These earrings are easy-to-make steampunk or industrial-style jewelry. The gears can also be used for necklaces, bracelets, pins, or as charms for fascinators, hats, or hairpins.
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Step 1: Materials
- Access to a laser engraver/cutter (I used a Universal Laser Systems VLS 3.50)
- 1 1/8''x4''x24' sheet of basswood
- Acrylic paint
- Mod Podge
- cup for water and Mod Podge
- E6000 glue and applicator.
- Jewelry wire
- Jewelry pliers
- Flat gearcharms in assorted sizes and colors (copper, gold, silver, brass, black, etc)
- Earring hooks
- Rings, beads or other findings to put between the gears and earring hooks
Optional for other types of jewelry:
Step 2: Cutting the Gears
Cut the gears out from the basswood using the laser engraver on the "Basswood" or "General Hard Woods" setting using the template below.
The .pdf is sized for a 4" x 24" sheet of bassword. The .svg files can be resized and imported into graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw.
All red lines indicate cuts.
Step 3: Painting
Paint the gears on the top, bottom, sides, and inside the center hole. Leave to dry overnight.
When they have dried, add a coat of Mod Podge and let dry overnight. This protects the paint and increases the shine of the surface.
Make sure to identify the "front side" of the gear before using it. The "back" side of the gear will look flatter. The front side should always be facing out in any project.
Step 4: Gluing
Glue one of the gear charms onto a small wooden gear with the E6000 glue. Glue the small gear onto a large one in a 5 o'clock position, making sure the spokes are pointing the same way for both gears. Contrasting colors for the large and small gear give a nice effect, each earring of a pair could also have opposite colors.
Step 5: Connecting the Earring to the Hook
Using a ring to connect the earring:
- Open the ring with jewelry pliers.
- Insert in in the small hole of the larger gear.
- Insert the ring into the loop of the earring hook, making sure that the end of the hook is pointing in the opposite direction from the front of the gear.
- Close the ring.
Using a bead:
- Cut a piece of jewelry wire with scissors - about 5" or so, depending on the bead.
- Insert in the small hole of the larger gear, with half of the wire on either side.
- Wrap the left half of the wire 3 or so times around the right half, then cut the left half.
- Use the jewelry pliers to push the coils of the wire together, and to push in the little bit of wire left when you cut it.
- Insert the right half of the wire into the bead.
- Insert the wire into the loop of the earring hook, and repeat steps 3 & 4. Make sure that the end of the hook is pointing in the opposite direction from the front of the gear.
- After finishing the second earring, double-check that each earring is the same length.
Step 6: More Ideas
Here are some examples of other ways you can use the wooden gears.
Gears can be prepared ahead of time or be made during a class, as they cut fairly quickly. The wood itself could be painted ahead of time or left unpainted. Attendees could be given the choice of other shapes such as fish or leaves, however the design should be tested with the design software and laser engraver prior to the class.
For a two-part class, attendees could learn how to create shapes in design software such as CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator and then cut the shapes an make earrings.