Saturday, November 27, 2010

Make Recycled Glass & Sterling Silver Earrings

Earrings by GeltDesigns
I love these earrings. These earrings are nice edition to our daily jewelry projects made from repurposed, found objects. We made these earrings from reclaimed, scrap sterling silver and scrap glass. As with all our prior projects in this series, we used no new or bought materials. The design was limited to stuff we had around the house and in the studio.

These earrings are easy to make and, unlike the past two projects (the vibrant, multicolored Glass Charm Necklace and the red Kiln Formed Bracelet), require no kiln.

Step 1
Cut the glass. We decided on a five sided shape. We sketched the shape on a piece of paper and then used the paper to trace our desired shape onto the glass. We used our favorite  glass cutter to cut the glass.

Keep the glass cutter well oiled for ease when cutting. To keep your glass cutter in good shape, see our tutorial How to Add Oil to a Glass Cutter.

Step 2
Drill holes in the top of the glass for the findings.  We used  diamond tipped drill bits  and a flex shaft , but you can use any type of drill to drill glass. For further instructions on how to drill glass, see our tutorial How to Drill Glass.

Step 3
File the edges of the glass with a  diamond file. Then tumble the glass in a tumbler  using real beach sand.  (we collected the sand from the outer banks of North Carolina), water and a touch of dishwasher detergent. The tumbler made the job easier, but you can use diamond files and diamond sand paper alone if you do not have access to a tumbler.

Step 4
Make the findings. In this case, we found some leftover 20-gauge sterling silver wire in our scrap bucket. We used a mandrel to make the ear wire. Here is a good time to confess that our very, very favorite mandrel used to be a block from my kids building block set. The block is the perfect size for hoop earrings and the block is a really nice color orange.

Straighten the Wire
We began making the ear wire by using our  nylon jaw flat nose pliers to straighten the wire. If you do not know how to straighten wire or you do not have nylon jaw pliers, see our tutorial How to Straighten Wire.

To make the ear wire, we made a small loop at one end of the 20-gauge sterling silver wire with wire looping pliers. over lapped the point of our loop. We bent the wire at an angle with so it will slip into the loop. We removed the formed ear wire from the mandrel and placed it onto a steel bench block and hit the wire with a rawhide mallet  to harden the ear wire so it will stay as we shaped it when used and worn. We made a matching ear wire and then, out of an abundance of caution, we tossed the ear wires back into our tumbler this time using stainless steel shot, water and dishwasher detergent to burnish the ear wires so they are both hardened and shiny.

Step 5
Scrap Sterling
Create the sterling accent disks. We used scrap sterling that we had previously textured in our rolling mill for another project. We used our  disc cutter  to cut small disks from the scrap silver. If you do not know how to cut circles in metal, see our tutorials How to Use a Disc Cutter or our slide show Make Your Own Discs with a Disc Cutter.

For more information on creating texture on metal with a rolling mill, see our tutorials How to Use a Rolling Mill or How to Make Charm Earrings with a Rolling Mill.

Step 6
Combine the parts to create the earrings. We fed the ear wires through the holes in the glass and the sterling silver disks to complete the earrings.

Further Reading
GeltDesigns Tutorials by Topics
Jewellery from Recycled Materials (Jewellery Handbooks)
Making Designer Mixed-Media and Memory Jewelry: Fun and Experimental Techniques and Materials for the Home Studio
Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition
Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing (Jewelry Crafts)

Other Tools
Rolling Mill

Day 7. Week 1. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
New Jewelry a Day. Join the adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment