Rustic Picture Patina Earrings (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved

Rustic Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

We’re going to make a rustic pair of earrings that combine art plus patina, in this two-part project.

Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here in Part 1 of this two-part tutorial, we’ll create a pair of earring blanks from a piece of sheet metal.

Then, in Part 2 – Rustic Picture Patina –, we’ll embellish the surface of our earring blanks with an easy, homemade patina resist process:

Patina Resist with Ammonia and Sharpie Pen - Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Step 1: Make copper or brass earring blanks (here in Part 1 of this tutorial). Steps 2 – 4: Create a Sharpie-ink resist and an ammonia patina (in Part 2 of this tutorial).

Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

So let’s get started making our brass or copper earring blanks – and when they’re ready, we’ll hop over to Part 2 and have fun with the patina resist design!


  • A small piece of copper or brass sheet, 22 or 24 gauge, large enough for the earrings you’ll be cutting out of this metal.Most jewelry suppliers that carry metalworking stuff carry sheet metal. I got mine online from

    (If you’ll be doing Part 2 of this tutorial to add the patina embellishment to your earrings, make sure your copper or brass has NOT been varnished. Many craft-store and hardware-store metals have been varnished).

  • Sharpie marker for tracing your earring design on the metal.
  • Jeweler’s saw, tin snips, or heavy-duty utility scissors (you can get the snips or scissors pretty inexpensively at a hardware or home improvement store).I used utility scissors – here’s what mine look like:

    Heavy utility scissors

  • #0000 steel wool – a small piece.
  • Plastic, nylon, or rawhide hammer and jeweler’s steel block for flattening and work-hardening your metal after cutting.
  • 2 jump rings, large enough to fit through the loop at the top of your earrings.
  • A pair of earwires.
  • Flat nose or chain nose pliers for opening and closing jump rings.

How to Make the
Sheet Metal Earring Blanks:

First, draw and cut out a paper pattern for your metal earring shapes.

Below are two examples of ones I’ve used.

The teardrop measures 37mm high x 20mm wide, plus a stem that’s 15mm high x 4mm wide. (The stem will be rolled up to form the top loop of the earring.)

The rectangle measures 38mm high x 15mm wide, plus a stem that’s 15mm high x 4mm wide:

Paper patterns for earrings

Now get out your sheet metal – it can even be scrap metal.

CAUTION: Sheet metal has very sharp edges and corners. Handle it with extreme care, and keep it away from curious children and pets!

brass and copper sheet metal

Then use a Sharpie marker to draw around your paper pattern twice on the metal:

Paper pattern for earrings

I’ll be cutting out teardrop earrings from the copper and rectangles from the brass:

Making sheet metal earrings

Use your jeweler’s saw, tin snips, or utility scissors to cut out your earrings.

Cut carefully, so you don’t accidentally snip off the long thin stem at the top of your earrings (it’s as tragic as snipping off the tabs on paper doll clothes!). 🙂

Cutting out sheet metal earrings

My scissors have a serrated edge that leaves a sort of notched pattern on one side the cut metal. Because I’m going for a rustic look with these earrings, I’m just leaving that rugged edge as is.

Here are the earring shapes I’ve just cut out:

Copper and brass earring blanks

Now we’ll use a piece of #0000 steel wool to smooth every edge and corner of our earrings, so there’s nothing sharp anywhere:

Smooth copper earrings with steel wool

Use your plastic, nylon, or rawhide hammer and jeweler’s steel block to flatten and work-harden each of your earrings:

Flattening and work hardening brass earrings

Now it’s time to turn the stem on your earrings into the loop at the top.

So about midway down the jaws of your round nose pliers, grasp the very end of your earring stem:

Forming the earring loop

Roll it up neatly into a loop:

Forming the earring loop

Here’s a side view of the loop. (You can also see my rustic notched edges created by my funky scissors):

Making brass earring blanks

Here are the rectangles and teardrops with their loops finished:

Making brass and copper earring blanks

Now we need to step over to Part 2 – Patina Resist with Ammonia and Sharpie Pen to add the patina resist design to our metal:

Patina resist on copper earrings

Then we’ll come back here to finish up the earrings.

So when our patina process is completed, we’ll twist our jump rings open:

Twist open your jump rings

. . . and thread them through the loops of our earrings:

Jump rings for earrings

. . . and then add our earwires, and twist the jump rings closed.

Attach earwires to earrings

Here are the finished Patina Picture Earrings:

Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I’d love to see how yours turn out!

Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

This creative earring project is especially fun if you’re part jewelry artist, part mad scientist!

Picture Patina Earrings Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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  • Ana Lopes says:

    Beautiful earrings and a great tutorial!
    Have a nice week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  • Aaron Lewis says:

    I did not know making earrings that beautiful was so easy. I have to try this. Next question, where can I get sheet metal? -Aaron

  • Thank you! Aaron, I don’t know if you’re in the U.S. – I mentioned in the Supplies section above that my sheet metal came from – but most jewelry suppliers that carry wire or metalworking supplies should have it. I’d love to see your earrings when they’re done! 🙂

  • Great tutorial, Rena! And these look really pretty!

  • Trish says:

    These are stunning! Thank you so much for sharing! Have a good one!

    Take care,


  • Annie says:

    Rena, beautiful!! Wonderful tutorial!! Thanks!

  • Beautiful work 🙂

    Thanks for sharing ,,,

  • I love that patina look! beautiful!

  • Mary Beth says:

    These are absolutely lovely, Rena, and such an easy to follow tutorial.

    Pinning and sharing!

    Hugs, Mary Beth

  • Lauren says:

    These are beautiful earrings!

  • Wow, those turned out cool!

  • Linda says:

    Beautiful earrings and thank you for sharing.


  • Karli says:

    WOW! These are absolutely gorgeous! Wish I could buy a pair 🙂

  • Natashalh says:

    So cool! I use markers for a resist when etching, but I’ve never thought to do it with a patina. I love it!

  • Nicky says:

    I can’t believe these earrings are homemade – they look so professional!

  • Excellent tutorial, beautifully created earings. Gorgeous! TFS. I am now a follower of your blog newsletter and look forward to return visits.
    Hugs, Gayle.

  • April says:

    Your earrings turned out beautiful! I wish I was more crafty like that.
    Have a great weekend!

  • Ritchil says:

    These earrings are so pretty! Thank you for the great tutorial!

  • BeColorful says:

    What a great look and we all know what we would have to pay for a pair of handmade earrings like this in a boutique. Thanks for the tutorial.

  • Leslie says:

    Those are really pretty!

  • Kitty says:

    I can’t believe you made these. They look so professional, like something I’d buy in Santa Fe for $100! Amazing 🙂

  • Kathy Penney says:

    These are gorgeous! I would so wear them! Love the tear drop shape and patina. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lanaya says:

    These are beautiful Rena!

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  • Safy says:

    Thank you very much Rena, I’m really love your work and designs

  • Anna Garner says:

    I have been trying to work out a resist technique for copper pieces for a while now and have not been happy with my results. This is extremely helpful to show me where I was missing mark. Thank you!

  • such a sharp piece you bring out my interest in jewelry again!! thanks

  • Helen Cooper says:

    Rena, I’ve learned so many useful methods from you and this one on creating patina has to be a favorite! Plus, I decided it’s about time I tell you how happy I am following you. It means a lot to have someone share their knowledge and I intend to pay it forward to others whenever I get a chance. You always keep me inspired and yearning to learn more. Thank you so much, Rena. You’re awesome!
    Sending you a big hug,
    Helen Cooper

  • Thank you so much, Helen, and a big hug back to you! That’s lovely to hear. You made my day! 🙂

  • Carol Burton says:

    I love your ideas and tutorials, Rena! This tutorial is so interesting in the way a person can make something from household products. (Thanks for the warning, also). I’ve learned so much from you! I have three of your e-books, and have learned so much from them. I make my own ear wires, now. Thanks so much for all you do!

  • Kat, thanks so much for that great tip for using the nail filing blocks – and also for your kind words! 🙂

  • Kat Nemati says:

    Great tutorial. I work with sheet metal copper a lot and struggled with using the steel wool. I found that foam nail filing blocks that you find at most beauty supply stores are easier to handle and work great for smoothing the edges 🙂

  • Anisa says:

    I’ve just found your tutorials and I love love love them! I’m really excited about trying to work with sheet metal and experiment with patinas. What gauge is the best for this type of jewellery work?

  • Thank you, Anisa! For sheet metal jewelry projects, I usually prefer 22 to 24 gauge. Have fun creating in metal – it’s addictive! 🙂

  • Ilan Weisman says:

    Hi, I usually don’t make comments, But, Bravo for your site! I never came across such clear tutorials. The Graphics of the site makes it also pleasant
    to read. Not like many others tutorials in writing and video’s, after this I am ready to start to patinate jewelry. Thank you

  • Ilan, thank you for your lovely comment! That’s so nice to hear. Have fun creating with patinas! 🙂

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