Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Make Leather on Metal Earrings Tutorial

By on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 4 Comments

This tutorial uses strass crystal leather cord from Endless Leather as shown in the recent giveaway.   However the basic principles outlined in this tutorial apply whether you use leather strips or other feature decorations.  If you've never done any metal smith techniques before, this will get you started. 

Begin with pre-cut metal blanks.  Not only does this mean you don't have to learn to saw just yet, getting them ready made also saves time.  You can get them in all sorts of dimensions and shapes.  The blanks I used are made from 20G aluminum sheets.

The edges of the blanks were already smooth but if they were not, get rid of the burs and also blunt the corners with either a metal file, grit paper or sanding block as I did.

Eurotool Power Punch
There are different metal punching tools to use to make holes in metal.  My least favorite is using a drill mainly because the cut edges need  a lot of filing down after.  I often use the small  Hole Punch Pliers (1.8mm) if the metal is thinner but punching thicker metal like these blanks was made a lot easier  - almost effortless - with the Eurotool EuroPower Punch Round Hole Punch Pliers I bought (If you'd like a tutorial on how to use it, please say so in the comments)

Check the holes for any burs and use a round needle file to get rid of them. Small files like these come as a set and are relatively inexpensive from the hardware store.

I like to texture metal with the peen side of my chasing hammer. As the aluminum is a relatively soft metal, only gentle taps are sufficient to leave small dents in the metal. 

Chasing hammers are like regular ones except that the flat side has a larger surface area to work with. The blanks got a little wonky after being textured so I had to flip them over a couple of times and hammered them flat.  Be careful with this step as you don't want to add hammer marks to the metal.  Maybe use a pad made from some old cloths or towels?

After cutting the strass leather into suitable strips, you may need to color the lighter colored cut edges as I had to. Wonderful things, marker pens!

I recommend the Super New Glue as it does a great job especially for applications where the hold must be strong.  I  was suitably impressed when I first used it for the Regaliz leather bracelets I made before.  Apply and press down for several seconds and then leave to cure.  It doesn't take very long with this glue but I like to leave things well alone overnight.

Then attach to ear wires (additional jump rings are optional) and you are done!

This item is for sale in my Etsy store.  100 % of net proceeds goes to cancer research.


Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. The earrings are sweet and are like, "the hardware shop" meets with "the jewelry shop" creating a wonderful blend of the two.

    That metal hole punch looks like quite a useful tool for metal working.

  2. It is useful! I find it much more powerful than the usual hole punches which are shaped like pliers.

  3. A tutorial on the punch would be lovely, but a few hints might be enough. I own the same punch and started working with it tonight. It's very simple to punch a hole, but not so much to get it exactly where I want it. As the pliers take 2 hands and holding the metal to be punched takes another, I'm coming up short. Would you recommend putting my sheet metal in a vise? I love your idea of drawing crosshairs- the dots I've tried are just to hard to see.

  4. The cross hairs help. I also gently grip the metal piece with the pliers and peek in the gap in a few directions to make sure the punching cylinder is where it should be before going ahead. If a vice helps as a third hand, by all means try it!

    Have you tried changing cylinders yet? It is that part I thought might need a tutorial.