Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - Jewelry Making Journal

This ear cuff tutorial shows you how to make a versatile, comfortable alternative to standard earrings.

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - Jewelry Making Journal

Ear cuffs are a popular style for both gals and guys.

And they’re a good solution for people who can’t wear pierced earring styles.

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - Jewelry Making Journal

When you finish this easy metalwork project, you can attach all sorts of decorative elements to your ear cuffs – beads, charms, chains, etc.

You can wear an ear cuff on just one ear, or wear one on each ear.

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - Jewelry Making Journal

How to Put on an Ear Cuff:

The easiest way is to start by putting the ear cuff around the top of your ear, and then slide it down the rim of your ear, to the area where you’d like to wear it.

Then gently bend the ends of your ear cuff to get a secure, comfortable fit for your unique ear.

How to Put on an Ear Cuff - Rena Klingenberg, Jewelry Making Journal

Supplies for a Pair of Ear Cuffs:

  • A small piece of metal sheet, 24 gauge.
    Each ear cuff will be about 31mm (1.25″) long, and anywhere from 3mm (0.12″) to 12mm (0.47″) wide.
    I used copper.
    (You can purchase your metal at most of the major jewelry suppliers, and at etsy.com . You’ll find lots of sellers if you do a quick online search for “24 gauge metal sheet for jewelry”.)
  • Ruler – for measuring your metal.
  • Small metal-cutting shears – for cutting your metal sheet.
  • Jeweler’s steel block and nylon, rawhide, rubber, or plastic hammer – for flattening your metal.
  • Small piece of #0000 steel wool – for smoothing the edges and surfaces of your cut metal pieces
  • Sharpie marker of any size – for marking your metal.
  • Ultra fine point Sharpie marker – to use as a mandrel for shaping your ear cuff.
  • Metal punch – there are many styles of punches for metal. For this project I used a Eurotool EuroPower punch, and its 1/8″ punch bit.
  • Round nose pliers – for shaping the ends of your ear cuffs.
  • Jump rings – for attaching dangles to your ear cuffs.
  • Items to dangle from your ear cuffs.
    (In this tutorial, I’ve shown examples using chains, a wire-wrapped bead, and a metal stamping of a leaf.)

How to Make a Pair of
Metal Ear Cuffs with Dangles

CAUTION! The edges and corners of your metal sheet can be extremely sharp. Please be careful when handling your metal. And wear adequate safety goggles while working with your metal.

We’ll start by measuring and cutting the metal.

I’m making ear cuffs that are 31mm (1.25″) long, and 9mm (0.35″) high.

I find it’s easier to cut out one piece of metal that’s 2x the ear cuff height, and then snip it in half to make the two ear cuffs.

So I’m starting out by cutting a piece of metal that’s 31mm long, and 18mm high:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - Cutting Metal

Now I’ll measure and use an ultra fine point Sharpie to mark the center line down the length of my cut-out metal:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - Measuring Metal

And then I’ll use my metal cutter to cut on that line I drew – separating the two ear cuffs:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - Cutting Metal

We don’t want any sharp corners on our ear cuffs, so we’ll use our metal-cutting shears to trim each of the corners to a more rounded shape:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

After all that cutting, the metal is usually somewhat warped.

So we’ll flatten our ear cuffs, one at a time.

Lay one ear cuff on a steel jeweler’s block (or other sturdy, smooth surface).

Use a nylon, rawhide, rubber, or plastic hammer to pound each side of each ear cuff:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - flattening the metal

Your metal pieces should be nicely flat.

Now we’ll smooth all the edges, corners, and surfaces of the ear cuffs – using a smallish piece of #0000 steel wool.

Wear adequate eye protection and breathing protection while using steel wool, because of the little fibers of it that fly around.

Fold your piece of steel wool in half (like a taco shell) and use it like sandpaper all around your ear cuffs until every edge and corner feels smooth and rounded:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - smoothing metal

Also use your steel wool to clean and smooth the front and back of your ear cuffs.

Your ear cuffs should look something like this:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - smooth metal

Now it’s time to punch a hole in the center of each ear cuff, so we’ll able to attach dangles to the cuffs.

Use your ruler and Sharpie pen to mark a dot in the exact center of each ear cuff:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - marking metal

Punching the Holes in the Ear Cuffs:

We’ve marked where the holes will go in our ear cuffs. So for punching the holes, we’ll take a minute to pop over to my How to Punch Holes in Metal (Tutorial).

As soon as we finish punching our holes, it’s time to hop back over to this tutorial to finish up our ear cuffs!

I used a Eurotool EuroPower punch and its 1/8″ punch bit to make the holes in my ear cuffs:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - punching metal

Our punched ear cuffs should look like this:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - punched metal

Now it’s time to shape our metal pieces into ear cuffs.

We’ll use an ultra fine point Sharpie pen as a mandrel:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - shaping the ear cuff

Lay one of your metal pieces crosswise on the center of the Sharpie pen.

Use your thumb to hold the metal firmly in place against the Sharpie:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - shaping the ear cuff

With the fingers of your other hand, wrap the ear cuff tightly around the pen, until it looks like this:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - shaping the ear cuff

Use your nylon, rubber, or plastic hammer to help shape the metal firmly around the pen – from the center of the metal, all the way around to the ends:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - shaping the ear cuff

If the ends of your ear cuff still need some shaping, use your round nose pliers to give them the amount of curve they need:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - shaping the ear cuff

Now we’ll make the second ear cuff the same way we made the first one.

They should look somewhat like this:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I decided I didn’t want my ear cuffs to be quite so pink and shiny. 🙂

So I use patina inks to create deeper color and a brushed, distressed texture on the outside of the cuffs:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

How I finished the outer surface of these ear cuffs:

I used a Q-Tip to brush layers of Ranger Patina Ink in Rust and Clay colors onto my ear cuffs.

After less than a minute, I used fine sandpaper in a lengthwise stroke to create a shabby-grunge look with a brushed texture.

See my Jewelry Patina Techniques (Tutorial) for more of my tips, techniques, and ideas using these types of patinas.

Our ear cuffs are finished – so now it’s time for the fun of hanging various elements from the holes we punched in the metal.

Your finished ear cuffs might be something like these:

Attach a Metal Charm or Pendant:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - adding a metal charm

Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open a small jump ring.

Thread your charm or pendant onto the jump ring.

Then thread the jump ring through the hole in the ear cuff.

Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut again:

Attach a Wire Wrapped Bead or Briolette:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - attaching a wire wrapped bead

First, wire-wrap a bead or briolette with one of my tutorials:
Briolette Wire Wrapping Techniques (Tutorial)
Make a Wrapped Wire Loop (Video).

Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open a small jump ring.

Thread your wire wrapped bead or briolette onto the jump ring.

Then thread the jump ring through the hole in the ear cuff.

Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut again:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - attaching a wire wrapped bead

Attach Chains:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - attaching chains

Cut three pieces of chain – one long, one medium, and one short.

My chains are 22mm (0.87″), 27mm (1.06″), and 32mm (1.26″).

Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open a small jump ring.

Thread all three chains onto the jump ring.

Then thread the jump ring through the hole in the ear cuff.

Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut again:

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg - attaching chains

Metal Ear Cuff with Dangle Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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