Hammered Metal Earrings (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

This hammered metal earrings tutorial includes metalwork techniques as well as a bit of wirework and patina.

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

It’s an easy step by step jewelry project, with pretty spectacular results!

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I would love to see what you create from this tutorial! 🙂

Supplies:

  • Copper sheet, 22 or 24 gauge, at least 65mm x 40mm (2.56″ x 1.57″) size.
    I used 22 gauge copper sheet from my metal scraps leftover from other jewelry projects.
    Each of my triangular copper sheet earrings measure 40mm x 35mm x 30mm (1.57″ x 1.37″ x 1.18″).
    You can get copper sheet from most jewelry suppliers, or on Etsy.com, or by doing an online search for “jewelry copper sheet”.
  • A pair of earwires.
    I made my earwires from my Easy Fancy Earwires Tutorial.
  • Small- to medium-size metal-cutting shears, for cutting out your metal shapes.
    You can find these shears at most jewelry suppliers, or on Etsy.com, or by doing an online search for “sheet metal jewelry shears”.
  • A small piece of #0000 steel wool, for smoothing the edges and corners of your metal shapes.
  • Jeweler’s steel block, for hammering.
  • Jeweler’s rubber, plastic, or nylon hammer, for flattening your cut-out copper sheet shapes.
  • Jeweler’s hammer with a ball pein end, for creating the hammered texture on the copper sheet earrings.
    I’m using a chasing hammer with a ball pein.
  • Chain nose pliers, for opening and closing your earwires.
  • Jeweler’s hole punch, for making a hole at the top of each copper sheet earring.
    I’m using a EuroPunch hole punch.
  • Thin Sharpie marker, for marking your metal.
  • Optional: A hot boiled egg, for the metal patina procedure in my How to Oxidize Copper with Boiled Eggs Tutorial.

How to Make
Hammered Metal Earrings

CAUTION: The edges and corners of your sheet metal can be as sharp as a knife. Handle with care to prevent injury.

Make the Metal Earring Shapes

Make a paper pattern for the size and shape of earrings you want to create from your copper sheet.

I sketched a few triangle ideas, and decided to use the one you see next to my pencil – a triangle measuring 40mm x 35mm x 30mm (1.57″ x 1.37″ x 1.18″):

Making a Pattern for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg
Cut out your paper pattern and place it on your copper sheet.

Use a thin Sharpie marker to draw around the pattern onto your metal, for your first earring:

Making a Pattern for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now move your paper pattern to another area of the copper sheet, for your second earring.

Use the Sharpie marker to draw around the paper pattern onto your metal, for the second earring:

Making a Pattern for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Use your metal-cutting shears:

Jewelry Metal Shears for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . to cut out your first earring:

Cutting Metal for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . and then your second earring:

Cutting Metal for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now you should have two earring shapes cut out from your metal.

The metal shapes are usually a bit warped after being cut out, so we’ll use a nylon, plastic, or rubber jewelry hammer to flatten them out again.

Hammer one side of each metal shape, then turn it over and hammer the second side:

Hammering Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now your metal shapes should be nice and flat.

You can see that my triangles have very sharp points on them:

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

But we don’t want our earrings to injure anyone.

So use your metal-cutting shears to snip any sharp corners into a small, rounded corner instead:

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now we’ll use a small piece of #0000 steel wool to smooth the edges of our metal cut-outs.

(The steel wool will also remove all the Sharpie marks from your metal.)

Fold the steel wool over one edge of one of your metal shapes, and run it across every edge and corner of your metal until it’s smooth everywhere.

Then do the same to the other metal cutout:

Smoothing the metal - Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Every edge and corner your metal shapes should feel pleasantly smooth when your run your fingers over it:

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Make the Hammered Metal Texture

Now we’ll create the hammered texture on your metal shapes.

There are a variety of metal texturing tools you can use, to get different effects.

I’m going to use the ball pein end of a chasing hammer to texture my earrings:

Texturing hammer for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

We’ll create the hammered texture on just one side of each metal shape.

Hammer the first metal shape until you have the amount of texture you like.

Then create the hammered texture on your second metal shape:

Creating the hammered texture for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Punch Holes in the Metal

Now it’s time to punch a hole at the top of each earring.

So let’s pop over to my How to Punch Holes in Metal (Tutorial), to get the holes punched.

Then, when you’re finished with punching, come on back here to finish your earrings!

Your textured, punched metal shapes may look something like this:

Holes Punched for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Color the Metal Earrings with Patina

Now you can leave your metal earrings as is.

Or you may want to try a patina to enhance the hammered texture on your earrings.

For my earrings, I used a fast, cheap, and easy patina technique involving a boiled egg:

Patina for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

If you want to use that same patina, pop over to my Easy Boiled Egg Patina Tutorial.

When you finish whatever patina process you choose, come on back here to finish up your earrings!

Make the Earwires and Attach Them

Now it’s time to attach earwires to your metal shapes.

I’m using this pair of earrings from my Easy Fancy Earwires Tutorial:

Earwires for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

You can also use pre-made earwires.

If you do use pre-made earwires, you may need to use a jump ring between your metal shape and the earwire.

To attach your handmade Easy Fancy Earwires:

Use chain nose pliers to gently twist open one of your earwires at a time:

Opening the Earwires for Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Attaching Earwires to Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Thread the tip of your earwire through the front of the hole in your metal earring:

Attaching Earwires to Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

. . . and twist the earwire around until the loop part of the earwire rests in the punched hole, and the straight tip of the earwire is pointing toward the back of the earring:

Attaching Earwires to Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Then use your chain nose pliers to gently twist the earwire shut again:

Attaching Earwires to Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Attach the remaining earwire to the remaining earring, so that your earrings look like this:

Attaching Earwires to Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

And you’re done!

Your finished Hammered Metal Earrings may look something like this:

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Hammered Metal Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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  • Moogie says:

    Your earrings came out beautiful, Rena! That patina is gorgeous. They have the artisan look many women love. I can see making these in several geometric shapes & them selling like hotcakes! (Guess hotcakes sold well back in the old days…). Thanks for the detailed instructions. You are an excellent educator ????

  • Thank you so much, Moogie! You just made my day. 🙂

  • Edyta says:

    Wow, thank you for this tutorial. So clever and such a pretty outcome! I can’t wait to try. I am blown away by the egg patina. May I ask about the color… the other tutorial shows the resulting patina to be blueish and here we also have orange and even some red. Are these additional colors from a longer duration of keeping the metal in the egg sulfur?

  • Hi Edyta! Thanks for asking about the colors in egg patina – a fun and fascinating process. In my experience, homemade patina procedures are difficult to control or predict the colors (which is part of the creative fun). There are so many factors that affect the color outcome – temperature, type of metal, how old the eggs are, how many eggs you use, how long you leave the metal in the egg baggie, etc. The blueish results in the egg patina video tutorial were on sterling silver. I used copper for these hammered earrings, and the egg created more of a rainbow of colors with lots of brick red, orange and pink.

  • Marie says:

    Rena, I love these earrings. I do something similar but without the patina. I do have a question. Is the patina permanent or do the earrings need to be coated to preserve the patina?

  • Thank you, Marie! Yes, when the patina is finished and dry, I seal the patina using a clear spray lacquer. Apply at least three light coats of lacquer on every patina surface of the metal, drying each coat thoroughly before applying the next coat. I use a clear, matte-finish, spray-on sealant called “Tree House Studio” Clear Acrylic Matte Coating, from Hobby Lobby. Krylon also has a product that’s pretty much the same thing, and about the same price.

  • Edyta says:

    Oh yes I see, different metal, different effect. I am so excited to try the egg patina! I love that this process is as natural as can be and the result is so stunning. Thank you so much!

  • You’re very welcome, Edyta! I’d love to see how your patina project turns out! Remember to get your metal completely clean and dry before starting the patina procedure.

  • Lynda Carson says:

    These are gorgeous, Rena! I’m really going to need to try the boiled egg patina trick…love the results!

  • Thanks, Lynda!

  • jean jesen says:

    love these earrings, they will be a must make. Thanks

  • Thank you, Jean – that’s lovely to hear!

  • Rena,

    I dearly love your newsletter and look forward to every issue!

    One suggestion for this earring design is to offer alternative ear wires other than copper. Many folks have severe skin allergies to metal ear wires that are not pure precious metals, like myself. I didn’t realize my pierced ears would break out into a miserable rash until I wore anything BUT pure Sterling Silver, or at least gold plated earring wires. However, I have found a solution to those who have skin allergies and want to wear economical earring wires that “look” like copper, which is Niobium wire. This lovely wire comes in a wide variety of colors and is Hypo-allergenic. Niobium is a rare precious metal, highly desirable for earring wires because it is physiologically inert, thus Hypo-allergenic. It is a low cost alternative to Sterling Silver or Gold. I use “copper” colored Niobium wire that goes very well with my copper earrings. I can assure my customers that they will not suffer from a skin rash in most cases. (There are a very small percent of folks who are even allergic to GOLD! But, for the vast majority, Niobium wire is a good Hypo-allergenic substitute for copper.)

    I love your hammered triangle design, it is very classy and you have provided easy to follow step-by step instructions!

  • Val says:

    I love these! Great patina! Hammering metal is so much fun.

  • Chris Rehkop says:

    Thank you for sharing this tutorial Rena, I may need to try some metalwork this year.

  • This is gorgeous! I like how the patina comes out so beautiffuly. I have already tried your boiled egg patina but it didn’t come out so nice. Plus, I have learn a new technique to texture my metal! Thank you for sharing this tutorial!

  • Linda Robichaud says:

    These are great. Love the patina. Here is how I trim sharp edges on my copper projects. I use snips or even regular scissors to snip the sharp edge off (very small cut). Regular scissors work just fine and I always have a pair handy especially for this purpose. Then I take a small metal file moving the file in a forward curved direction towards to corner. I then turn the copper piece over and do the same thing. You can cut bigger corners off file the same way for bigger rounded corners. Only takes a few strokes with the file and you are done.

  • Linda, thank you for sharing your sharp edge trimming technique – very helpful! 🙂

  • Virginia, thank you so much for your kind comment. And thanks also for your info and tips regarding earwire allergies and the Niobium alternative. I learned years ago that the only earwires my skin likes are sterling silver and 14k gold filled – although I haven’t tried niobium in my own ear piercings.

  • Thanks so much, Val! I agree – hammering metal can be very satisfying. 🙂

  • Chris, you’re very welcome! I think you’ll find metalwork very addictive. 🙂

  • Yeelen Spirit, thank you! When you do any patina procedure, it’s super-important to make sure the metal is completely clean and dry, with no fingerprints or anything else that may resist the patina.

  • erinn says:

    These are really cute! Thanks Rena!!

  • Thanks, Erinn! 🙂

  • Janet Brown says:

    I’m keeping this whole email trail as a “Rena classic”
    Rena your inital post shows your love of helping others e.g. your active links to basic method tutorials.
    And then follows the cooperativeness of the wonderful community you’ve encouraged to grow.
    Thanks to you all and have a great 2018!
    Jan

  • Daphne says:

    Copper is my favorite material. What excites me is the wonderful colors it has when it is oxidized. The earrings you made are great.Thank you for the instructions you give us.

  • Janet, thank you so much for your lovely message, and for reflecting what you saw in this post! I so appreciate your comment. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful year! 🙂

  • My pleasure, Daphne. To me the best part of homemade patina procedures is that the colors are always a surprise!

  • Gloria says:

    Hi Rena, the patina on the copper is gorgeous❣️ I’ve used a torch, and boiled eggs, but never have I gotten the gorgeous Red Orange colors. You’ve been asked by many, but I’d like to know how many hard boiled eggs did you use, how long did you leave the copper in the bag, do you check the color every so often, or leave the bag closed? I’m sure I can get a similar affect with alcohol inks, and other paints, but would like to do the egg thing once in a while. BTW, I do enjoy your tutorials, Thanks much for sharing your talents with us.

  • Hi Gloria, thanks for your lovely message, and for asking about the patina procedure! First I have to say that even when I do everything the same way for the egg patina, the colors rarely come out the same.

    When I used this patina on the hammered metal earrings, I first scrubbed the metal pieces with baking soda and dish soap to remove all traces of oils or other elements that may resist the patina. I dried the metal pieces thoroughly and put them in a sandwich baggie. I used 1 boiled egg that stayed in boiling water for about 10 minutes, then took the hot boiled egg out of the water and put the egg immediately into a sandwich-size ziplock bag, and zipped the bag tightly shut. Keeping the baggie sealed, I crushed the egg (shell and all), and surrounded the metal pieces with the crushed egg bits, keeping the eggs NOT touching the metal, so the fumes could start affecting the metal. I never leave the baggie while the colors are developing, because I want to pull the metal out as soon as I see some colors I really like. And I leave the baggie sealed until I decide I like the colors and open the baggie to to get the colored metal out. I watched the metal pieces for probably 5 to 10 minutes as they turned all sorts of colors until I saw these particular colors.

    Now, this procedure is not an exact science, so unfortunately it’s not always possible to replicate a color that you or anyone else has had with a previous project. In my experience, homemade patina procedures are difficult to control or predict the colors (which is part of the creative fun). There are so many factors that affect the color outcome – temperature, type of metal, how old the eggs are, how many eggs you use, how long you leave the metal in the egg baggie, how the metal was cleaned, etc. The blueish results in the egg patina video tutorial were on sterling silver. I used copper for these hammered earrings, and the egg created more of a rainbow of colors with lots of brick red, orange and pink.

    I hope this helps, Gloria, and I hope you enjoy experimenting with this patina process! 🙂

  • amanda thompson says:

    Another great tutorial Rena! I love the hammered texture and patina. They look gorgeous! I’ve been wanting to hammer a lot lately and I’m loving the variety of looks that one can achieve depending on the hammer. I haven’t tried the boiled egg pating yet, but have been using liver of sulfer and Jax black patina. I think the boiled egg gave a richer look that what I’ve achieved with liver of sulfer so I’m planning on trying it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Amanda, thank you! I loved making these earrings, and my favorite part was watching the colors develop with the egg patina.

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing this egg patina. This is the first time I have heard of this. I’m so excited to give this a try. I love your earrings and I will give this a try tomorrow. Thanks again for sharing so others can learn.

  • Ann L. says:

    I just found your tutorials on Pinterest and am so excited. They are so descriptive and easy to follow. I’m pretty new to this but feel I can easily make beautiful jewelry with your lessons. Thank you for sharing !!

  • Ann L., thank you for your lovely comment – you made my day!

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