for other makers. I always wear my silicone tunnels, so they aren't touching my skin at all.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Like I said I don't want to be that guy, but the time I put fake surgical steel in my septum I was in that much pain I thought I might lose part of my nose never mind the piercing. Taking it out and putting the old jewelry back was like a switch that turned the pain off. I never found out what the metal was and was too busy then to take it back to the shop. I've never had a reaction like that since. But I don't want to scare people. I have several piercings including septum at 5mm and a stretched lobe and I wear lots of jewelry so please don't think I'm a po-faced meanie!


    1 year ago

    You should polish it with cheap polishing compound that you can buy on eBay. See the Clickspring Youtube channel - polished brass looks amazing!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    ...Though it might oxidize, I'm not sure.


    1 year ago

    You could rob a bank with those earrings!