Are you guys as ready for spring as I am? The gorgeous acrylic earrings coming out this spring have caught my eye (see lots of retail inspiration here), so it’s time to make some new jewelry! You can make a version of these DIY tortoiseshell statement earrings that are so easy they barely qualify as a DIY, or go for a slightly more complicated version. Either way, it’s a fun way to add a bit of this trend to your closet.
I’m one of those people who strongly prefers shopping in person versus online, because I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes things look very different in real life than on a computer screen. But I couldn’t find much in the way of tortoiseshell jewelry findings in local stores, so I turned to Etsy, where I found a couple of sellers with good selections, and filled up my cart. I wasn’t sure how things would look in person, and whether tortoiseshell from different sources would match, so I overbought. But that means I was able to make a bunch of different earrings, with varying difficulty levels. From super easy, to a bit more involved, if you want to make your own DIY tortoiseshell statement earrings, I’ve got you covered.
I did discover that Michael’s has a few tortoiseshell chains and discs, but the discs were on clearance at my store, so I’m not sure if they’ll be around much longer. You do have to be careful with matching tortoiseshell from different sources, though: As you can see in the photo below, the discs from Michael’s were a different color than the ones I bought online. So unless you’re buying in person, you’ll probably want to stick with one source for components that you plan to use together.
With all of the pieces I bought, I put together seven pairs of earrings, but it’s more if you take into account the fact that I can change up those coral ones whenever I feel like it. (Which I already did between these photos, switching between the gold and silver versions of the studs in this set.)
Now that I’ve been staring at resin earrings for hours, now I kind of want to try my hand at pouring resin myself. Have you ever done it?
Don’t worry, I’m not tackling that in this tutorial, I have links to where I bought these components for this project.
Ready to make some earrings? The techniques are pretty similar for all of them, but let me know if you have any questions about the pairs I don’t specifically go over how to make.
DIY Tortoiseshell Statement Earrings
Difficulty: Super easy
For the stud version:
Stud earrings with a long post – I used these.
Acrylic disc with hole – I used these, and these look really cool, too. If you want tortoiseshell ones, I’d suggest these.
For the hoop version:
Thin hoop earrings that can fit through the little hole in the acrylic blank.
Hoop earrings that close all the way to make a closed circle
Acrylic hoops – I used 30 mm tortoiseshell acrylic circle blanks from SwoonAndShimmer.
Acrylic ovals – I used these 39mm ovals in black, but they come in a ton of fun colors.
1. This couldn’t be easier. For the stud version, just stick the stud through the hole on the earring. Depending on the thickness of the plastic, you may need a stud earring with a longer-than average post, especially if your earlobes are on the thicker side. You could glue the stud in place, but I didn’t, which gives me the option to switch out the earrings.
For the other style, just loop your acrylic hoop through the earring, and you’re done!
Or if you have a smaller hoop, loop it through the drilled hole in the component.
Earring stud blanks – If you’re using the tiny white 7mm tortoiseshell blanks I used, you’ll need to be sure to use stud blanks with a small head, like the 3mm size here.
Acrylic disc with hole – I used a variety from TortoiseShellSupply and SwoonAndShimmer.
Acrylic pendant or hoop with hole – I used a variety from TortoiseShellSupply and SwoonAndShimmer.
Jump rings – Larger jump rings will work best.
1. Since the tortoiseshell pattern can vary a lot between small pieces, try to pick two discs that match. The patterns can look different even between the two sides of one piece. Glue your stud blank to the backside of the small acrylic disc with the stud at the top and the hole at the bottom. If it’s small, make sure not to cover up the hole. Let the glue dry.
2. Open a jump ring with jewelry pliers, insert it through the hole in your dangle piece, then insert the jump ring through the hole in the disc with the stud, and close it up.
1. The black acrylic discs I bought had no holes, so I had to drill some. It’s easy if you have a Dremel, and it’s good to be able to do in case you want to add more holes to a piece that doesn’t have enough. My acrylic discs came with a temporary clear cover on one side, and a brown paper covering on the back. I left both in place while I drilled. Just tape the disc down to a piece of scrap wood, and drill a little hole near one edge. Be sure to use a strong tape like duct tape–the first disc I tried to drill was ruined when the masking tape I used failed, and the disc pulled off of the wood, flew across my desk, and broke.
2. Remove the covering on one side of the disc. Glue your stud blank to the backside of the small acrylic disc with the stud at the top and the hole at the bottom. Let the glue dry. Remove the covering on the other side.
3. Open a jump ring with jewelry pliers, insert it through the hole in your dangle piece, then insert the jump ring through the hole in the disc with the stud, and close it up.