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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.