Beyond Faux Leather: Specialty Materials for DIY Earrings
using your Silhouette Cameo, Portrait, or Curio
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Like so many other Silhouette projects, DIY earrings leave plenty of room for creativity and individual expression. While faux leather is still very much on-trend, there is a wide variety of specialty materials that can be used to make earrings. After spending this past weekend at the Terri Johnson Creates Spring Retreat in Woodbridge, VA (where I taught a class on making faux leather earrings), and seeing all the creative combinations the students came up with, I was inspired to come home and play with some other materials I’ve had in my stash for a while. Today, I’m sharing the results with you!
General Info & Tips
- These materials and designs can all be cut at a blade depth of 10 or less, making them suitable for all models of the Silhouette Cameo, Portrait, or Curio.
- All designs used were from the Silhouette Design Store. Except for the glitter material, I cut one detailed design (the leaf) and one plain design. None were resized unless otherwise noted. (Click on the name of the design to be taken to the Silhouette Design Store.)
Leaf Earrings by Lori Whitlock
Diamond Drop Earrings by Sweet Elsie
Diamond Earrings by Sweet Elsie
Geometric Earrings by Sweet Elsie
Layered Earrings by Sweet Elsie
Tear Drop Earrings by Sweet Elsie
- All materials were tested with a ratchet blade and an Autoblade. In almost all cases, the ratchet blade provided somewhat better results, although both did a great job. In all cases, the Line Segment Overcut was turned OFF.
- I started with a brand-new mat and new blades, but used the same mat and blades throughout my testing.
- A test cut was performed on each material, but rather than using the Test Cut function in Silhouette Studio, I typed an uppercase B in the Lucida Grande font, 72 pt. (This is the default font and size for my version of Studio, but any similar block-type font will work.) The curves and angles of the letter, along with its larger size, give a better idea of what you can expect when cutting the earring design.
- If you need to refine your cut settings, don’t automatically start by increasing the blade. Try increasing the force or the number of passes first. If cutting a delicate design, decrease the speed.
- With the exception of the denim earrings, all earwire hooks are from Craft Chameleon.
- Many of these materials are thin, so consider moving the earwire hole down a bit to provide more stability at the top of the earring. (For instructions on how to do this, see DIY Faux Leather Earrings using your Silhouette Cameo or Portrait.)
For double-sided earrings, I used either HeatnBond Ultra or my Xyron Sticker Maker. A couple of helpful hints when using the Sticker Maker:
- After the adhesive is applied, but before removing the top plastic sheet, use a toothpick to score the area inside the earwire hole and all around the edges of the earring to help break the adhesive.
- Once the top plastic sheet is removed, turn the strip over (the earrings will still be attached to the adhesive liner) and rub with a rubber scraper or squeegee. This will help the adhesive to bond firmly to the earring before the liner is removed.
Where to Buy: I got mine at Hobby Lobby, but it is also available at Walmart, Joann, Amazon.com and directly from Fairfield World.
(Cardstock, Plain Setting)
Notes: This material was a dream to work with. It adheres well to the mat, cuts cleanly, and worked well with the Xyron.
For the triple teardrop earring, I used the Layered Earrings by Sweet Elsie design, made a copy and created one larger teardrop.
Perforated Faux Leather
Where to Buy: Walmart
Blade: 8 (9 for the Autoblade)
Notes: This is a stretchy material and needs painters tape on the back for stabilization and should be cut on the reverse.
Because of the perforations, it’s best-suited for plain designs. The fabric backing ravels a bit, leaving fibers on the mat and strings on the design that will need to be trimmed by hand. (Increasing the number of passes did not help to reduce the fibers.) The fabric is almost “self-healing”, virtually eliminating the earwire hole, which then had to be punched by hand. Works well with the Xyron.
Where to Buy: Fabric Stores
(Fabric, Thick (Canvas) setting)
Notes: This fabric was stabilized with Terial Magic and then HeatnBond Ultra was applied so I could make double-sided earrings. I removed the paper backing from the HeatnBond before cutting and the ratchet blade gave me a slightly cleaner cut. The delicate areas of the leaf design are prone to splitting as the excess fabric is removed, making this material better suited for less-detailed designs.
(Floral design is Sparkleberry Glitter HTV.)
Where to Buy: Fabric Stores
Notes: I applied HeatnBond Ultra to this fabric, for both stabilization when cutting and in order to make double-sided earrings. I got a cleaner cut when the paper backing of the HeatnBond was left in place. The material is very linty and leaves a lot of fuzzies on the mat.
I blinged it up a little with the addition of rhinestones.
Where to Buy: Fabric Stores
(Fabric, Thin (Cotton) setting)
Notes: I applied HeatnBond Ultra to this fabric, for both stabilization when cutting and in order to make double-sided earrings. I got a cleaner cut when the paper backing of the HeatnBond was left in place. It cuts very cleanly but is somewhat linty and leaves residue on the mat. The fabric is thick enough that only one layer is needed for the earrings, but I prefer to make them double-sided for more weight. The delicate areas of the leaf design are prone to tearing when weeding out the excess fabric. Use care when ironing two layers together, and press for 6 seconds (or less) in order not to melt or warp the fabric.
Where to Buy: Hobby Lobby or other stores where upholstery fabric is sold
Notes: I cut this fabric cork-side down. It is a layered material with canvas on the back and the canvas will ravel a bit. The material is thick enough for single-layer earrings, but making them double-sided helps reduces raveling on the edges.
Glitter Canvas Ribbon/Glitter Mesh Fabric Sheet
Where to Buy: Both can be found at Hobby Lobby
Glitter Canvas Ribbon
Glitter Mesh Fabric Sheet
Notes: I was a bit apprehensive about this material so I saved it for last, knowing that the glitter would dull my blade more quickly than the other specialty materials I experimented with. My fears were unfounded though and it cut beautifully! I cut it on the reverse and taped the edges to my mat using painter’s tape. I placed the fabric in the middle of the mat to avoid having it go under the rollers.
The glitter mesh fabric sheet cut cleanly with no fraying and stayed flat, so it works well for either single-layer or double-sided earrings. The glitter canvas ribbon frayed and curled, but only slightly, so my suggestion is to use it for double-sided earrings. I definitely recommend moving the earwire hole down when using either of these materials (as pictured in the blue earring).
As you can see, there are SO many possibilities for DIY earrings! Have you tried making any yet? If not, I hope you’re now inspired to give it a go! Let me hear from you in the comments below or come join my Facebook group!
Until next time,
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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.
Thank you so much for all the info….it really helps! Your post is the best one I have read in a long time.
I’m glad you found the information helpful! Thanks for stopping by!
Did you somehow attached the multicolor backing peeping thru the flower cut out
Hi Debi! If you’re referring to the denim earrings, the multicolor material is HTV from Sparkleberry Ink that is pressed on top of the denim. I have made multicolor faux leather earrings by cutting a solid back and running it through a Xyron machine, and then adhering both colors of faux leather on top. You can see what I mean in this post: https://caughtbydesign.com/2019/06/27/double-sided-faux-leather-earrings-using-xyron-sticker-maker/. Hope that helps!
Where did u get the cut out pattern for the flower that is on the Jean material?
Hi Sunny! I created it from a dingbat font 🙂 .
I have a Curio. Any suggestions on platform or blade settings?
Hi Carman! The faux leather I’ve been using isn’t very thick, so my suggestion is to use all the platforms (2+2+1) and the same blade settings as the Cameo. (Be sure to make a test cut first.) Let me know how this works for you!
I love your information. You have been very thorough. My long time friend and I had been trying to make earrings this week, but I was not pleased with the results. Your instructions has shown me I just needed to tweak my setting a little. Excited to try this again. Thank you.
Thank you for the comment Jane. I hope some of the tips help!