Beauty / Happy / Vintage

It’s Not Dead Yet: Make Those Broken Earrings into Rings!

About a year ago, I was going through my stash of broken vintage jewelry and realized I had some earrings that were cool but were missing their partner, or didn’t feel right on my ears. I can’t wear clip-ons, only pierced and screw back earrings. I found some ring findings at Joann, got some extra strong glue, and started trying out some techniques. Most I gave away, but I kept this one…

vintage-repair-inspiration-jewelry-side                            vintage-repair-inspiration-jewelry

Today, I’ll walk you through making these yourself, and at the end, there will be a surprise for Luna Luna readers!

You’ll need some tools, most of which you can get at any craft store:

-ring findings (These are the trickiest part as I’ve had a hard time finding these consistently. Head to the jewelry making aisle and look for metal items for jewelry making. Or order some here. You need rings with a glue pad and that are adjustable on the underside. Do not get bevel settings.)

~ needle-nose pliers

~ wire cutters

~ metal nail file

~ rubbing alcohol, cotton pad

~ glue that will bind metal to metal. I like E-6000.

~ broken earrings or jewelry pieces

tools-jewelry-making-rings-findings-vintage

To start, let’s go over some things to avoid. I have some earrings that I think would make beautiful little rings, but they won’t attach the the base of the glue pad on a ring. This one with the three flowers, for example, has no where to get glue on the earring to get it to stick to the ring.

flower-earring-broken-vintage                                        flower-earring-won'twork

Or this piece of a bracelet, that I think would be awesome, but it doesn’t have enough of a base either.

broken-bracelet-vintage                                 broken-bracelet-wontwork

Earrings and pieces that have relatively flat bases will work, like these:

broken-earrings-vintage-jewelry

Once you’ve picked out what you want to use, start by cutting off the posts/clips/any extra metal bits. I have to warn you at this point, that some vintage purists will squeal at the idea that I’d cut off clip-ons just because they hurt my ears, so I can wear them on my fingers. I have also done this but glued the earrings onto posts, which are pretty much the same as making the rings. I can’t wear clip-ons, though, and I’m all about WEARING my vintage jewelry, not looking at it sitting on my dresser.

Using the wire cutters, get the sharp blade as close to the base of the earring as you can. You can always cut it again to get more off. I should probably issue a warning at this point to wear protective eye-wear and not put your finger in-between the blades of the wire cutter. When you cut metal bits like this, they tend to go flying around because of physics and stuff. If you get your fingers in the way, you’ll get hurt. Don’t let your toddler help you.

cutting-earring-back-vintage-jewelry             alternate-view-cutting-earring-back

Sometimes the jewelry has metal bits that will pop off where they are soldered on. This earring has a piece I’ll call a “leg” that was still stuck on there after I cut off the clip-on. Using the needle-nose pliers, gently pull those bits off.

pulling-leg-vintage-jewelry                        leg-off-earring

Alright, we’re done cutting and pulling. We need the bases of these pretties to be as flat and smooth as possible. Most vintage jewelry is made out of soft metal, like silver, pewter or iron. I have found that a cheap little metal nail file works well. Gently scrape away at the rough bits on the back so we can get a smooth fit onto the ring’s glue pad.

rouch-earring-metal-nail-file            filoing-earring-back      earring-filed-smooth

Okay, before gluing, clean any dust and oil off the metal. Just use a cotton pad and the rubbing alcohol. If any cottony bits stick to the jewelry, just make sure you pull it off.

alcohol-cleaning-vintage-jewelry

Now comes the tricky part. We want the rings to stand up while the glue sets, so the earring part stays straight on the ring base. I have a carboard jewelry box that I’ve lined with a piece of fabric. I can wedge the rings between the box edge and the fabric, and the rings stay upright. If you have a couple of silicon spatulas, two hammers, a couple chunks of wood, those would work as well. You just need something stable to set the rings in. Put whatever you’re using on a covered work surface, like covered in a few layers of newspaper. I don’t do this, but I’ve crafted with my tube of glue a lot, and I’m both comfortable with how the glue comes out and willing to live with my mistakes. You’ll notice I’m working on a vintage table cloth. I’ll swear profusely if I get glue on it.

Once everything is set up how you like it, read the instructions on your glue. You want something pretty toxic to hold this stuff together. This means another warning. Don’t get this stuff on your skin, eyes, or up your nose. It will probably smell bad and have some fumes. Don’t sniff them. Don’t let your pets or children eat the glue. Also, it probably comes in a metal tube. Squeeze GENTLY from the bottom. You should make sure your work surface is covered, as I covered above. It’s gonna come out either really slowly, or pretty quickly. If it comes out quickly, let it pool on your paper-covered surface and use a toothpick to spread it on the earrings and findings. You’ll need about a pea-sized glob. If you use too little, the jewelry won’t stick. If you use a lot, you’re going to get glue all over the ring and you won’t be able to wear it.

glue-ring-findings-earrings

Put a pea-sized dab of glue on the glue pads of all four rings first. Then put glue on the earring backs. Once all the glue is on, cover the glue up with it’s cap, or set it so it can pool in a safe place, back on the newspaper. Set an earring on a ring finding. Press it down gently. If the glue is too heavy and running all over, use a toothpick to clear away excess. You can either try leaving the ring wedged in it’s safe place, or pick it up and adjust it, then set it back when you’re ready. Do the next one, and the next. Go back to the first one and check that it’s straight. The glue will be sticky, but not set. Once everything looks good, walk away. Eat a cookie. Watch New Girl.

After about 30 minutes, check them again for straightness. You should be able to move them a tiny bit if need be. Now, let them dry for 24 hours. Sorry, no wearing these pretties out tonight.

setup-glue-vintage-rings

Wallah! You now have cool one or two-of-a-kind jewels to wear and share!

Ready? Here’s the surprise part. I’m going to give away two sets of rings to two lucky Luna Luna Magazine followers! One person will get a red glass beaded ring and the rhinestone ring. Another will get a red glass beaded ring and a pearly ring. I think the pearly one looks like a bird nest. I’m tempted to keep it, but I won’t.

pearl-rhinestone-goldtone-red-glass-bead-vintage-ring        rhinestone-red-glass-beads-vintage-ring-giveaway

To enter do both of the following:

1. comment on this post about why you love vintage, or where you’ll wear the rings, or who you’ll give one (or both) to.

2. You must also follow Luna Luna Magazine to be entered.

The giveaway ends next Sunday, Dec. 1. I’ll post the winners back here on “It’s Not Dead Yet” on Monday the 2nd, and we’ll make arrangements for shipping. Sorry, but I can’t ship internationally (Canada is fine.)

Comment away and have fun crafting!

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Kristin LaTour’s life is like a small Victorian boarding house of familiar guests. Some may only visit occasionally; some never leave, and all are welcome. Find out more at her website.

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19 thoughts on “It’s Not Dead Yet: Make Those Broken Earrings into Rings!

  1. This is great! I’m always paranoid about my earrings having to match my outfits, but I’m strangely not worried about it when it comes to rings. I’d love to have one of these beauties for myself, but really, since I’m a broke adjunct prof, these would make great gifts for my family members–especially my sister who’s spent a small fortune on Christmas for her newborn–it’d be nice to give her some easy bling! :)

  2. Truly you are the queen of vintage revival squared ! Love it. I have a few sole earrings that now can be recycled into wearable giftable pretty again. Thanks.

  3. I think this is a fabulous idea. I had one of the earrings I wore from my wedding and lost the other. I kept it for a long time, hoping to do something with it. Wish i’d thought of this. I would love the three pearl one, it reminds me of those wedding earrings. :-) Christine

  4. I wonder if you could solder the metals together? Although that means knowing a bit more about metals and more tools, but I wonder how well they would hold up? The rings are super fun and remind me of an old spoon ring I had as a child that had been passed down (of course this artifact is lost at this junction in my life), but I love that you have the time and talent for these items.

    • Soldering might be hard given the base metals of vintage jewelry and the zinc and steel that are used in many modern findings. And it would require more investment than a tube of glue. I’ll have to do some research and consider that. Thanks Amy C!

  5. This is wonderful! I could never just throw away the lonely earring. It’s journey should not end only because I misplaced it’s life partner, it’s better/equal half… now there is hope! These would make excellent gifts! (For self. And maybe others. But i would really have to like them.) Thanks for posting! I will be sharing this on FB.

  6. Great idea for re-using items people may have around the house. Honestly you are one of the most creative people I know. If I win I think I would give the red one to Darcy and keep the other for myself not to be to selfish.

  7. I love this idea! I’m going to have to try this with my sister soon. Thanks for sharing.

    The rhinestone ring reminds me of one my grandmother used to wear. I think I’d wear this one everywhere.

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