tutorial: fabric chandelier earrings

by Valerie

in crafting,tutorials

UPDATE: You can now purchase a kit to make these lovely earrings! Click here to check it out!

I don’t make jewelry. Partly because I love buying handmade jewelry (my #1 vice when attending craft shows), and partly because the materials don’t intrigue me enough to want to make things out of them. I’m more interested in the finished product than the parts.

But – and you already know thisI love fabric. And for a while I’ve had vague intentions of making jewelry out of fabric. As much as I love handmade jewelry, I haven’t found much in the way of fiber jewelry that I actually like.

Today, while procrastinating when I should’ve been sewing ipad covers for the Art Star Craft Bazaar, I made these:

fabric chandelier earrings in orange

They took FOREVER but it was so much fun and I am so very in love with them, I thought I’d share how I did it!

There are a ton of tutorials out there on how to make fabric button earrings and the like…but for me, there’s no point to earrings that aren’t swingy and dangly, know what I mean?

materials for fabric earrings

materials needed
I used less than a quarter yard of quilting cotton to form the “petals.” You could probably make two pairs of these with one fat quarter.

I attached the petals to super skinny 1/8″ wide satin ribbon with tiny 6mm jump rings. The earrings are finished with french hooks, because like I said, I need my earrings to be swingy.

You’ll also need matching thread and a super-sharp hand needle, plus a sewing machine and a hot iron.

cutting bias strips

making the fabric petals
The fabric portion of these earrings are actually slightly modified petals of the flower hair clips I make.

1. Cut bias strips of your chosen fabric 1.5″ wide. Then sew them into tubes with right sides together, using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance off, turn them right side out, and iron them flat with a hot steamy iron. Make sure the seam stays to one edge.

bias tubes of fabric ironed flat bias tubes cut into petals a165space

2. Cut your flat bias tubes into short pieces that you’ll sew into petals. For each earring, you’ll need three pieces 3.25″ long, and three pieces 4.25″ long.

I had these bias tubes leftover from making the ruffles on the thalia classic handbag from my 2011 spring collection, so I used three different coordinating prints.

No reason you couldn’t use a single print for these earrings, or even a solid color. Or, you could make every petal different. A great way to use up small scraps! These would look fantastic in silk dupioni, or something sheer (oh, I’ll be making more, for sure!).

skinny ribbon tied onto jump ring

start with your ribbon
I used really skinny ribbon with tiny jump rings because that’s what I had in my stash, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use wider ribbon and bigger jump rings, if that’s the look you want.

3. Start by cutting a 7″ long bit of ribbon and tying a knot in the center around a jump ring. Eventually the french hook will attach to the finished earring here.

ribbon with three pairs of jump rings

4. Next, you need something to hang your petals from, so slide some more jump rings onto the ribbon, and secure them in pairs, the way you would with a D-ring buckle on a ribbon belt.

I decided on six petals, so I have three pairs of jump rings, more or less evenly spaced apart. You could easily add or subtract pairs, obviously. They aren’t sewn onto the ribbon, but they don’t slide at all, the double thickness of ribbon keeps them in place quite nicely.

fabric petal with jump ring attached fabric petal with jump ring secured a165space

make your petals
5. Join the opposite ends of the bias strip together, so its folded end curls in to form a petal shape. Thread a jump ring onto your needle, and secure the raw ends of the petal with a single wide stitch.

6. Next, pull the thread tight so the top edges of the petal fold together tightly, making sure the jump ring (and its opening) is protruding from the top.

finished fabric petal

7. Secure the jump ring to the petal with a few stitches (3 should do it – you don’t want too much thread bulk), and then wrap the raw edges with your thread.

Bury the end of the thread underneath the wrapping, and them trim off the excess.

six finished petals - enough for 1 earring

lather, rinse, repeat
Almost done! Repeat steps 5-7 for all of your petals. If you’re using different fabrics, take a moment once all twelve are finished to decide on a pleasing arrangement.

8. Join your petals to your ribbon using the jump rings, pairing a small petal with a large one for each pair of jump rings. (Use a pair of jewelry pliers to gently open the jump ring at the top of each petal, and slip it into the jump ring on the ribbon.) I tried to make sure the petals curled in opposite directions.

single finished fabric chandelier earring

Viola! My earrings turned out to be about 4.5″ long, so they brush my collarbones. I haven’t even had them for 24 hours and they are already my new favorite thing!

These are perfect for me: colorful and dramatic, but still quite casual, since they are made of cotton fabric. I’m definitely going to store them hanging; I’m afraid if I lay them down in a jewelry box the petals will get crushed…they are a little small to iron smooth again.

If you make a pair, I’d love to see them!

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{ 20 comments }

Jacqueline May 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm

How cool! These are great! I have so many fabric scraps I need to use up and his is just the project! I’m bookmarking it and sharing on twitter! Awesome!!! thanks for sharing the tutorial.

Valerie May 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Jacqueline,
I’d love to see the ones you make with your scraps! And thanks for sharing the love. 🙂

Tanya Gilbert March 20, 2012 at 1:34 am

This is the first fabric earring I have seen that actually makes sense and looks really good. Thank you for sharing this.

Valerie March 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Thanks, Tanya! I really appreciate that. Please send along a pic if you end up making a pair!

"Evelina Finau March 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm

This is so nice and creative,I am interesting too in your fabric earings because I need to encourage the students and the people not to buy everything but recycle what they have in which they not spending money for buying earrings ,bags etc,so your style inspired me to encourage and try to make a small business in recycle materials.

Linda April 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

These are just darling!! You are one creative person!! Now to figure out how to print the tutorial so I can do this w/ my scouts. Good luck w/ the rest of your creations – so many possibilities, so little time to create.

diane April 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

this is ingenious!! I’m going to a quilt show in Cinncinnati next weekend, if I can find the time I want to make a pair of these to wear there, I think they are so CUTE! I’m following you on pinterest now so I can see where you get your inspiration!

Geraldine April 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Very intriguing! I completely agree with Tanya. Love the burst of color. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

Geraldine April 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Forgot to add.
Love your blog-spot. Very restful on the eyes (colors). Newest fan. Love hoarding fabric, can’t resist shopping at thrift stores/picking up abandoned furniture and re-purposing it. Save nearly everything, “it’ll come in handy one day” syndrome :).

Linda April 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

These are fabulous and so unique! Can’t wait to try this.

cucicucicoo April 13, 2012 at 3:57 am

so cute! 🙂 lisa

tammy beliveau April 13, 2012 at 5:00 am

Absolutely gorgeous!!!! These are amazing..congrats for starting a new trend..as im sure these things will be the next most wanted and appreciated jewelry that anyone will love…i know that im definitely going to find my bag of scrap material in my closet and make some of these…ill share pics when im done…thanks for sharing

gloria c April 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I Love how you did that,,, but most of all I love your detailed directions .

judy April 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

You are such a clever girl! I LOVE these earrings and can’t wait to make some! I’m always attracted to different and neat stuff and I have plenty of ribbon, too! I think I may try making some out of ribbon, as well as fabric! What a cool idea! Love your purses and accessories, too! Your work is beautiful!

Mavis Wood May 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

I’m a square dancer and love to wear the cute short skirts with the big petticoat under. I make a lot of my dresses, and now I’m going to have matching earrings for some of them. Thanks.

Kristen July 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm

OMG, I love them I can’t wait to make a few pair, Im thinking Tie-die or Dots… But first I need to know where to finds those rings..Thanks for sharing

Geraldine July 25, 2012 at 9:40 am

Hi Valerie. Regarding the fabric print. That’s a Fabulous 60’ish style for a mini/midi or maxi dress, don’t you think?

Tonia August 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Very cute and unique. I had love to make something like this soonest.

Kay August 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Absolutely adorable. Going to make some not only for myself, but also for gifts for my family and friends. You are a genious with a sense of humor (lather, rinse, repeat)!

Anne August 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Very creative kudos

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