Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings, Metalwork. Texturing. These fun earrings with a Steampunk vibe have a surprise on the back.
Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Texturing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
These fun earrings with a Steampunk vibe have a surprise on the back. The leaf skeleton encased in them was used to texture the copper on the back of each earring. Think of other things that could be put behind a mica window. The wings of many insects found on the grill of vehicles in the summer months are very beautiful. Hmmm, is your mind starting to whirl with ideas?!

This tutorial will take you through the steps to make the round earrings. The leaf earrings, or any other shape you wish, can be made in the same manner. Please note that because these are made with an organic element, they should not be exposed to moisture.

Materials

Red Brass Sheet Metal - 26 Gauge - 6 x 3 inches
SHT-R26.3-6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.76
  • Gold Club Price: $2.07
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Mica tiles/flakes (medium) or mica insulator sheets
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
Natural rubber tree leaf skeleton
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
E6000 Adhesive Glue 3.7 oz. - Pack of 1
G16-18
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $7.66
  • Gold Club Price: $5.74
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Craft glue stick
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
3mm Brass Eyelets - Pack of 5
D1-100
  • Lesson Quantity: 10.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 2.00 each
  • Price: $0.97
  • Gold Club Price: $0.73
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Tools

Large Disc Cutter
DAP-410.10
  • DAP-410.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $55.95
  • Gold Club Price: $41.96
Out of Stock
Xuron Sheer - Non Serrated
SHR-691.81
  • SHR-691.81
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.95
  • Gold Club Price: $18.71
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Small Brass Brush
BRS-966.10
  • BRS-966.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $10.97
  • Gold Club Price: $8.23
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Agile Flat 110mm Rolling Mill
DUR-1020
  • DUR-1020
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $796.00
  • Gold Club Price: $597.00
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2 Hole Metal Punch
G12-60
  • G12-60
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Bench Blocks - 130 X 130 X 20
DUR-1187
  • DUR-1187
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $54.00
  • Gold Club Price: $40.50
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Weighted Rawhide Mallet
HAM-408.00
  • HAM-408.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $48.97
  • Gold Club Price: $36.73
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Nylon Faced Mallet
HAM-365.05
  • HAM-365.05
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.95
  • Gold Club Price: $11.21
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Narrow Sharp Stripe / Dimples Texturing Hammer
HAM-460.02
  • HAM-460.02
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.97
  • Gold Club Price: $14.98
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Instructions
Step 1
Pro Tip: Read through all the directions before beginning the project.
Sketch out your design. What shape should the earrings be? Materials available will sometimes dictate design. The size of the leaf shape earrings was determined by the size of the rectangular mica pieces being used as well as the size of the textured brass sheet available. The round earrings were too large for the mica insulator sheets so larger mica tiles/flakes were used. The design of the earrings was also determined by available tools. With the leaf shape earrings, the design was drawn on the sheet metal, an appropriate size hole was punched to obtain the curve (bonus: brass discs for another project), then the rest of the interior shape was sawn away.
Pro Tip: To seal the leaf and eliminate the use of mica, cut the leaf skeleton to just a bit larger than the earring frame opening. Laminate the leaf skeleton, making sure the plastic edges are sealed well. It may need a second pass through the laminator. Do not trim the plastic sheeting away. Look at the top brass frame glued to the mica tile in Step 6. Leave that amount of laminating plastic hanging outside the brass metal frame.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 2
Sketch out your design. What shape should the earrings be? Materials available will sometimes dictate design. The size of the leaf shape earrings was determined by the size of the rectangular mica pieces being used as well as the size of the textured brass sheet available. The round earrings were too large for the mica insulator sheets so larger mica tiles/flakes were used. The design of the earrings was also determined by available tools. With the leaf shape earrings, the design was drawn on the sheet metal, an appropriate size hole was punched to obtain the curve (bonus: brass discs for another project), then the rest of the interior shape was sawn away.
Prepare the brass sheet: If a rolling mill is not available, use pre-textured sheet metal for this step. Alternatively, a perfect texture for this design can be achieved using a combination of the texture side of the Mini TruStrike Designer/Texture Hammer and the smaller of the two heads of the Mini TruStrike Embossing Hammer. Skip Step A if not using a rolling mill.
A: Cut a brass sheet larger than needed for the design of both earrings. Here, even though a 1" finished diameter is needed, each square is 1¼" to account for centering problems that may occur with the smaller inner hole. Anneal the brass sheet. Use Super Pickle (a half and half mix of pickle and hydrogen peroxide) to remove the fire scale. Rinse and dry. Place a texture tile on the brass sheet, sandwich in a manila file rolling folder (see Step 2-E), and run through the rolling mill.
B: Anneal, super pickle, rinse and dry the brass sheet. This should be done for any type of textured sheet being used. Annealed metal cuts easier in the disc cutter which helps the cutting punches last longer.
C: Use a soft lead pencil to mark the squares on the back of the textured brass sheet. This brass sheet was 2 ½" wide, so two squares fit across the width. Draw intersecting lines from corner to corner inside each square.
D: Center the crossed line X from one square in the 9/16" disc cutter opening (no larger than 5/8" or the rivets may be too large), and clamp in place. Punch out the hole.
E: Turn the brass sheet right side up. Center the smaller hole inside the 1" opening. Punch out the disc.
F: Repeat C through E with the other brass square.
G: Sand and refine the inner and outer edges of the frames. Lightly sand the tops. To give the pieces a soft brushed appearance, finish by brushing the surface with a soft Bristol brass brush. This brush is different than the stiff brass brushes you may be used to seeing. It is very soft and imparts a very nice soft brushed metal look to metal surfaces after they have been cleaned and refined. It can be used dry on brass and copper, but on nickel silver, sterling silver, Argentium silver, or fine silver it is important to use soap and water during brushing. Otherwise, some of the brass is left on the metal, leaving a yellow tinge.
H: Use a rubber or plastic mallet to flatten the brass frames on a bench block.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 3
Prepare the copper backs: If a rolling mill is not available, use pre-textured sheet metal for this step. Alternatively, a perfect texture for this design can be achieved using a combination of the texture side of the Mini TruStrike Designer/Texture Hammer and the smaller of the two heads of the Mini TruStrike Embossing Hammer.
A: Select a rubber tree leaf skeleton with the fewest blemishes. It needs to be long enough that the two brass frames cut in Step 1 will fit on it.
B: Cut two pieces of copper sheet metal that are about ½" wider and ½" longer than the leaf. Use a rubber or plastic mallet to flatten the pieces on a bench block.
C: Anneal, pickle, rinse and dry the copper pieces. Hint: Since the Super Pickle is already in the pot, go ahead and use it.
D: On one side of the leaf, lace a very thin bit of craft glue stick on the top stem and at the outer edge of widest part of the leaf. The glue is only needed to keep the leaf from moving around when handling it before it goes through the rolling mill. Also, if too much glue is used, the leaf, which is very fragile, will disintegrate when trying to remove it from the copper after putting it through the rolling mill.
E: Place the second copper piece on top of the leaf/copper assembly, no glue needed. From an old manila folder or a piece of craft/scrapbooking cardstock, make a folder larger than the copper pieces. Place the copper sheets/leaf assembly in the folder and run through the rolling mill. Carefully remove the leaf and set aside.
F: Use a rubber or plastic mallet to flatten each of the pieces on a bench block.
G: Place a brass frame on each leaf impression close to the top. Make a mark where to cut the metal off, about 1/16" below the brass frame. Cut the metal straight across at that point. Don't worry, the rest of the leaf is not wasted. There is a short tutorial at the end on how to make a leaf component with it.
H: Because the manila folder was used when rolling the leaf skeleton, the midrib of the leaf is visible on the back. Use a Sharpie to mark over it. Center a brass frame on the midrib, close to the bottom cut edge of the copper sheet. Mark a line around the frame, slightly outside the frame. Use the Sharpie to blacken the area inside that line.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 4
Prepare the leaf: Place the frames in the desired positions on the leaf. Cut the leaf between the two.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 5
Prepare the mica: The mica should be a bit larger than the brass frames. Place the brass frames on the mica tiles/flakes. Cut the mica apart with a pair of scissors.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 6
Finish preparing the frame: Decide where the eyelet for hanging and the rivets will be placed. A Circle Center Finder can be especially helpful for this. Use an ultra fine point Sharpie to make marks in the desired places.
B. To make holes in the frames, use hole punches that correspond to the size of the rivets and eyelets being used. Alternately, use a center punch on each mark so a drill can be used with bits corresponding to rivet and eyelet sizes.
C: After punching holes, the frames can become bent a bit. Use a rubber or plastic mallet to flatten them on a bench block. Punching holes can bring up a bit of metal on the back of the frames. Sand the backs of the frames to make the surface smooth.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 7
Pro Tip: The following steps using glue are not necessary, but they do make assembly easier.
Place a small amount of G-S Hypo Cement on the back of each frame between the holes. Turn each over onto a piece of mica. Press the pieces together. Let set for a minute or two. Note: Super glue was not used as it has a tendency to spread out too much. Some brands make the mica cloudy.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 8
Turn the frame/mica assemblies over so the mica is facing up. Place a very thin layer of craft stick glue around the outer edge of each frame where they show through the mica. Place each assembly mica/glue side down on a leaf, centering the midrib within the frame. Make sure that the top of the frame is at the top of the leaf so the veins radiate in the right direction. Press the pieces together.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 9
Place one frame/mica/leaf assembly on a markered side of one copper piece. Make sure that the leaf skeleton midrib lines up with the line marked on the copper, both top and bottom. Holding the pieces together with the fingers, place the hole punch in the bottom hole in the brass frame and punch a hole through the mica, leaf, and copper.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 10
Place a rivet in the hole, going through all the layers. Turn the assembly over, rivet head side down, on top of a piece of thick leather placed on a bench block. Place a #14 Gwen Youngblood rivet tile over the rivet shank. Place the flush cutter jaws flat against the tile, pushing down, and cut the excess rivet shank off. Note: A #16 tile could have been used here for a more delicate look, but a larger flattened back was desired so a #14 was used. Also, if the hole for the rivet is too large, a tile with a larger number could also be needed to make sure that the rivet shank can be spread enough to hold it in place.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 11
Keeping the assembly face down on the leather on the bench block, use the rounded side of the Mini TruStrike Planishing Hammer to flare the rivet shank. A riveting hammer will work, but the Mini TruStrike Planishing Hammer leaves a more hammered finish on the flared rivet, adding to the Steampunk/Industrial look of the earrings.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 12
Repeat Steps 8 through 10 for the hole at 2 o'clock, and then for the hole at 10 o'clock.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 13
Finish adding the rivets in the remaining two hole, being mindful of where the eyelet will be placed for hanging the assembly on an earwire.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 14
If the hole for the eyelet is a bit too small, as it was in this case, use a bead reamer to enlarge it slightly. Keep checking the fit because it is easy to go too far.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 15
Use an eyelet/rivet setter to set the rivet.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 16
Following the outer edge of the brass frame, use a pair of shears to cut all the excess mica, leaf and copper away.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 17
File, sand and refine the outer edge of each assembly. If using a powered tool to do this, it is IMPERATIVE that at least a dust mask be worn to avoid inhaling small metal particles.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings
Step 18
Attach the French hooks. Notice that the loop at the bottom of the ear wire is larger than normal. That is because the earring assembly is quite thick. A 2-1/8" full hard 20 gauge round silver wire was used to make each hook.
Judy Larson's Steampunk Style Leaf Earrings - , Metalwork, Texturing, Steampunk leaf earrings