Hammered Metal Earrings (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved
This hammered metal earrings tutorial includes metalwork techniques as well as a bit of wirework and patina.
It’s an easy step by step jewelry project, with pretty spectacular results!
I would love to see what you create from this tutorial! 🙂
- 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″):
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:
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:
Use your metal-cutting shears:
. . . to cut out your first earring:
. . . and then your second earring:
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:
Now your metal shapes should be nice and flat.
You can see that my triangles have very sharp points on them:
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:
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:
Every edge and corner your metal shapes should feel pleasantly smooth when your run your fingers over it:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Thread the tip of your earwire through the front of the hole in your metal earring:
. . . 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:
Then use your chain nose pliers to gently twist the earwire shut again:
Attach the remaining earwire to the remaining earring, so that your earrings look like this:
And you’re done!
Your finished Hammered Metal Earrings may look something like this: