Monday, December 13, 2010

Make Earrings from an iTunes Gift Card

Before: Gift Card
If you have a tween or teenager in your house, then somewhere in your kid's room is likely to be an old iTunes gift card. iTunes gift cards seem to be the gift of choice for birthdays presents, stocking stuffers and prizes for children of a certain age. In our neighborhood, you can purchase iTunes gift cards at the pharmacy and grocery store. They are literally everywhere -- and the come in very pretty, eye-catching colors.

After: Recycled iTunes Gift Card  Earrings by GeltDesigns
When my husband surprised my daughter with an iTunes gift card, she was very excited about all the music she could by-- but we both were excited about the prospect of making the card itself into jewelry. DH really struck gold with his surprise. :) My daughter began construction before we could get the first "before" picture...Oops.

...but the card was large enough to yield a number of projects.

18-gauge round brass wire
iTunes or other gift card, credit card or other plastic card

Back: Upcycled  Earrings by GeltDesigns
Disc cutter
Size 50 drill bit
Drill (Flex shaft, Drill Press or Dremel)
Center punch or automatic center punch
Round nose pliers  or 3-Step wire looping pliers
Chain nose or bent nose pliers
Wire rounder or needle file or cup burr and flex shaft
Jewelry saw and blades or wire side cutters or flush cutters
Steel bench block or anvil
Rawhide or plastic mallet

Step 1
Sketch the design for your earrings.

Step 2
Use a disc cutter and ball pein hammer to cut the charms for your earrings. We cut six charms in three different sizes to construct our earrings. Arrange the charms in the order you want to use them for your earrings.

Step 3
Mark the charms to prepare for drilling. Use a magic marker to mark where you want to drill holes on the cut charms. Use either a center punch or an automatic center punch to create divots in the charms where you marked the plastic. The divots will prevent the drill from slipping when you drill the holes. 

Step 4
Drill the holes. Use a size 50 drill bit and a drill of your choice (Flex shaft, Drill Press or Dremel) to drill the holes. Any drill will do but you need to select a drill bit that is approximate in size to the wire you are using to create your links.

Step 5
Make the jump rings. Wrap the wire around a mandrel ten times. We used a mandrel from our dapping set, but you can use many things (inlcuding a pen or pencil) as a mandrel. Remove the coiled wire from the mandrel and cut the coil using a jewelry saw and blades. If you do not have a jewelry saw and blades, then you can use wire side cutters or flush cutters.  File the ends of the jump ring smooth using a wire rounder or needle file or cup burr and flex shaft.  Place the jump rings on a steel bench block or anvil and hammer the jump rings with a rawhide or plastic mallet to harden the jump rings and prevent them form becoming misshapen. If needed, adjust the jump rings with chain nose or bent nose pliers.

Step 6
Make the ear wire findings. We used a jig we made to quickly create consistent ear wires but you can use wire wrapping tools to create the ear wires. File the ends of the ear wire until smooth enough to slip through an ear.

Step 7
Assemble the earrings. Attach the charms to the jump rings to make a chain. Attach the ear wires to the top charm.

Although we intended the earrings to be worn on the colorful blue side, we found the back of the earrings equally charming (pardon the bad pun). Aren't reversible earrings fun?

Related Tutorials 
How to Make an Ear Wire Jig
How to Drill 
How to Drill Acrylic

How to Use a Dremel to Make Jewelry

How to Use a Flex Shaft to Make Jewelry

How to Straighten Wire
How to Smooth Sharp Edges on Copper, Brass and Sterling Wire

How to Measure Wire
How to Use a Wire Gauge
Make Your Own "S" Clasp
Make Your Own Beaded "S" Clasp
Make Your Own "S" Chain
GeltDesigns Tutorials by Topics  

Further Reading
"Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects: Creative Projects, Simple Techniques"; Marthe Le Van; 2007.
"Beaded Jewelry with Found Objects: Incorporate Anything from Buttons to Shells";  Carole Rodgers; 2004.
"Junk to Jewelry: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Found Objects in Jewelry You Can Actually Wear"; Brenda Schweder; 2007.
"Cold Connections"; Tim McCreight (DVD)

New & Noteworthy
"Jewelry from Found Objects";  Heather Skowood; 2011.

Day 23. Week 4. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
Found materials: Gift Card
New Jewelry a Day.

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