Cutting leather was one of the first projects we did on the laser, way back in Week 3: Leather Cuffs. While there really isn’t much new to say about the cutting and processing of the leather, I thought it would be fun to use some of the properties of leather (flexibility!) to make unique, laser cut earrings. And, to make sure this post has something I’ve never done before, you’ll be getting a step by step tutorial!
- Leather, about 1mm thick or less. One color, or 2 colors, whatever floats your boat. (Pacific Leather has a great description of use by thickness of leather)
- Leather cutting apparatus (we obviously used a laser, but Cricut machines can do it, and you could also use a simple blade or rotary cutter)
- Ear wires
- Jump rings (7mm or larger suggested, depending on your thickness of leather)
- Two pairs of pliers, preferably smooth needle nose so you don’t damage the findings (ear wire and jump rings)
Step 1: Templates
For me, I actually had to make a hand cut paper version of this, just to understand the mechanics of it, and then transfer it to the computer. I was having a little trouble envisioning the 3D-ness of the twist. Luckily for you, I’ve done all the hard designing work for you, and you can print out this paper template. Use it if you want to see how the mechanics of the twist works before cutting the real thing on your machine of choice, or as a guide if you are cutting by hand.
This template is just for ONE earring. If you want a pair, think about how you want the second earring to look. If you’d like it to look the same, print out a second copy. If you’d like your final earring to be mirrored (as I do), flip the template!
Step 2: Cut!
Cut your leather! Refer back to Week 3: Leather Cuffs for specifics in laser cutting leather, and remember, it’s a sooty job.
Step 3: Twist!
What I did was make sure the holed lined up, and then gently wrapped the leather around each other. You can’t really twist like when you make paper twist – you still want the final product to lay flat. So, a two dimensional twist, I guess.
Step 4: Fold in half!
I wanted to make the back look as nice as the front and create a little visual interest with a loop. You can make your fold as sharp as you’d like it, or as sharp as the leather will let you. Make sure the holes line up.
Step 5: Assemble!
Assembly can be a touch tricky, as more commercially available ear wires have tiny loops, and will not accommodate 4 slices of leather. I did try them on my homemade ear wires with a bigger loop, and while they did fit, they did not swing as well. My final solution was to use a 7mm jump ring to thread through the holes on the ends of the leather strips. This holds the dangle part together.
To attach the ear wire and keep the earring’s orientation (aka – show the twist from the front not the loop) you have two options. 1 – put a second jump ring on to connect the ear wire to the jump ring you already have holding to leather together or 2 (my choice) – twist the loop on the ear wire so the hole is perpendicular to the hook.
Quick visual on how to twist the ear wire:
Then open the loop like you did the jump ring and hook the jump ring on the dangle on. Close the loop, enjoy your earring!
Step 6: Do it all again to make a pair!
How to make the alternate design on the right:
I hope you have fun trying this out! You can also shake it up by only using the curvy strips, or the zig zag strips. The design and tutorial is by Jennifer Putzier of Isette, copyright 2017, and is shared for personal use only, please!