How to Make Graduation Cap Earrings with a Cricut
It's graduation time for so many high school and college students, including my best friend's oldest daughter. We don't live in the same state, but I wanted to make a little keepsake gift for the graduate to let her and her mom know I'm so excited for the momentous occasion! I made her these 2021 Graduation Cap Earrings as a personal gift. If you have a graduate in your life this year and you want to make her a special graduation gift, I think you'll love this graduation cap earrings project.
If you haven't tried making earrings with your Cricut using faux leather and layered heat transfer vinyl, this is a great project to try. You can make these Graduation Cap Earrings with the Cricut Maker, an Explore Air 2 or even the Cricut Joy! (If you'll be making these earrings with the Cricut Joy, you'll want to visit this post for some helpful tips first.)
In this tutorial, I'll give you my step by step instructions and tell you exactly what materials I used to make this graduation jewelry project.
A link to download my original SVG files for this project is in the Materials list below. I also have a bundle of more graduation years (2021 through 2039) in my shop. You can check it out here.
Ready? Let's get started!
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Graduation Cap Earrings - Materials List
- A vinyl cutting machine. I have the Cricut Maker, which you can get at Amazon here or at Cricut.com. You can also use the Cricut Explore Air 2 or even the new Cricut Joy!
- Smooth faux leather in the color of your choice. I used this faux leather from Amazon in Black, but there are several other colors available.
- Heat Transfer Vinyl in the team colors of your choice. You can use solid heat transfer vinyl, foil iron-on, or glitter heat transfer vinyl, whatever you prefer. I used Siser EasyWeed Glitter HTV in Old Gold.
- Tiny Tassels. These are so fun. I used these tiny tassels from Amazon. They are .8 inches long and come in both an assorted pack and packages of solid colors. (Note: these have gold jump rings and thread, and I haven't found them with in this teeny tiny size with silver jump rings. If you require silver findings, one idea is to swap out the gold jump ring for a silver one. You can also use a silver Sharpie marker to color the gold jump ring and thread.)
- Cricut Strong Grip (Purple) Cutting Mat. You can buy these on Amazon here.
- Cricut Standard Grip (Green) Cutting Mat. Available on Amazon here.
- Blue painter's tape. This will help keep your faux leather in place on your mat. You can get it at any hardware store and most big box or grocery stores. Amazon also has it here.
- Cricut EasyPress Mat. I like the 8x10 size for making earrings.
- Small curved scissors - I love these curved scissors from Amazon.
- A small hole punch (for punching earring holes as needed). My favorite hole punch for earrings is from Amazon here.
- Earring hooks - I used these gold toned shepherd's earring hooks from Amazon.
- Small jump rings - I used these 6mm size gold toned jump rings from Amazon.
- Two pairs of flat nose pliers – My favorites are Wubbers brand in the "Baby" size. My everyday use pliers are the Baby Wubbers Chain Nose Pliers and the Baby Wubbers Flat Nose Pliers.
- The SVG file template for these 2021 Graduation Cap Earrings. It's Design #178 in my free resource library. You can get the password to my library instantly by filling out the form below, or at the bottom of this post. (This SVG is for PERSONAL USE ONLY. To sell earrings made with my original design, please purchase this SVG bundle with a commercial use license in my shop).
DIY Cricut 2021 Graduation Cap Earrings - PROJECT INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1 - Download the SVG Cut Files
Download my free Graduation Cap Earrings SVG file (#178) from my Resource Library. (If you don't have a password to the library, fill out the form above and it will be emailed to you instantly.)
Save the zipped folder that downloads to your computer. Then unzip the folder to access the folder's contents. You'll need to unzip or extract the files FIRST so you can upload the cutting file to Cricut Design Space.
STEP 2 - Upload the SVG File to Cricut Design Space
In Cricut Design Space, click Upload Image and browse for the unzipped SVG file. Click on to upload it. Then click on it in the Recent Uploads row and click Insert Images, as shown below. If you need help uploading a file to Cricut Design Space, click here.
The graduation cap earring shapes will load onto your canvas. The graduation cap and year numbers can cut from whatever color materials you'd like. You can recolor the layers here on the canvas, or leave them as is. The colors of your earrings will be determined by the actual material you cut the shapes from.
It isn't necessary to resize the earrings, so you can press the MAKE IT button.
STEP 3 - Preview the Cutting Mats & Cut the Faux Leather To Size
The mat preview screens will load. The Cricut will cut two different mats, one with faux leather and one with the heat transfer vinyl of your choice.
The faux leather mat doesn't need to be mirrored, but the vinyl mat does, so toggle the green MIRROR button on for that mat.
STEP 4 - Make Material Selections
Now you'll select your material for the first mat. I suggest cutting the faux leather mat first.
Note: If you're using a Cricut Explore Air 2, turn your dial to "Custom" so you can choose the setting recommended below. If you're using the Cricut Joy, set the machine to cut with a mat and then select the material setting below. You won't have a purple cutting mat, but follow the directions below using the green mat.
I already have Faux Leather (Paper Thin) saved as a favorite material in Cricut Design Space like I do below, you can click on it to select it.
If not, click on "Browse All Materials" to search for this setting. Type "faux leather" in the search bar and click on the magnifying glass.
When Faux Leather (Paper Thin) appears, click on it to select it. Click on the yellow star on the right if you want to add this material setting to your "Favorites" so you can find it easily again in the future. Then click DONE.
After you've selected Faux Leather (Paper Thin) as your material, choose MORE from the Pressure dropdown menu:
Now it's time to prepare the faux leather mat for cutting.
STEP 5 - Cut Faux Leather & Vinyl Mats
I pressed Cricut brand Foil Iron-On in Light Gold onto the back of the black faux leather before I cut the graduation cap shapes. This adds interest to the earrings and a pop of color. I suggest using either solid heat transfer vinyl or foil iron-on (not glitter HTV - it's too thick). To learn how to do this, check out my blog post What To Put On The Back of Faux Leather Earrings.
Place your cut piece of faux leather pretty side down on a sticky purple cutting mat in the same location as shown in the mat preview.
Now tape all around the faux leather with blue painter's tape. Press the material down to your mat firmly with your hands. Be sure your white star wheels are moved out of the way so they don't leave tracks on your faux leather!
Load the prepared mat into the Cricut by lining the mat between the mat guides and then pressing the double arrows button.
The "C" Cricut button will start to flash, indicating the machine is ready to cut. Press the C button to begin the cut.
When the cut is finished, but before you unload the mat, use a sharp tool like your weeding tool and carefully lift the edge of the earring shapes to see if they cut all the way through. If they did, then click the double arrow button to unload the mat. If not, press the C button to make the cut again.
Use small scissors to trim any fuzz around the edges if necessary. You can also press the vinyl backing for a few more seconds to flatten it again.
If the earring holes didn't cut all the way through, use a 1/16" hole punch or a sharp tool to punch the holes again.
For the heat transfer vinyl mat, use the green cutting mat. Choose the material setting that's recommended for your material. I used the the Glitter Vinyl setting with "Default" pressure. I repeated the cut one time by pressing the C button again before unloading the mat.
Remove the cut vinyl from the mat and weed away the excess vinyl.
STEP 6 - Press the Vinyl onto the Faux Leather
Using an Easy Press Mini (on the lowest temperature setting) or an Easy Press (set to about 275 degrees), press the vinyl layers onto the faux leather graduation cap earring shapes. Cover the earrings with a teflon sheet or piece of parchment paper.
Press for 5-7 seconds at a time. Repeat this short burst of pressing time and then press check to see if the vinyl has adhered. If not, repeat the press again. Peel away the clear cover sheet.
STEP 7 - Attach the Earring Hooks
To attach the earring hooks, I used small jump rings, earring hooks, and two pairs of flat nose pliers.
I turned the bottom loops on the fishhook earring 90 degrees so the earrings would hang correctly. See the right hook in the photo above to see what direction the earring hooks will need to be in.
Then I opened a jump ring with two pair of pliers and, with with the jump ring open, slide on the faux leather earring, the tiny tassel, and the earring hook. I closed the jump ring and repeated with the second earring.
That's it! Aren't they cute? The graduate in your life will really love them.
NEED MORE GRADUATION YEARS?
I have a graduation cap bundle in my shop with years 2021-2039, as well as a blank graduation cap you can add your own text to if desired. See it in my shop here:
WANT TO SELL EARRINGS YOU MAKE FROM MY GRADUATION CAP SVGS? GET MY COMMERCIAL USE LICENSE FOR MY GRAD CAP EARRING SVGS IN MY SHOP HERE.
Are you going to make these graduation cap earrings? If so, I'd love to see them! Please share a photo of your Cricut faux leather graduation cap earrings in the comments, or tag me on Instagram: @amyromeucreative
Want to see all of my Cricut earring & jewelry tutorials? CLICK HERE