How to Make Penguin Earrings with a Cricut
The holidays are around the corner, and I'm still crafting my heart out by designing lots of fun holiday earrings. If you've missed them, be sure to check out my Gnome Earrings, my Santa & Candy Cane Earrings, and my Snowman Earrings. I've asked my readers for more ideas, and I received so many requests for penguin earrings! So I'm fulfilling that request today with this DIY Penguin Earrings tutorial.
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 Penguin Earrings with the Cricut Maker, an Explore Air 2 or even the Cricut Joy! (If you plan to use the Cricut Joy, you'll want to check out this post first.)
In this tutorial, I'll give you my step by step instructions and tell you exactly what materials I used to make this project.
A link to download my original SVG file for this project is in the Materials list below.
If you'd rather watch a video tutorial, click on my Penguin Earrings YouTube video below:
Ready? Let's get started!
Want to see all of my Cricut earring & jewelry tutorials? CLICK HERE
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Penguin 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!
- Black Faux Leather. I used this smooth black faux leather and this pebbled black faux leather, both from Amazon. For this design, you can use either smooth or pebbled with great results.
- Heat Transfer Vinyl in assorted colors. I used Siser Easyweed in White for the body, Siser Easyweed in Yellow for the beak and feet, and then Siser Glitter HTV in Green for the scarf. This is a great assortment pack of 12 different Siser Glitter colors that would be great for making penguins in different colors.
- 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 in the faux leather). This is my go-to hole punch for making Cricut earrings from Amazon here.
- Earring hooks - I used these silver toned shepherd's earring hooks from Amazon.
- Small jump rings - I used the silver toned jump rings from this assortment of 6mm size jump rings in different metal finishes from Amazon here. You could also use 5mm size jump rings if necessary.
- 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 Penguin earrings. It's Design #157 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.
DIY Penguin Earrings - PROJECT INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1 - Download the SVG Cut Files
Download my free Penguin Earrings SVG file (#157) 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
If you need help uploading a file to Cricut Design Space, click here, or watch the YouTube video for this project which has step-by-step file uploading directions.
When the penguin earring shapes are on your canvas, choose if you want to cut the penguins with the pre-cut holes or without (if you'll be making the holes yourself with a hole punch. Hide (or delete) the layers for the earrings you aren't going to make now clicking on the eye next to the layers you want to hide.
I'll be using a hole punch to make the holes in these penguin earrings after the layers are assembled, so I'll hide the pre-cut earring hole pair.
These earrings are already appropriately sized for earrings, but you can size them down slightly smaller if you'd like. Not too much or the nose will be too difficult to weed!
Click the green 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 one faux leather layer and 3 heat transfer vinyl layers (the body, the scarf, and the beak and feet), all on separate mats.
You don't need to mirror the faux leather mat, but you will want to mirror the mats for the heat transfer vinyl mats.
Click on the black mat to see what size faux leather the penguins will cut from.
Then mirror each of the heat transfer vinyl mats in the mat preview on the left hand side. Press the green CONTINUE button.
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 Mat
Cut a piece of black faux leather to the size you noted in the mat preview screen. Place your cut piece of faux leather pretty side down in the top left corner of a sticky purple cutting mat.
Now tape all around the faux leather with blue painter's tape. Press the material down to your mat firmly with your hands.
Load the prepared mat into the Cricut by lining the mat between the mat guides and then pressing the double arrows button. Be sure your white star wheels are moved out of the way so they don't leave tracks on your faux leather!
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.
STEP 6 - Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl Mats
Return to Cricut Design Space to start cutting the heat transfer vinyl mats in the order shown on the mat preview screen.
For the heat transfer vinyl mats, I'll use the Washi Sheet setting for the solid colors of vinyl (white and yellow) and Glitter Vinyl for the green glitter.
I use the Default pressure for all vinyl cuts (I usually repeat the cut for glitter vinyl, however - just press the C button again to repeat the cut).
Place the vinyl shiny side down on a green cutting mat. Cut each vinyl mat using the appropriate cut setting and weed to remove the excess vinyl.
STEP 7 - 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 one at a time onto the penguin faux leather shape. Do the white body first, then the yellow beak and feet, and then the scarf.
Cover with a cover sheet (teflon sheet or parchment paper) before pressing. Press this layer for 5-7 seconds, just long enough for the layer to adhere to the layer below.
Peel away the carrier sheet carefully. If the vinyl lifts up with the carrier sheet, lay the carrier sheet back down again and press more.
Repeat with the yellow layer, and then the scarf.
Then press the layers of vinyl onto the other earring.
STEP 8 - Punch the Earring Holes
If you didn't use the SVG with the pre-punched holes, use a 1/16" hole punch to punch the earring holes. These are the two punches I use: this hole punch and this hole punch. They both punch through layers of faux leather very cleanly. If you don't have a hole punch, you can use a sharp object to make the hole.
Punch the hole in the top of one earring, making sure the hole isn't too close to the edge. Then use that earring as a guide to punch a matching hole in the other earring.
Now it's time to attach the earring hooks.
STEP 9 - Attach the Earring Hooks
To attach the earring hooks, you’ll need small jump rings, earring hooks, and two pairs of flat nose pliers.
To connect the earring hooks, you’ll first need to turn the bottom loop on the fishhook earring 90 degrees so your earrings will hang correctly.
Grip the earring hook between your thumb and forefinger with one hand, and use flat nose pliers to grip the bottom earring hook loop. Twist the wrist holding the pliers firmly so the loop turns 90 degrees.
Once you've twisted both of the earring hook loops 90 degrees, use two pliers to grip each side of a 5mm or 6mm jump ring. Make sure the opening of the jump ring is facing up in the 12:00 position. Then twist one wrist to open the jump ring slightly.
With the jump ring open, slide on the faux leather earring, and then add the earring hook. Be sure the hook is facing in the right direction.
Then use the second pair of pliers again to grip both sides of the jump ring and twist the jump ring closed again.
Repeat with the second earring. That's it! Aren't these penguin earrings cute?
If you do make this project, I would love to see your Penguin earrings! Please share a photo of them in the comments, or tag me on Instagram: @amyromeucreative
Want to see all of my Cricut earring & jewelry tutorials? CLICK HERE