How to Make a Textured Copper Ear Cuff

April 21, 2014

Ear cuffs have been all the rage in the fashion world this past year, from free-form wire-wrapped ear vines to ornate over the ear styles.

This tutorial shows you how to make a simple metal ear cuff in copper. This simple design wraps around the outer cartilage of the ear and is a popular style for men. It can be textured and colored as desired.

Make your own DIY copper ear cuffs

DIY Copper Ear Cuffs

Choose your Metal

This simple style ear cuff can be made from most any metal. 24-gauge copper or brass strips are easy to cut and manipulate. This tutorial uses 0.25″ wide strips of copper sheet. If you choose, you can use wider strips and cut the metal to your desired width. Or if you prefer a bit thicker metal, you can use 20-gauge sheet. Just remember, this style needs to fit comfortably around the cartilage of one’s ear.

With a variety of patterns and metals to choose from, artisan patterned wire can also be an option for a DIY (do-it-yourself) ear cuff. The patterned wire comes in several gauges. If you use a heavier gauge wire, the ear cuff may not be adjustable.

Ear Cuff made with patterned wire

Patterned Wire Ear Cuff

First, Gather your Supplies

DIY Ear Cuff Supplies

Supplies for Creating Metal Ear Cuffs

Supplies Needed:

Measure and Mark the Cuff Length:

Measure and Mark the Metal Strip

Measure and Mark the Metal Strip

Measure and mark the metal strip. 27.5mm (or roughly 1.25″) is the average length for cuffs that fits on the (normal) middle part of the ear. The length can range from 25mm to 30mm.

Mark with a permanent marking pen on the film which covers the metal strip. You can alternately mark directly on the metal. Just keep some rubbing alcohol handy to wipe away the line if you make a mistake.

Cut the Metal:

Cut the Metal Strip with Shears

Cut the Metal Strip with Shears

Depending on the gauge, hand shears (#69-230 or #69-409) work well for cutting the metal strips. A bench shear (#69-334) works great if cutting multiple pieces or cutting metal sheet to a custom width.

 Bench Shear

EURO TOOL® Bench Shear

File the Edges Smooth:

File the Metal Edges Smooth

File the Metal Edges Smooth

Use a flat file (#69-252-01-4) to smooth the edges and slightly round the corners of the cut metal strip.

Texture the Metal:

Texture the Metal Strip with a Hammer

Texture the Metal Strip with a Hammer

Use a texturing hammer or the pein side of a chasing hammer to create a pattern on the metal piece. Hammer around the edges of the metal piece. If needed, file the edges again.

Textured Metal Strips

Textured Metal Strips

Shape the Ear Cuff:

Shape the metal piece around the 10mm barrel of the small Wrap n’ Tap pliers (#69-262-S). The 24-gauge copper bends easily around the barrel.

Use Wrap 'n' Tap pliers to shape the ear cuff

Shape with Wrap ‘n’ Tap Pliers

Form Ear Cuff around the 10mm barrel of the wrap n tap pliers

Forming the Ear Cuff

Color The Ear Cuff:

If desired, patina the copper ear cuff using Liver of Sulfur Gel (#86-322) or Novacan Black Patina (#86-310).

Shiny and Oxidized Ear Cuffs

Shiny and Oxidized Ear Cuffs

Using Vintaj Patinas is another option to add color to these DIY ear cuffs. Use a paintbrush to apply the Vintaj Patina. Once dry, sand some color off the high points using a Vintaj Metal Reliefing Blockblock (#69-327). Seal with Vintaj Glaze (#86-421-900).

Add color to DIY Ear Cuffs with Vintaj Patinas

DIY Ear Cuffs Colored with Vintaj Patinas

For more DIY ear cuff ideas, see our “Make Fashionable Ear Cuff Jewelry” blog post.

Not into DIY?

Rings & Things offers a wide variety of plain ear cuffs (including sterling silver, gold and silver plated) ready to embellish.

And if you are looking for ready-to-wear ear cuffs, we now offer six styles in sterling silver. As a bonus, most of the ready-to-ear ear cuffs have openings or loops in the pattern, so you can easily add dangles or leave them as-is.

Spider Web Sterling Ear Cuff

Sterling Ear Cuff (#30-475-05)

Snake Shaped Sterling Ear Cuff

Sterling Ear Cuff (#30-475-06)

How to Put on an Ear Cuff

If you’ve never worn an ear cuff and don’t know how to wear one, here’s how.

Slide the opening of the ear cuff over the cartilage.

Slide the Ear Cuff Down

The ear cuff sits on the cartilage, and wraps around the edge of the ear.

Have fun creating and wearing these ear accessories!

Amy M

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  • Roxanne February 4, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I am a metalworkers who just needed some solid instructions to work off of to make some Bajoran-style ear cuffs and this was great! Thanks for the idea, I built on this quickly as I didn’t have to spend 2 hours trying to figure out how long to make it etc.

    • Polly February 7, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      Hi Roxanne,
      Glad we could help, thanks for letting us know! =)