Homemade wooden earrings – plans were changed, but the result is good enough

Homemade wooden earrings – plans were changed, but the result is good enough

If you’re starting out woodworking or doing pretty much any kind of craft, you are probably going to end up making jewelry or some other accessories. We don’t know why, but it seems to be an inevitable path that every handy person goes through. Today we are going to tell you about an experiment and we will let you decide if it was successful. It all started from an earring kit and an idea to make foxes.

Earrings look completely different, drawing is ugly and finish is far from perfect.

As you may know, I gladly cross boundaries to do woodworking at home, in a small apartment. As quiet as my woodturning practices are, they are quite annoying to clean up. So, for a change, I decided to try something new – to make a pair of simple wooden earrings. Which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.

You may think that making simple jewelry from wood is not that hard – you just need to cut q shape out, sand and glue it on some earring you bought from a crafts’ store. That’s what I did, basically, but it was far from easy. I bought some pairs of cheap simple earring kits from Perlina.lt. And decided I was going to make foxes – a cartoon-fox-faced shape was requested by the girl who was going to wear the earrings if they happened to be successful.

This is homemade plywood – it has five plies and is reasonably strong, although as thin as a playing card.

Now. Wood is not the ideal material for this kind of thing. It reacts to moisture contents in its surroundings by shrinking and expanding. That means that the glue would eventually let go or the wooden part would curl up and look ugly. Plywood is much more stable in this regard and, in my opinion, is the ideal choice. But store-bought plywood is kind of thick for earrings so I decided to make my own.

And these are the earrings I purchased for this experiment.

I used my Stanley No.120 blockplane (the one you see in the header of the website) to try and make some very thin black alder shavings. I then glued them by alternating the grain direction into three little squares – one was a spare one in case I messed something up. This was all an experiment – I am sure many people have done it before, but I thought of it by myself. In this way, I got five-ply plywood that’s very thin and strong enough for the earrings.

Hobby knife did not work that well to cut out the foxes from my plywood – scissors worked much better.

I found a cartoon fox face that I liked and tried cutting it out from my plywood using a hobby knife. Didn’t work that well, so I switched to scissors, which worked much better. Then I sanded the edges smooth and shaped the foxes. It already looked like my experiment was a success – the homemade plywood worked very well.

Then I used a two-part epoxy to glue the earrings to the foxes and I let it dry for a very long time. At this point, I could’ve spray-lacquered  the earring and call it done, but the faces looked kind of dull. Black alder is not really a beautiful wood and it looked empty. So I decided to give faces to the foxes.

Epoxy was used to join wooden and metal parts – later, I covered the round metal part and the entire back with an additional layer of black alder.

I drew them with a black marker. I have no artistic talent – if I did, painting the faces would be a better option. But I decided to go for a “doodle on the notebook” style and it worked well enough for what it was. But the spray lacquer (probably a solvent in it) reacted to the marker and washed it off. It was ruined. I tried sanding it off, but in the process the earring part fell off and the plywood became too thin, while ugly marks were still visible.

Just to save the situation, I decided to add two more layers – one to the front, and one to the back over the flat part of the earring. In this way, the plywood will be the right thickness and earrings will be stronger. After this was dry I reshaped them and noticed that now, after the second round on the sandpaper, foxes are way different from one another.  I tried making them similar, but still, you can tell they are not made professionally. Then I drew faces with a simple black ballpoint pen – foxes became cats. Good enough, I think, although they are totally different.

Unique, but not very pretty – the next ones are going to look much better.

After several coats of spray lacquer the earrings were done. They don’t look that good but I learned a lot in the process. And they are being worn, which is quite a recognition. Now I think I have new ideas about how to use my homemade plywood, but more about that next time.

Homemade Secret Wood ring – not as easy as it looks, but you should definately try it (Video)

Homemade Secret Wood ring – not as easy as it looks, but you should definately try it (Video)

There is an interesting style of jewellery, combining wood and resin. So called “secret wood” rings and necklaces are quite expensive, but people are still drawn to them, because of how interesting they look. Broken food fibres encased in a colourful resin look like there is an entire mysterious world, hidden inside of a small accessory. It really is beautiful. And, if you’re somewhat handy, you can make one at home.

Now, making it at home will not really save you money. Secret wood style requires a lot of resin and a tremendous amount of labour. So if you value your time, you should not consider making it in the first place. Peter Brown, creator of a popular YouTube channel, experimented with making secret wood rings and it is very interesting to see how he made them.

There really is no secret about technology of secret wood rings and other kinds of accessories. It is just broken piece of wood, encased in epoxy or polyester resin, mixed with some dye. Sometimes glitter is added or several colours are used, in order to make the ring look even more interesting. But this simplicity doesn’t really tell how much work goes into making one of these art pieces.

Peter Brown showed several of different methods of breaking a piece of wood. It is actually quite an important part of the project, because broken fibres cannot look too tidy, yet have to stop splitting at a certain point to make the ring strong. He tried breaking it by hand, he dried cutting a kerf with a bandsaw to make a sharp line, but eventually find the best results by using a simple vice. It allowed him to break a plank in a controlled manner, which produced the desired effect.

Then Brown did what he does quite often in his YouTube channel – pulled out his resin. He mixed up a match of epoxy resin, poured a couple of drops of blue dye into it and poured it into a mould with the broken plank. This was actually the easiest part. Usually when pouring epoxy you have to be very careful to avoid bubbles, but in this case tiny bubbles and “imperfections” actually just add to the illusion.

Afterwards the story was the usual wooden ring making – drilling a hole of appropriate diameter and a lot of shaping and sanding. That required huge amounts of efforts and time. Bringing epoxy to a clear finish it not easy, but in this case it was even more difficult and wet sanding was not an option. Brown finished the job with some plastic polish.

It is not the only “secret wood” project that Brown completed. He also made a woodturned bowl with polyester resin. It featured different shades of blue, making the illusion of the night sky. Looks quite cool, but that required a painful amount of expensive resin and a lot of time.

Original Secret Wood rings cost way over a 100 USD. According to Peter Brown, the price is justified just because of the labour it requires to produce such a piece of art. Furthermore, company sells some pretty cool effects, which would be difficult to replicate at home. On the other hand, it is very tempting to try – it would make a pretty cool present.

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