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How to Make Copper Earrings

Updated on March 22, 2013

Handcrafted Earrings Made Simple

There is nothing simple about working with metal. Metal handmade jewelry requires skill and practice.

Having said that, I found an easy way of making earrings that almost anyone who has used tools around the house can do.

The main objects used to create these earrings are inexpensive and can be purchased in a hardware store or online at Amazon.

Once you make the simplest form of these earrings, you can embellish them in many ways.

Are you curious yet? Have you guessed what that object is by the photo? If you said copper washers, you are absolutely correct.

All photos were taken by designsbyharriet

Washers
Washers

Materials Needed

Look in Your Toolbox

You will, of course, need to purchase a set of washers.

Washer sets include numerous different sizes, so you can make earrings that are big or small.

Some kind of drill is required for making the holes to fit the ear wires. Any household drill will do, but you will need to use a small drill bit because you want the holes to be small.

If you want to make your own ear wires, you will need six inches of sterling silver 21 gauge half-hard wire. Round nose pliers for shaping the wires would also be required. I use only sterling silver because copper can be a problem for some people.

Since this is an earrings made easy lens, I would suggest purchasing a pair of ear wires instead of making your own.

I also use a medium size clamp to hold the washer while drilling it, because the washer will get very hot, so something to hold it is necessary.

Safety glasses must be worn whether you are making jewelry or fixing something around the house. Small parts can come loose and fly around and could easily hit your eye. Better safe than sorry.

A small hammer and an awl. Look in your toolbox.

Don't forget the small drill bit available in hardware stores or online.

Some of the Tools Required

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Drill, Awl, Hammer, Round nose pliers and Silver Wire for making ear wiresMarker with marked washersReady made ear wiresWasher holder and safety glasses
Drill, Awl, Hammer, Round nose pliers and Silver Wire for making ear wires
Drill, Awl, Hammer, Round nose pliers and Silver Wire for making ear wires
Marker with marked washers
Marker with marked washers
Ready made ear wires
Ready made ear wires
Washer holder and safety glasses
Washer holder and safety glasses
Washer after drilling
Washer after drilling

Drilling

Use Safety Glasses

Mark the washers on the back flat side with your marker where you want the holes to insert the ear wires.

Mark and drill the back side of the washer, because it is flat and the drill bit will not slip as easily as it would on the rounded side.

Place the tip of the awl on the black mark and tap the awl with your hammer until you have a small hole.

Use your clamp to hold the washer, put on your safety glasses and put the drill bit right on top of the hole you just made.

Press the drill lightly to start the hole adding more pressure as you drill so the bit turns faster.

Washers are very thick and it takes a while for the small drill bit to go through the hole. Make sure you are drilling on a wood surface, such as a piece of wood so the drill can go through the washer and slightly into the wood.

That way you know the hole has gone completely through the washer.

Cousin Jewelry Basics Earring Starter, Copper, 51-Piece
Cousin Jewelry Basics Earring Starter, Copper, 51-Piece

I am not normally fond of kits. But if you just want to give it a try without spending a lot of money, this kit works well. For a few dollars you can get your creative juices churning and see if you like the results.

 
Opened Ear Wires
Opened Ear Wires

Sanding and Inserting Ear Wires

A Multi-step Process

The drill hole in the washer will have rough edges called burs that you can see in the previous photo.

These burs will have to be removed before you can insert the ear wires. Sand them with 220 sandpaper or a metal file.

After you have sanded the holes so they are smooth, they are ready for the ear wires.

Open the ear wires so that they face the right side of the wire. Look at the photo shown here.

This is the way that you open ear wires. If you open them towards you, you will weaken the wire.

Insert the ear wires into the hole that you drilled in the washers.

Using your pliers, return the open end of the wire to its original position pushing it to the left until it is tightly against the rest of the ear wire.

Hammered Washer Earring
Hammered Washer Earring

Finished

You Can Do More If You Desire

Now wasn't that easy? You now have a nice pair of copper earrings that will look great with any casual outfit.

You don't have to stop here, if you want to embellish your washers to create a design.

You have a variety of options, but do these before you attach the ear wires.

You can hammer the ear wires with a ball preen hammer. Any hammer with a rounded edge will do to create indentations in the washers that will look quite nice.

Something else you can do is add another washer to create double washer earrings or you can add another element such as a sterling silver piece to create your own earrings designs.

Wherever your imagination takes you, washers can be used to get you there.

Ball Preen Hammer

Ball Preen Hammer
Ball Preen Hammer

Washer Earrings with Added Silver Element

Washer Earrings with Added Silver Element
Washer Earrings with Added Silver Element

Always Use Safety Glasses

No matter what tools you use or for what purpose always use safety glasses. Your eyes are precious.

Purple Star
Purple Star

Purple Star

This Lens Received a Purple Star

Tools and Materials - Very Inexpensive Online

You can purchase all of the materials and tools mentioned this tutorial online at Amazon.

Love to Know your Thoughts

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    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 4 years ago

      Great lens. I will also try doing this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 4 years ago

      Great lens. I will also try doing this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      I love this copper earring design. I do think this is something I can do myself. My husband allows me to use his tools (he taught me to use a drill press when I made a wine cork wreath last Christmas!)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I have trouble with drills but you make this sound fairly easy! Love the look of these copper earrings! It would also make a great pendant!

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      Great, simple idea for fun earrings. It is not always easy to come up with ideas!