Introduction: Sheet Metal Gauged Earrings
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.
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.