How to Make Faux Leather Earrings with a Cricut
It's a new year, and one of my new year's resolutions is about crafting. No, I'm not giving up making faux leather earrings with my Cricut! Instead, my resolution is... to start using the supplies I already have instead of always buying new stuff! I know it's a silly thing, but I can't be the only crafter who falls into the trap of always buying new materials and never getting around to using what I already have. Does that happen to you?
For example, I bought this great assortment bundle of plaid faux leather and glitter sheets from Amazon, but when it arrived, I just let it sit there. Honestly, it's been weeks and weeks and I still haven't done anything with it! So, in keeping with my resolution, I decided to bust out that assortment pack and make some earrings!
This assortment pack of faux leather (I'll tell you exactly which one I bought in just a bit!) has three kinds of faux leather: pebbled faux leather, thick chunk glitter, and thin, fine glitter. The best part about buying an assortment pack like this is all the colors and patterns coordinate! It takes the stress and guesswork out of picking materials that will look good together.
By the way, if you don't have a Cricut Maker yet, don't worry! You don't need it for cutting these materials. You see, all three can be cut with the Cricut Fine Point Blade - so you can create these earrings with your Cricut Explore Air or Explore Air 2!
If you're interested in how I made these lightweight and fun three layer earrings, stay with me and I'll give you all the info!I'll share my tips for cutting chunky glitter, including how I keep my mat from getting glitter stuck all over it. I'll also show you my secret for making earrings without using jewelry making tools - I know some crafters avoid jump rings and pliers at all costs!
Finally, I'll give you my SVG cut file for these earrings FREE so you can make these versatile and popular earrings for yourself, or to sell! You'll find out how to download my free SVG file for this project at the bottom of this post.
Want to see all of my Cricut earring & jewelry tutorials? CLICK HERE
Ready? Let's get started!
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CRICUT FAUX LEATHER BUFFALO PLAID EARRINGS - Materials List
- 8 pack Buffalo Plaid Faux Leather Sheet Assortment. For this project, I only used the materials found in this assortment pack I bought from Amazon here. It has two thick, chunky glitter sheets, three thin, fine glitter sheets, one solid pebbled faux leather sheets, and two buffalo plaid printed sheets.
- Cricut Strong Grip Transfer Tape. This is to protect your mat from the chunky glitter residue AND hold your chunky glitter sheet firmly to your cutting mat. I like the Cricut brand for this application because it's super sticky. I bought mine from Amazon here.
- Blue painters tape (as needed). This will help keep your glitter vinyl in place on your mat. (If your mat is new and very sticky, you may not need to use it.) You can get it at any hardware store and most big box or grocery stores. Amazon also has it here.
- A vinyl cutting machine. I have the Cricut Maker, available at Amazon here. You can also use the Cricut Explore Air 2 or any cutting machine you have that will cut a thicker material like canvas backed chunky glitter.
- Cricut Strong Grip (Purple) Cutting Mat. You can buy these on Amazon here, or at Michael's here. They are also available at Hobby Lobby, Joann's, and Walmart.
- A weeding tool and a small spatula tool (if you have one). I had all the tools I needed in my Cricut tool set here. You can get also get the basic Cricut tool set at Michael's here, or from Hobby Lobby, Joann's, or Walmart.
- A small hole punch (if you plan to punch holes in your earrings after you cut the shapes instead of having the Cricut cut them). This is my go-to hole punch for making Cricut earrings from Amazon here.
- Earring hooks - I used earring hooks from this assortment of earring hooks in different finishes these from Amazon here. Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and other craft stores, as well as your local bead store, will have lots of earring hooks as well.
- Small jump rings - I used this assortment of 6mm size jump rings in different metal finishes from Amazon here. Again, your local craft store or bead store will have plenty of jump rings to choose from if you want to pick some up in person. You could use 5mm size or even 4mm size if that's what you have, but I wouldn't go any smaller than 4mm or larger than 6mm for this project.
- Two pairs of flat nose pliers – I’m using one pair of wide nose pliers and one pair of needle nose pliers here, but you can use any two flat nose pliers you have in your jewelry making tool box .My favorites are Wubbers brand in the "Baby" size. You can see the Baby Wubbers Chain Nose Piers on the left on Amazon here, and the Baby Wubbers Flat Nose Pliers on the right on Amazon here.
Note: Be sure to check out my post Beginner’s Guide To Jewelry Making Tools for all the information you need to know about buying and using jewelry making tools.
STEP 1 - Download Free SVG
Download the free SVG cutting file for these earring shapes from my free Resource Library. The link to get the password is at the bottom of this post.
Save the zipped folder that downloads to your computer. You'll need to unzip or extract the files FIRST so you can upload the cutting file to Cricut Design Space.
STEP 2 - Upload SVG To Design Space
After you've unzipped the folder and made a note of the file location, open Cricut Design Space and choose Upload from the left hand side menu.
Click on the UPLOAD IMAGE button, then click BROWSE to locate your file.
Navigate to where you've saved the already unzipped SVG file for this project. Double click on the SVG file to bring it into the upload screen in Design Space.
You'll see a preview of the earring shapes for this project. Hit the green Save button.
After you've selected your file to upload, you'll see it as the first item in your "recently uploaded designs" row.
Click on it so it is outlined in green. Then click on the green "Insert Images" button in the bottom right corner.
STEP 3 - Prep SVG For Cutting
This brings the three layered earring shapes into Cricut Design Space. The earring shapes are about 2.25 inches tall, which is sized perfectly for this project. You can make them larger or smaller if you want, but keep in mind that adjusting the size will make the earring hole larger or smaller as well. (If you want to keep the holes in the SVG from cutting out so you can cut them manually with a hole punch or sharp tool - I'll have instructions for hiding the holes from cutting a little later in the next step.)
Use your cursor to draw a box around all the elements, and drag the rectangle up to the top most left corner of the screen. You'll be placing your material to cut on your mat in the upper left hand corner.
If you want to cut the holes out the earring shapes as shown in the file, you can hit the green Make It button. If you plan to cut the holes yourself, follow the steps below to hide the cut holes before hitting the Make It button.
Optional: How to NOT cut the earring holes (if desired)
To hide the earring holes, first ungroup all the earring shapes by selecting all of them and clicking Ungroup from the menu at the top right side of your screen. Then select a single shape and click the Contour icon in the lower right.
When the Contour box pops up, click on the hole to hide it. You should see the hole disappear from the Contour pop up window box and also disappear from the screen in Cricut Design Space. Close out the contour pop up window and repeat the steps to hide as many earring holes as you want.
After you've hidden all the earring holes, hit the green Make It button. Your first mat will load. This will be your largest earring layer in the back. I'm going to cut this layer from the thick chunky glitter sheet.
From this screen, you can leave Mirroring OFF. It's not necessary to mirror for this project.
IMPORTANT: In the cut file, the light grey is the back layer (I've used chunky glitter), the medium grey is the buffalo plaid (the middle layer) and the black is the fine glitter (the top layer). If you are using different materials or a different cutting order, you'll want to keep this in mind as you cut.
From this screen we can see the chunky glitter shapes will cut from a piece of glitter sheet that's about 3 inches x 3 inches. Make a note of this measurement and click the green Continue button.
STEP 4 - Material Selection & Custom Settings
Next we need to choose our material. Since we are using chunky glitter that will have a foil backing, we can make a custom material setting.
On the Materials screen, click on BROWSE ALL MATERIALS on the right.
When the "All Materials" screen opens, click Material Settings in the lower left.
Scroll to the bottom of the materials list and select "Create New Material."
You'll be prompted to first create a name for your new material. I called it Chunky Glitter (Canvas Backing). Give it a name you'll remember and click SAVE. Then adjust the setting in the Multi-Cut column's dropdown menu from Off to 2X. Select Fine Point Blade from the next dropdown menu. Drag the pressure slider to 300. Click SAVE.
Now click on the new material setting you created to select it as your material:
On this final screen, you may want to change your cut setting to More from the drop down menu, depending on the newness of your blade and how your Cricut normally cuts. You'll also be prompted to make sure your fine point blade is loaded in Clamp B. This is the blade that came with the Cricut Maker.
Cricut Explore users can turn the Smart Set Dial to Custom and select Heavy Leather as the material. You'll also use the Fine Point Blade. Any other cutting machine users can follow their machine's settings for thick material like leather or denim. If possible, remember to adjust your cut settings so the blade cuts 2 or 3 times! If you can't adjust your cut settings, remember Cricut users can press the "cut" button again after your first cut (don't unload your mat!) and your mat will cut again.
STEP 5 - Prepare Mats For Cutting
Gather your materials for this next step. You'll need your sheet of chunky glitter and strong grip transfer tape. You'll also need a purple (strong grip) mat.
Note: If you're wondering what the white bands are around my transfer tape tubes, they are white slap bracelets! They are great for keeping my vinyl rolls neatly wound. You can get slap bracelets in lots of colors, but I prefer the all white slap bracelets from Amazon here.
Cut your glitter vinyl in the size you noted earlier. In this case, it's 3 inches wide by 3 inches tall. Then cut a piece of strong grip transfer tape 1 inch larger, so 4 x 4 inches.
Now it's time to prepare your mat for cutting. Place your Cricut strong grip transfer tape STICKY SIDE UP on at the top left corner of your Cricut purple strong grip mat. I placed my transfer tape outside of the area I knew I would be cutting just a little bit. Press the piece down as much as you can so it sticks well to the mat. This step will protect your cutting mat from getting glitter stuck all over it after you make your cut.
Place your glitter sheet glitter side down in the top left corner of your mat. Press it down all over and then tape the sides down with blue painters tape. This is what it will look like.
Before you load your mat, remember to move your white star wheels off to sides of your roller bar so they don't make track marks in your faux leather.
Load your mat into your machine by hitting the load button (two arrows) on your Cricut Maker.
Then hit the Go button (the Cricut face) on your maker and it will start to cut.
STEP 6 - Remove Cut Shapes From Mat
After your machine finishes cutting your earring shapes, unload your mat by pressing the two arrows/unload button again). You'll see the custom cut settings cut the glitter shapes out perfectly!
Carefully remove the shapes from your mat. You can peel back the mat to expose a corner of the cut shape, and carefully lift up.
Alternatively, you can take off the tape and remove the excess faux leather first. Then use a spatula tool to lift each shape off of the mat, and then the sharp weeding tool to clear the earring holes.
If your earring holes didn't cut cleanly, you can trim the excess material with some small pointed scissors, but mine cut out perfectly and popped right out. (If you want a great pair of small scissors, I love my 4 inch curved tip Fiskar scissors that I got on Amazon.)
Don't forget to remove the clear transfer tape from your mat. See how that kept all of the messy glitter off of your mat? Cool trick, right?
STEP 7 - Cut Glitter Layer
Now we need to cut the next mat, which is the black layer, for which I'm using a thin, fine glitter sheet.
When I was selecting my material for this cut, I chose Faux Leather (Paper Thin). Even though it's fine glitter, it does have a thin fabric backing which makes it more like faux leather instead of glitter vinyl. I recommend adjusting the Material Settings for this material to cut 2x or 3x. I find that it cuts better, at least on my machine. You can do this as you are selecting your material.
Place the fine glitter face down on your purple mat. I don't usually tape down fine glitter sheets that are thin, but you may want to if your mat isn't super sticky anymore.
Cut your shapes, remove them from your mat, and set them aside.
STEP 8 - Cut Plaid Layer
Now it's time to cut the middle layer, the dark grey layer, out of the buffalo plaid. For this material, I've created another custom material setting. Here are the parameters I use:
Name: Faux Leather (Thick Backing), 275 depth, 3x cut, Fine Point Blade
Create this material setting, save it, and then select it as your material. Prepare your third mat by cutting a square of the faux leather and placing it in the top left corner of your mat. Tape it down with blue painters tape.
Unload your mat, remove your shapes, and clear the holes. That's it for the cutting!
STEP 9 - Attach Jump rings & Earring Hooks
Now it's time to assemble your earrings!
You'll need small jump rings, earring hooks, and two pairs of flat nose pliers.
NOTE: You may be wondering why you need jump rings to connect the leather shapes to the earring hooks (instead of just hanging the faux leather shapes directly from the loop on the earring hook). There are two answers, really.
1. Using jump rings makes your earrings look professionally finished.
2. The jump ring is the key to letting your earrings dangle and move easily naturally as you wear them.
That being said - if you want to hook your earring shapes directly onto the earring hooks, go for it! There are no earring police!
Use your flat nose pliers to open a jump ring, slide on a star, hook the jump ring onto a loop in the chain, and close the jump ring again. It's easiest to open and close jump rings using two pair of pliers, like this.
So, to connect the earring hook to the faux leather with a jump ring, you’ll first need to turn the bottom loop on the fishhook sideways so your earring will hang correctly. See the example image below to see how the orientation of the earring hook has to change so your earrings will hang correctly.
You’ll do this using one pair of flat nose pliers. While holding the hook firmly between two fingers, grip the entire earring loop between the pliers and twist your wrist until the loop is perpendicular to the earring post. Repeat with the second earring hook.
Now you’ll need to open your small jump ring to slide the faux leather earring shapes and the earring hook on. Using two pliers, grip each side of the jump ring, making sure the opening in the jump ring is facing up (the twelve o’clock position).
Rotate one wrist forwards or backwards, so the circle creates an opening but doesn’t bend out of it’s circle shape.
When your jump ring is open, it's time to use them to attach the earring hooks to your faux leather shapes.
Slide your faux leather earring shapes in size order onto your jump ring, then slide your earring hook onto the jump ring.
Pay attention to which side is the front of your earring as you do this. Double check your shapes and hook are all facing the right direction.
Then use your two pliers to close the jump ring again using a wrist twist in the opposite direction. This takes a little practice, but you'll get it!
Repeat with the other earring. That's it!
Optional: How To Add Earring Hooks Without Tools
I did promise I would tell you how to make these earrings without using pliers and jump rings. Well, here is the information you've been waiting for! The key to making these earrings without using tools or jump rings is you have to use earring hooks called Ball Ear Wires. They look like this:
The ball ear wires I'm using are from Hobby Lobby here, but you can find them at most craft stores and bead shops. They are so simple to use because you just slide your faux leather shapes on the hook, like so:
Make sure your leather pieces and hook are all facing the right way, and voila! You're done! Earrings without tools!
Are you going to try this project? If you do, please post a comment and attach a photo of your finished earrings! I would love to see what combinations of buffalo plaid and glitter you choose!
If you liked this project and want to see all of my Cricut Jewelry tutorials, click here.
Until next time... and happy creating!