So take your DIY skills to the next level, and make your own oversize, graphic ear accessories. Metal and brass can be tricky to work with unless you’re a professional (read: if you’re cutting metal, you need heavy-duty tools including a face mask), so we’re swapping brass for a soft and buttery neutral leather. These beauties make a statement and the material is light on your lobes.
What You’ll Need:
• 1 sheet: Leather Tooling Piece by Art Minds, $12.99 from Michaels.com
• A low adhesive tape such as Painter’s Tape by 3M, $5.97 from homedepot.com
• 14K gold earring blank posts and post-backings, $4.55 from etsy.com (you can buy these in bulk from Michael’s, but I have sensitive ears so I use 14K gold!) If you live in NYC, take a trip to Toho Soji on 6th Avenue and 36th Street for an incredible assortment of earring blanks.
• Matte White Spray Paint, $3.87 from homedepot.com (you can use ANY color here!)
• Gorilla Glue, $5 available at most hardware and craft stores and online at gorillatough.com
• Heavy-weight paper (any color works, I like Bazzill brand from Michaels or in most craft stores. If you live in New York, head over to Paper Presentation on 18th between 5th and 6th Avenues).
• Leather punch, $20-35, amazon.com. *Pro tip: if you don’t want to invest in a leather punch, take your leather sheet to your hardware store or leather store. Most stores will punch holes for you for a modest fee.
• Optional but highly recommended: gloves for gorilla glue (it’s majorly sticky, you don’t want it on your skin!), mask for spraying
Decide which earrings you’d like to make and map out your design. Do you want a single circle, two stacked, three stacked? Do you want 1/2 white, 1/2 natural leather? Both? Count out how many circles total you’ll need for both earrings in the pair.
Punch leather circles. Pictured circles range from 3/4 inch circles to 1.5 inch circles.
If you like the half white, half natural look, tape off one half of a leather circle with painter’s tape. Press firmly to be sure there are no bubbles or bends in the tape. Lay your taped circles on newsprint and spray with one coat of white spray paint. Be sure to spray by an open window and wear a mask. Let dry 30 minutes. Once dry, carefully peel away painter’s tape.
Make your paper backing. Lay the circles you will be using for each earring front-side-down on heavy-weight paper. Using a pencil, carefully trace the shape of your earring onto the paper (two circles on top of one another, one circle, whatever your design may be!). Be wary of getting pencil marks on your leather circles. Use scissors to cut out the paper backing.
Place paper backing on newsprint. Wearing gloves, place a pea-sized (about 1/4 inch) dot of Gorilla glue in the center of the paper circle, right where each leather circle will sit. Carefully place the leather circle—pretty side facing up and away from the paper—on top of the glue dot. Press lightly to adhere. Add circles if stacking, let dry 2 to 4 hours. Gorilla glue takes some time to set.
Add earring hardware. If you’re feeling confident and have a light touch, you can do this part while your leather circles are drying on the paper—you’ll just need to flip them over. Place a small dot of glue in the center of a flat earring back. Find the top center of the back of your earring, and press lightly to adhere. Let dry 1-2 hours.
If making multiples/ giving your earrings as gifts, I find no better way of presenting them than making a pretty paper circle backing. Cut a 3.5 to 4 inch colored paper circle. Using a micro-punch (or any method you’d like to make a small hole), make two small holes one inch apart at the top center of the larger circle. Sandwich earrings onto paper circle. Viola!