DIY Faux Leather Earrings using your Silhouette Cameo or Portrait
(and a giveway!)
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One of the most fun projects I’ve worked on lately is faux leather earrings. They are quick to make, relatively inexpensive, and a great way to express your creativity. As soon as I completed my first pair, I was hooked (no pun intended 😉 !).
(Be sure to read all the way down to the bottom to find out more about the giveaway.)(The giveaway has ended.)
Working with faux leather can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right settings and a few helpful tips, it’s as easy as working with paper or vinyl. When I first decided to experiment with faux leather, I thought I would need to use my Curio and/or my deep-cut blade. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to cut using my Cameo and a regular blade, making this project suitable for all Cameo models as well as the Portrait or Portrait 2.
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For purposes of this tutorial, I tried three different types of faux leather:
- Faux leather ribbon by Ribbon Boutique (Hobby Lobby)
- Silhouette Leatherette Sheets
- Faux leather purchased by the yard from my local Walmart
As much as I wanted the faux leather ribbon to work (because it comes in some really beautiful colors), I did not have much success. It’s thin, stretchy, and prone to peeling. I plan to keep working with it and will let you know in a future post if I find a technique that works.
Update: After a lot of trial and error, I’ve discovered a technique that works pretty well with the Hobby Lobby faux leather ribbon. Click here to read some tips and tricks for using this material with your Silhouette machine.
The Silhouette Leatherette worked “ok” but I found it to be a bit thin as well. It does come in some gorgeous colors though and the gold color (which looks more like pewter to me) was perfect for my daughter.
The winner – by far – in my comparison was the faux leather that I purchased by the yard. It comes in several colors, has a nice thickness (without being too bulky), and cuts like a dream. I purchased mine at Walmart but you can also find it in fabric stores or online.
Ribbon Boutique Faux Leather Ribbon
8” x 24” roll
MSRP: $4.99 (but can be purchased with a 40% off coupon or often on sale for $2.49)
Cost per square inch: 2.6 cents (1.6 cents with coupon or 1.3 cents on sale)
Silhouette Leatherette Sheets
8.5” x 11” sheets (3 sheets per pack – gold, cream, black)
MSRP: $6.99 ($5.99 at Swing Design)
Cost per square inch: 2.5 cents (2.1 cents at Swing Design)
Faux leather purchased by the yard
54” – 60” widths
Cost per square inch: less than 1 cent (approx .4 cents per square inch)
As you can see, not only was the faux leather yardage easier to work with, it was much more economical!!!
But enough about facts and figures – let’s make some earrings!!!
All screenshots are from Silhouette Studio, Version 4.1
What you’ll need:
- Earring design
- Faux leather
- (4) round jump rings (I used 4mm.)
- (2) fishhook earwires (I used 21mm.)
- Round tip jewelry pliers
- Adhesive (I used my Xyron machine.)
Update: After this tutorial was published, I discovered Double J Earwires from Craft Chameleon. They are SO much easier to use than jump rings and earwires. Craft Chameleon also now sells some leatherette that works very well for faux leather earrings and comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors.
Step 1: Choose your design & open it in Silhouette Studio
I found this design on Etsy Studio.
It contains 8 variations of a teardrop-shaped earring and I chose the design labeled “Hteardrop4”. You could also draw your own design, purchase one, trace an image from the internet, or search for a freebie to download. Popular designs include teardrops, feathers, and geometric shapes.
If you are using the Basic Edition of Silhouette Studio, you will not be able to open the SVG file and your best bet will be to use the DXF file that’s included in this set. You can also use the PNG file and trace it, but you may have difficulty getting smooth cut lines. (I highly recommend Designer Edition. It contains many nice features in addition to the ability to open SVG and PDF files and is well worth the cost. The upgrade can be purchased here.)
Tip: Before making any adjustments, save the design with a new filename so you don’t accidentally overwrite the original file.
Step 2: Decide on the finished size & resize if necessary
This is really a matter of personal preference. The SVG version of the design I purchased measured 1.25” x 2.169” which was a bit too large for my tastes, so I chose to reduce it to a width of approximately 1”.
Before you resize, keep in mind that the hole for the jump ring needs to stay the same size as the original design. If you reduce it, not only will it be too small for the hardware, but it will be difficult to cut. If you are making earrings from your own design, the jump ring hole needs to be approximately 0.1” diameter.
In order to keep the hole the same size when reducing the overall size of the design, you’ll need to release the compound path and make a few adjustments. (If you are using the DXF file, skip steps 1-3.)
- Make a copy of the original design and move it into the grey area that’s off the mat (known as the “holding space”). This will provide you with an unedited copy should you need to refer to it later.
- Select the design that remains on the mat. Change the line color to something that is easily distinguishable from the fill color. (The original design is filled with navy blue, so I made the line color red. I also chose to change the fill color to a lighter blue.)
- Choose Object > Release Compound Path. The entire image will turn to one color and you will see bounding boxes around the individual pieces of the design.
- Select the hole and move it away from the earring design. (If you are using the DXF file, the hole will need to be resized to approximately 0.1” diameter.)
- Select the remaining portions of the design and group them together (CTRL/CMD + G).
- Resize by either dragging the corner handles or entering your desired dimensions in the Scale Tool. If using the Scale Tool, be sure that the Aspect Ratio is LOCKED.
- Move the hole back into the desired position. (If it disappears behind the earring design, choose Object>Arrange>Bring to Front.) Select the earring design and the hole and choose Object>Align>Align Center.
- Select all parts of the earring design and choose Object>Make Compound Path. The design will now become white, but when you fill it with color again you will able to see the detail.
- Depending on how much you have decreased the size of the design, you may want to eliminate any portions that you feel will be too small to cut. The easiest way to do this is by selecting the design and using the Point Editing Mode to delete the points of the unwanted portions.
Step 3: Duplicate
In order to make a PAIR of earrings, you’ll need to duplicate your design by either copying and pasting or choosing Object>Replicate>Duplicate Right. If the design is not symmetrical, make one earring a mirror image of the other, by choosing Object>Replicate>Mirror Right.
With only the replicated design selected, Choose Object>Rotate>Rotate by 180°. This will nest the two designs in such a way to save material while adding a bit of space between the cut lines.
Step 4: Mirror the image
Not only is the faux leather very lightweight, but it also has a cloth backing that’s often white and not as attractive when viewed on the reverse. To remedy this, I made the earrings double-sided. Adding the second layer gives the earrings a nice weight (without being too heavy) and a much more attractive appearance.
To make the second layer, select both earrings and choose Object>Replicate>Mirror Right. (I recommend doing this even if your design is symmetrical, as opposed to simply making a copy of the design. Mirroring the image will assure that the front and back match up perfectly.) Select the two replicated designs and move them slightly to the right to allow space between the designs.
Step 5: Cut
Place the faux leather on your mat. Make sure it is laying flat and adhered well. Make a Test Cut and adjust your settings as necessary. The settings that worked best for me were:
Blade: 10 Speed: 1 Force: 18 Passes: 1
I tested the cuts using the Premium Blade, Ratchet Blade, and AutoBlade. All three blades provided great results, but my personal preference for a project such as this is the Premium Blade.
Step 6: Finishing
You will need to adhere the front and back pieces together using glue or another type of adhesive. My Xyron machine made this step a cinch. If using liquid glue, be sure that all surfaces are covered and wipe away any excess that seeps out from the edges.
Using the round tip pliers, insert one jump ring into the earring hole. Attach a second jump ring to the first ring. Finish by attaching a fishhook earwire.
If you plan to give the earrings as a gift, an earring holder from the Silhouette Design Store makes a nice touch. (Design pictured is #14053.)
Wasn’t that fun! I admit that I’m a little bit obsessed with these earrings right now and can’t wait to try some new designs and more types of faux leather. What about you? Are you going to give it a try?
To help you get started, I’m giving away a sample pack of faux leather along with a Premium Blade. The entry form is at the bottom of this post. Recipient must be a US resident, age 18 or older. Entry deadline is January 21, 2018 at 11:59pm CST. Winner will be chosen at random on January 22, 2018 and notified via email and announced on my Facebook page.
If you’ve already been working with faux leather, do you have some tips to share? Post a comment below or come join my Facebook group. It’s always great to hear from you!
Until next time,
Lycia is a lifelong crafter whose goal is to help others find value, confidence, and joy in whatever they create. She geeks out on using technology to supercharge craft projects with Silhouette Studio, Design Space, Glowforge, sublimation, etc.! Lycia teaches these skills and more through online tutorials and videos as well as in-person classes at both the local and national levels.
Love the post and thank you for making it so simple to follow!! Since I’m just starting to making these, can I use a spray adhesive to attach the 2 pieces? Will it be strong enough to keep them together?
I haven’t ever tried spray adhesive but I think it would work. Be sure to test it on a scrap first to make sure there’s no chemical reaction between the adhesive and the faux leather. Let me know how it works out!
Any tips on removing extra adhesive from using the xyron machine? It has made making earrings a lot easier since i ordered this but it leaves sticky residue on the earrings esp the ones that have designs.. the tear drop style not so bad just around the edges.
Hi Amber! Yes, I do 🙂 . If you’ll take a toothpick or a similar object and score around the edges of the earring (on the outside and any inner cutouts) before you remove the top liner from the Xyron adhesive, it will “break” the adhesive and you’ll have a much cleaner edge. Hope this helps!
So happy I found this blog post. I found some great colors of faux leather at Walmart and you are correct, it cuts beautifully, except am having a problem with the backing, it shreds and it takes me forever to clean the piece. Do you think I should have it go another pass? it seemed like the pieces that had any type of hole were starting to pop up in places, so I didn’t let it do the 4th pass, that may alleviate the problem. Thanks again for this post.
Thank you for the nice comment, Kacee! I’m glad you found the post helpful. Does the faux leather you’re using have a fleece-like backing? If so, try putting some painter’s tape on the back, or an iron-on stabilizer such as HeatnBond. You may also find that cutting from the reverse helps. If none of those things work, you can definitely try a 4th pass, but I haven’t found that to be necessary. Be sure to let me know if you have more questions!
Can I use a Cameo 2 to cut faux leather?
Hi Carman! For most faux leathers, the answer is YES! The exception would be anything that requires a deep-cut blade but so far that’s only been the Hobby Lobby faux leather ribbon for me.
Thank you for posting such great tips and instructions. I’m a beginner Silhouette user and have just attempted cutting earrings with The faux leather ribbon. It was very frustrating.Your instructions were were easy for me to understand.
Heading to Walmart to hopefully find the faux leather. Wish me luck!
Hi Angela! I’m so glad you found the information helpful! I hope you find some great material to try 🙂 . Have fun with it!!!
My faux leather isn’t cutting . I adjusted the setting to force 33 ratchet blade 10 and it doesn’t cut all the way through
Hi Yahaira! There is quite a bit of variation in faux leathers so you have to experiment with the cut settings to find what works. Silhouette leatherette sheets cut at a blade depth of 6, the faux leather I buy off the bolt cuts with a blade depth of 10, and the faux leather ribbon from Hobby Lobby cuts with a blade depth of 20 (using a Deep Cut blade). Certain materials will also require multiple passes in order to get a clean cut. I wish I could tell you the magic number, but it’s really a matter of trial and error.
What settings do you for the leatherette sheets? My blade keeps jamming/stalling. It will cut one fine, then next one is a bust. Its really strange. Thoughts?
Thanks for your comment Andrea! I used the Leatherette setting for the Silhouette Leatherette Sheets and that worked well. If your blade is jamming, it could need cleaning, or there could be some debris or damage on the mat. How detailed is the design you’re cutting and how new are your mat and blade?
Thanks for the tutorial! We are trying to determine how to attach the front and back. Can you explain how the Xyron machine works? We have never used one. Thanks!
Hi Beth! The Xyron comes in several different sizes. I have the 9″ Creative Station, the 5″ Creative Station, and the 1.5″ Sticker Maker. Any of them will work for the size of the earrings in the tutorial. The adhesive for the Xyron comes on a roll with a top layer and a bottom layer. For the 9″ and 5″ models, you place the faux leather onto the bed of the Xyron and hand-crank to roll it through. For the sticker maker, you simply place it in a slot at the top and pull on one end of the adhesive to feed the earring through (kinda like pulling on a piece of tape in a tape dispenser). When the earring has been rolled through the Xyron, it will have a clear carrier sheet on top. Remove the carrier sheet and peel the earring away from the bottom sheet and there will be adhesive on the back of the earring. I hope that helps!
Have you found that the earring has held up ok with using this as the adhesive? I’m currently just using a glue to assemble my sets and it’s taking forever! This sounds like it would be an answer to making the earrings more quickly if the adhesive holds up.
Hi Ashley! Yes I have! I use the Xyron permanent adhesive and have had no problems whatsoever. Thanks for asking 🙂 .
Have you tried anything using the glitter canvas? Wondering if a regular blade would work for that?
Hi Merilee! No, I haven’t. I do have some on hand that I want to try though and I’ve seen some teardrop earrings made from it. If you do try a regular blade, I would keep the design as simple as possible – either a plain teardrop, bar, rectangle/square, or circle – and maybe even cut from the back. When I get a chance to test it out, I’ll be sure to post again. Thanks for asking :).
Did you ever get a chance to cut your glitter fabric?
Not yet Megan :(. But I’m cutting more earrings this week and I’ll add that material to my list!
Just found this, did you ever try the glitter? I tried and couldn’t get it to cut all the way through.
Hi Ashley, yes I finally got the chance to work with the glitter canvas just yesterday. I’ll be publishing a blog post on it today and will add the link when it’s ready. Thanks for asking!
Here’s the link to the post that includes info on cutting the glitter canvas. https://caughtbydesign.com/2019/03/07/diy-earrings-from-specialty-materials/.
Can faux leather get wet?! Do you know?
Hi Mary! That’s a really good question. I assumed the answer was “yes” but wanted to be certain before I replied. As a test, I took a couple of pieces of faux leather and soaked them in water for 15 minutes and they did just fine. There was really no change in them at all. Hope that helps!
What other backing is used ive seen some that have a white or black backing to add weight so they don’t roll up as they are being worn??
Hi Tanya! I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that question for you. The faux leather I used has a white fabric backing. It’s possible that some colors have a black backing. The earrings you’ve seen may have had suede or felt added to them. Rolling was not an issue with the faux leather I used either but making them double-sided gave a much more finished look. If you find out about any other alternative backings, I’d love to know!
Hi! Thanks for the great tutorial. I’m at JoAnn’s now & I see leather-looking upholstery material. The price is much higher than $8 per yd. Is that what you used?
Hi Kathy! I do believe that what I used is considered upholstery fabric but it’s lighter than what you might imagine. I bought mine at Walmart and have seen the exact same thing at Hobby Lobby but at a higher price. Make sure you’re looking at the faux leather that’s in the yardage section with the other fabrics, not the larger rolls that are in the home decor fabric section. Hope this helps!
I WAS in the home decor section – didn’t see the other. I’ll go back and look again. Thanks for your response!
You’re quite welcome! I hope you find what you’re looking for. The faux leather earrings are so much fun to make!
Thanks for the awesome, detailed tutorial! I tried cutting the leather ribbon with my auto blade and the faux leather setting and got nowhere. Do you think it’s the blade or the ribbon?
Hi Jen! Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it! My guess would be the ribbon. I still haven’t been able to cut the leather ribbon successfully.
Why do you glue 2 together?
The backing of the faux leather is more like fabric – in the case of the hot pink faux leather (and some of the other colors as well), the backing is white. Making the earring double-sided not only looks better, but also adds a bit of weight, which helps them hang better.
Hi! I love this! I’ve been getting discouraged because I’ve been to Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby and Walmart and can never find colored leather.. only brown, black and silver. I’m guessing this didn’t have a brand name or anything did it? Maybe Missouri just isn’t a place for leather :'( Yours turned out gorgeous!
Hi Jaime! You’re in luck…sort of. The brand name of the faux leather I used is Waverly. I have an item number but it’s not matching up on any internet searches. I did look at Walmart.com and they have something that looks just like what I bought, but it’s listed as “Shason Textile Faux Leather Upholstery-Home Decor Solid Fabric” and the hot pink is on sale right now. I’ll copy the link to it below. If you can’t locate it, email me at [email protected] and I’ll see if I can help you further. And thank you for the compliment on the earrings. I’m eager to try making some more!
No this helps me a ton – thank you so much! I appreciate you finding the link, too!! 😀
Glad to help!
Thanks for the tutorial. I do have a question, which side of the faux leather is sticking to the mat? I can’t wait to try these.
Hi Christy! If you think of the faux leather as fabric, the “wrong” side is adhered to the mat and the “right” side is on top. In other words, the backing of the faux leather is the part that sticks to the mat. For some materials, it may be helpful to do the opposite and cut through from the back side, but “right side up” has worked for me on both the faux leather I purchased by the yard as well as the Silhouette leatherette sheets. Thank you for asking and have fun making earrings!
Thanks for the tutorial. I have been making earrings with my silhoutte but you gave me a few tips that I didnt know about. Thanks for taking the time to help.
My pleasure Joanne! I’m glad you found it helpful.
When adding adhesive and using the xyron machine, do you run both sides through or just one and attach the two together?
Hi Wendy! I ran only one side through the Xyron. I used the permanent adhesive and it’s quite strong. Thanks for asking :).
Thanks! I can’t wait to try!!
I’d love to see what you make :).
Oh cool! My girls would love these!
You really should try them – they are so much fun to make!!!
What a neat idea! I would LOVE to win this!!
Best of luck to you Vicki! Thank you for the comment :).
I can’t wait to try this, Lycia! Thanks for posting.
I hope you do try it, Darlene! I know whatever you make will be beautiful.
Love this Lycia! Fabulous tutorial!
How cool!! I think this is one of the most fun things that I have seen for the Silhouette! I think making earrings might be like eating potato chips, one is not enough!! After all, why stop with one pair? Sky’s the limit. Thank you Lycia for a great tutorial!!! ❤️
Thank you :). I’m glad you enjoyed it!