Step by Step - Leather Earrings DIY
Here's how to make your own leather earrings DIY at home. I'll even share my story about how my leather earring jewelry making became a business I am truly passionate about.
Let's get started. First, let's talk what you'll need to make your own leather earrings by reading this guide.
Supplies to make your own leather earrings and home business with (almost) no money:
A note on sourcing leather earring supplies for free:
You can find most, if not all, of these at Goodwill or any re-use supply place. Check with your local furniture store that sells leather couches and chairs and see if they have scraps of discontinued leather samples.
Learn how to make beautiful leather earrings:
Hell, ask your Buy Nothing Group or post on the Nextdoor app if anyone has any of the things you need. Often times people stop crafting and they are happy to gift their failed attempts- no judgement! And a bonus that comes with sourcing this way is that using random scrap leather will set you apart from your competition in that your prints will be one of a kind AND you are upcycling - which a lot of people admire!
Supplies needed for Leather Earrings DIY
- Scrap leather
- Wine charm hoops (they're not hypoallergenic though, fyi)
- Metal ruler (because you want to have measurement abilities)
- CLEAR/TRANSPARENT quilting grid ruler so you can see how much you're cutting. I use one with 1/8" grid. I recommend this one: https://www.amazon.com/Acrylic-Cutters-Designing-Quilting-Drafting/dp/B013INNBP6/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=1%2F8+grid+ruler&qid=1614321231&sr=8-2
- Self healing cutting mat
- Leather hole punch
- Needle nose pliers (you may already have these in your toolbox)
- Rotary cutter
- Disposable Scalpels (hey, it's skin afterall)! I use these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00095OGQU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- Venmo app
- Smart phone camera
- Business license as soon as possible.
DIY Leather Earrings - Step-by-Step
(Did anyone else start singing the theme song from Step by Step? Just me? OK)
The following is a simple way to make leather earrings using strips of leather. It's a good place to start to familiarize yourself with cutting leather. Grab your cutting mat and find a comfortable working table.
Step 1- Decide the length of strands you want and cut a rectangle that length by however wide you determine will give you the number of strands you want of equal width. Use your grid ruler to measure and slice along the edge of the crid ruler using a rotary cutter.
Step 2- Using your grid ruler as a guide, set it vertically along the leather with the ruler covering the width of the strip you're about to cut (is your strip going to be 1/8"? 2/8"? Etc. press down firmly on your ruler to keep it from moving while slowly but firmly running your rotary cutter along the edge of the ruler. Repeat until all your strips are cut. Use your scissors to trim any shaggy bits.
Step 3- If you want to make an angled tip, use the metal ruler to measure the diameter of the edge you want. Place the first millimeter of the ruler at one corner of the strip and angle it however many millimeters you want your angle to be. Then press firmly on the metal ruler and slice. Then do the same thing but mirror imaged so you have a pair.
Step 4- Use your leather punch to punch holes at the tops of your strips. Where you place that hole determines how the strip will hang on the hoop. You can put them all in the center so they hang straight, or in the corners so they hang at an angle. Varying the placement will make each strip hang a little differently giving a playful silhouette.
Step 5- Grab your needle nose pliers and a wine charm. Using the needle nose pliers, clamp the tail end of the hoop and create a 90 degree angle so the end part of the tail sticks straight up. You are creating this to "lock" your hoop closed.
Step 6- layer the strips on to the hoops.
Step 7- try them on and give yourself a round of applause! You're on your way to making your own leather earrings! Play around and make different shapes- have fun!
How DIY Leather Earrings led to Starting a Business with a limited budget...
Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down...No- really, I'm serious!
Being my own boss has always my career goal. I am GREAT at coming up with business ideas... for other people. I wish I had written down all the ideas I had because by now I could probably sell those for a nice profit! Seriously though, every time I dream up an idea (usually as I'm trying to fall asleep which is the ONLY time I can hear myself think), I get all excited and I think "this is it! This is the one," and I go to sleep PUMPED to hatch a plan the next day. Alas, morning rolls around and I find that my ego has infiltrated my sleep and apparently given a helluva Ted Talk to my subconscious about all the reasons that idea won't work because I wake up completely deflated. Sound familiar? Yep- it's some bullsh*t!
Making leather earrings in this photo!
While the wheels on that bus still go round and round, I am grateful for the business I started with no money. In fact, this business started quite unexpectedly! I will let you in on how DIY leather earrings can become a pretty cool DIY business! Of course you can take inspiration from this blog and apply the principles where it makes 'cents' to you (I cannot help myself, I am not sorry).
It all began when I bought a pair of dangly leather earrings from an adorable boutique one day that caught my eye- with a sparkle. The price was right and I needed them to lift my spirits and it worked. Just a pair of earrings perked me right up! Something about them made me feel a little taller, a little prettier, and a little more confident. Like, I kinda wanted to dress up for them. Then, random people started to compliment said earrings- often. Needless to say, I wore those earrings every damn day for probably a year until they wore out. Technically, I wore them out by forgetting to take them off before getting into the shower one too many times. Now I know leather and water don't mix but I mean, they weigh freaking NOTHING and had become a part of my body by that point. So sue me.
..."it dawned on me to *gasp* make my own leather earrings! I have said this to myself about several things before- "oh I'll just make that myself, it looks simple enough"
No matter, I'd just go get another pair! To my utter dismay, however, they were not there! I panicked at first, and then, once I realized how ridiculous having a tantrum over a pair of earrings was, it dawned on me to *gasp* make my own leather earrings! I have said this to myself about several things before- "oh I'll just make that myself, it looks simple enough" and then not ever followed through. Have you done that? We know when we're saying it that it's some bullsh*t.
But this time was different. That wheel had turned one to many times and my subconscious screamed, "ENOUGH! Go make the damn thing!" Fortunately, because I have kids, I knew of the Goodwill of craft supplies in my neighborhood called Seattle ReCreative. I found a huge bin of leather samples there, proceeded to by a grocery bag full for like $8 (?) - some ridiculously miniscule amount.
Knowing zero about leather, I headed home, found and exacto knife, and a piece of wood to cut on (I know, crafters, I know- just wait) and started cutting leather in the shape of my favorite earrings. I needed a ruler to cut a straight line but only had a plastic one and I kept shaving bits of it off (sooo not straight anymore).
My Jewelry Journey
Anyway, I'll save some backstory and say that after much trial and error, I ended up needing to source a self-healing cutting mat, a rotary cutter, a scalpel, leather hole punch, needle nose pliers, a metal ruler, and a transparent quilting ruler (thanks to a seamstress pro I know who guided me to these items). Finally, I was able to make a replica I was proud of! Apparently my friends and family deemed them worthy too and one thing led to another and yada yada...(mad props if you caught that reference) a work from home business that allowed me to flex my creativity and care for my babies was started!
I then came up with a biz name and started a business Instagram and Facebook (free). You do have to do a bunch of research on hashtags, reels, stories, etc to get your stuff out there on peoples' feeds. If you do your research, you won't need to pay for ads on Instagram and you won't need to pay for ads on facebook. Don't forget to ask all your friends and family to share your page and ask them to follow you! If you have a smart phone, download Lightroom and Snapseed and do your research on how to take good product photos and how to use the apps - you do not need a fancy camera! I repeat you do not need a fancy camera!
Now, success didn't happen over night and I'm still not financially independent by any means, but I trust that is on the way. Of course, I used all profits for awhile to upgrade my process and supplies to a caliber my clients and I prefer (I swear I'm not a snob- I just couldn't think of a better word). In addition, I now have to pay for a website, hangtags, graphic designers, photographers, shipping supplies and shipping, and pay myself and my reps but don't let that scare you off...it all rolls in naturally in time. A noteworthy perk of this job is the wonderfully supportive community of makers I've gotten to know mostly through Instagram that is a WEALTH of knowledge and encouragement. Everyone is willing to share their expertise.
So, at the end of the day, you do need to have a little money, but just save your lunch money for a couple of days and you've got yourself a budget-friendly business from home! And remember to do your research on how to price your items and don't forget to include paying yourself an hourly rate in that price. For more ideas and inspiration, I recommend you search for and follow the #leatherearrings hashtag on Instagram.
Finally, trust that the universe will guide you to the business that makes sense for you - in time! Practice visualizing yourself making money doing the thing that makes you most happy. Visualize every day and often. Also, keep a daily gratitude journal and try to make 3 every morning and 3 every night. I swear that has changed my freaking life.
Thanks for reading my leather earrings DIY guide and jewelry business journey!
You got this!
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