Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings


Lesson Info

Drilling Holes for Jump Rings and Ear Wires

The other thing that we wanna think about now is actually where we wanna place any holes that we need to drill for our ear wires or our jump rings, as we're actually assembling our earrings. So we've done some practicing, now it's time to kinda get back on track and start working on those statement earrings. So, um, when we're doing this we also have to think about drill bit size, so this is where we do need to get a little bit more specific, because we're actually dealing with a specific gauge of metal as well. So first thing's first, though, let's talk about where to put holes. So, really when we're talking about either jump rings, or we're talking about our um, ear wires, basically, close to the edge is pretty much the general rule of thumb. Again, I like to incorporate it in my design whenever possible, but if for some reason you didn't, what I'll just go through, do, is go through and just mark with a Sharpie, this is where I want my design. And I think, let's see, this one, this ...

was our top piece here, so these get ones for ear wires, but then I also need them for my jump ring connectors, and then these guys get them at the top. So, again, if you can put this in your design, it means that it's gonna be more consistent, but worst case scenario, I just like to go ahead and make a little mark. Now let's go ahead and talk about our drill bit size. So, what we need for this, because we are gonna be putting jump rings in here, is a drill bit that's slightly larger than your wire gauge. So I know I told you guys that I want you to make kind of your own decisions, but in this case I'm gonna tell you that for your jump rings, I recommend 18 gauge wire. It's thick enough that it's gonna have some meat on it when we make little jump rings, but it's not so, you know, but it's not too thick that it's gonna be overwhelming for your design. So I recommend using 18 gauge wire to make your jump rings, and we're gonna talk about how to make jump rings in a later segment, but you're gonna use 18 gauge wire, and that's about .04 of an inch, or 1.02 millimeters. Those of our friends in the rest of the world who use the metric system will be happy to know that actually a lot of jewelry things happen in the metric system. So I have no idea what .04 inches looks like, but I can visualize 1.02 millimeters pretty easily. So in this case what I'm looking for then is a drill bit that's just a little bit bigger than the 1.02, so our number 56, this guy here, says it's a 1.18 millimeter, um, that's pretty good, it's gonna give us a little bit of play, we want our jump rings to be loose. So I wanna use something that's a little bit bigger. Now, I'm gonna use 20 gauge for my um, for my ear wires, but in this case, I'm not gonna worry about using two different size holes. that 1.18 is gonna be just fine, um, so I'm gonna use that to drill all of those holes as well. And then the process is literally identical. You're just gonna center punch and drill the holes, just like we just did. Questions about that? Yes, we did have a question over here, um, from one of our students, who said, would wanted to know, what kind of material is the drill bit made of, and does that matter? That's a good question. So the drill bits are made of steel, and what you wanna look for is something that'll say like a high-twist steel drill bit. I don't think you can get them in anything else, but what you ideally wanna look for is a drill bit that's designed to drill metal, and not wood. So that would be the one thing that you're looking for. I do recommend ordering drill bits rather than just wandering into your local hardware store and trying to buy one, because what you're going to find in your local hardware store is that A, most of them are too big, and B, they're mostly made to go through wood. So you wanna actually look for specialty things, and if, in the PDF that you guys get when you RSVP for this class, I have links for where to buy those drill bits. So I recommend buying them either from a specialty jewelry retailer, or online, rather than just walking into your hardware store and saying, I need a number 56 drill bit, because odds are they're not gonna know what you're talking about, and they're not gonna have it.

Learn the basics of metalsmithing to make stunning statement earrings (and more!) - no torch required!

Getting started in metalsmithing doesn’t have to be scary. In Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings, you’ll learn the basic skills you need to start making metal jewelry, as well as the design principles to create your own unique pair of statement earrings, all with less than $100 in tools! (And, you’ll be able to apply those tools and new-found skills to expand your ideas into a full line of jewelry!)

In this class, jewelry designer and metalsmith Megan Auman will show anyone how to get started making one of a kind metal jewelry.

You will learn how to:

  • Choose the right tools and materials for your metal jewelry projects.
  • Design incredible (and comfortable to wear) statement earrings with balance and movement.
  • Saw and pierce to create any shape from sheet metal.
  • File and finish your metal pieces so they look professional.
  • Create your own ear wires to finish off your unique design.

Whether you’re looking to grow your existing jewelry making knowledge or for a new creative outlet that you can proudly wear (and show off!), you’ll leave this class with your own pair of stunning statement earrings - and the skills and design chops to expand your ideas into a complete line of jewelry!  



  • One of the most special things about Megan, is that though she is a creative, she is extremely good at business. Her organized way of thinking and presenting material, and her genuine joy when empowering her students with the tools needed to be successful, is charming and so much fun. Somehow there is such seamlessness and flow to her class structure and explanations, that I can absorb what she says and easily retain it. I really can start a jewelry line just with this class. She is amazing and LOVE her style!!!
  • I really enjoyed this class! Megan provides a great foundation for using metal sheets to design/make jewelry and using wire to make unique findings. This was a great class for learning the fundamentals and sparking inspiration for new projects
  • I love that Megan invites you into her studio (virtually) and reveals her design process. As someone completely new to metalsmithing and jewelry making, I felt like she made the topic approachable and doable. Statement earrings demystified!