Hey, craft buddies!
I’m here to guide you on making a truly chic pair of genuine leather earrings using a Cricut cutting machine and other crafty tools. This DIY tutorial invites you to be inventive – mix and match colors, textures, and shapes to design earrings that make heads turn! When you use genuine leather, you get the benefits of durability, flexibility, and of course, elegance.
Don’t worry about the complexity – my guide provides a comprehensive list of materials, tools, and step-by-step instructions on cutting the leather, designing earrings, staining and glossing. The end result, a fantastic accessory personal to your unique style that truly stands out. Let’s craft together – time to express your creativity!
Before we begin, let’s talk about working with genuine Vegetable Tanned Leather and why it’s such a fantastic choice for earrings. Genuine leather offers durability, flexibility, and elegance that can elevate any accessory. By incorporating leather into your earring designs, you can create a stunning and fashionable accessory.
You might be wondering what Vegetable Tanned, aka Veg-Tan leather is. Well, it’s rawhide leather that takes a bath in water and salt water. Then the workers apply vegetable-based oils and waxes. In the end you get a nice supple and soft piece of leather that can be tooled.
Remember, leather crafting with a Cricut cutting machine is a journey that encourages you to unleash your creativity and bring your personal style to life. Experiment with different colors, textures, and shapes to truly make your earrings stand out.
So, gather your supplies, prepare your workspace, and let’s embark on this exciting creative adventure together. Get ready to make a bold fashion statement with your very own genuine leather earrings!
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Compatible Machines & Software Based on Materials & Tools:
- Cricut Maker – Allows for a thicker leather.
- Cricut Explore – Leather will need to be thinner than for the Maker.
- Only available while using the Desktop version of Cricut Design Space
I will provide details and links for appropriate leather thickness later.
I highly encourage you to watch my step-by-step video as I go over all the steps including using Cricut Design Studio. I’m here to guide you on a step-by-step crafting journey. You should feel comfortable completing this fun and crafty project.
Step 1: Materials List
Designing real genuine leather earrings takes quite a few products. Once you have the basics in your crafting studio you will be able to make quite a few pairs and use any excess products for future projects. You will also be able to make more leather products such as bookmarks, key rings, patches, and bracelets with a few more tools and attachments..
Find the below products quickly on my Amazon Ideas List.
So, let’s get right into the products you will need for this fun and beautiful genuine leather earring project.
- Cricut Maker Series or Explore Series. Maker’s will be able to create deeper grooves because of the engraving tool.
- Cricut Foil Transfer Tool Kit– You will be using the Medium tip.
- Engraving Tool (Makers Only)
- Standard (green) or Strong (purple) Grip Mat – 12 x 12
- Strong Grip Transfer Tape
- TrueControl Knife
- Self-Healing Mat for Cutting On
- Kitchen Sponge
- Sharp Scissors (I love Fiskars SoftGrip Micro-Tip’s) for cutting out the leather shape.
- Basic Tools: Paper Towels, Ruler, Butcher Paper or Cardboard, Masking Tape, Toothpicks, Cotton Swabs.
- Natural Veg-Tan Tooling Leather
(Maker Max: 5-6oz – 1.9-2.1mm thick)
(Explore Max: 4-5oz / 1.5-2mm thick)
Below are some good choices. Make sure to verify based on your machine’s options.
Maker Only: Muse Craft Flawless 12”X11.5” Vegetable Tanned Leather 5-6oz Precut| Import A Grade Tooling Leather Hide 1.9-2.1mm
Maker & Explore: 4 to 5oz. Real Leather Crafts Natural Veg-Tan Tooling Leather, 8.5″ x 11″
- Leather Stain – I’m using Tandy Leather Eco-Flo Leather Dye.
My colors: Deep Violet & Evening Blue.
Other colors are available include Acorn Brown (pretty natural color) and Scarlet Red.
- Professional Leather Hole Punch Kit
- Wool Daubers
- Earring Hooks
- Leather Topcoat / Tandy Leather Eco-Flo Super Shene – This gives your earrings a more polished look and provides protection.
- Cricut Scraper – Large or Small. The bigger one covers more space quickly.
- Disposable Gloves & Eye Protection
- Tammie Ann Creative Design File #51. In my library.
- Leather Glue & Silicone Brush (Optional) – For if you want to make something 2 sided.
- Leather Edge Beveler (Optional – Makes edges prettier)
Now that we’ve got our supplies ready, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Download My Free Design File
Before you start crafting your genuine leather earrings, you’ll need to prepare your .SVG file. The file serves as the blueprint for your earrings, and you can access them in the Tammie Ann Creative library.
I’ve crafted three sets of beautiful earrings for you. To access the design file, visit my free design library and download design #51. Visit the library.
Once you have downloaded the design file you will need to upload it to your Cricut Design Space.
If you are not sure how to download, open and upload images to Design Space, please watch my above instruction video for this project. I will show you step-by-step in real-time.
Step 3: Design Space Time
You will want to add the design files to a brand-new canvas in Cricut Design Space. Once you have the images on your clean canvas, we can start changing things up, saving your project and then onto the cutting.
First off, select the earring design that most calls out to your personality. If you want to do them all, that’s also an option. But let’s first get you into your first pair of earrings. Once you have made your first pair you will be prepared for future creativity.
- Delete the two designs you won’t be doing.
Now we will be duplicating different layers and applying tools to them.
Choose your earring size by changing the width with the padlock on. I personally like 1.5 inches, but 2 inches also works. Going smaller is not advised (intricate lines) and much bigger might be too big and hit your face too much.
Duplicate the design by clicking the + button (8 times for Explore) (10 times for Maker)
On a Maker set the TOP two designs to Engrave.
Maker & Explore: Change 8 designs to Medium Foil under Operation.
Select everything and Align Center vertically and horizontally. Move the center hearts down a tad if you like.
Now select everything and right click and attach.
Now select everything and duplicate.
Move your second earring over to the side of the first earring. Select both and align to the Top. Making sure that you have a 1/2-inch in-between them.
Now select all the layers and right click and attach.
Make sure to SAVE your project!
At this point your project should look like this with your selected earrings being the showpiece.
Step 4: Material Prep
It’s really important that you prep your material just right.
Using a TrueControl Knife cut out a piece of leather that is at least an inch bigger than your earring cut area on all sides. Use a ruler to get precise measurements and create a straight line. Use a pencil on the back of the leather to mark your spots. Don’t make it more than 8 inches wide.
Cut out a piece of Strong Grip Transfer Paper that is a half inch bigger on each side compared to your leather piece.
Take off the back of the Strong Grip Transfer Paper. Place the see thorough sticky side of the transfer paper up.
Place the rough side of the leather down in the center of the sticky transfer paper.
Smoothly press your leather into the sticky side. Use a “Clean” brayer to help with this process.
Now place your completed piece on the Standard (Green) or Strong (Purple) Grip Mat. You will want to place the left corner at: 1 inch down and 2 inches in. This will help you place you design when it’s cutting time.
- You want to move the “Star Wheels” to the sides. Do not allow them to come near the leather area.
Step 5: Cutting Time
It’s that time where the Cricut is going to do its job. In Cricut Design Studio your cutting file should be ready to go if you followed all the instructions on duplicating. Now it’s time to click that “Make It” button.
Click Make It. You will see a list of operations next to your earrings in the top left section. Makers will see Engrave and Medium Foil. Explore users will only see Medium Foil.
Now it’s time to set the location of your piece of leather.
Move your earrings on the digital mat to 2 inches down and 3 inches in. This will give you some buffer area. This is important as we want your earrings to get cut out fully and not partially. Once you are sure your cuts are in the right zone click continue.
It’s time to choose our material. Since Cricut doesn’t currently have a genuine leather setting fitting our tool selections we need to instead just click “Browse All Materials”. A list of compatible materials will show up. Select “Kraft Board” from the Art Board area and click done.
IMPORTANT: Choose the “More Pressure” option for your pressure option.
Maker Users Only: You will first be using the “Engraving” tool. Load the Engraver into slot B in the Cricut.
Load your mat into the Cricut Maker and click the go button when ready. Once the engraving has finished DO NOT REMOVE THE MAT. Just change out the tool to the next in the lineup.
It’s now time for the “Medium Foil” tool. Load this tool into slot B in the Cricut.
– Maker users press GO.
– Explore users load your mat and then Go.
Once the foil tool has finished you can remove your mat from the machine.
Now it’s time to remove your leather from the strong grip tape and use your sharp scissors to cut around the exterior of your shapes.
Optional: Then using the Edge Beveler, go around the outside of the shape and make the outside look nice. Be careful with this sharp tool.
Next up use the Leather Hole Punch to punch a small hole in the top of each of your earrings.
Take a moment to enjoy your work and put your earrings somewhere safe to dry. Dry them overnight or for a good 10-12 hours.
Step 6: Stain & Shine Time
TAM TIP: Before staining your leather make sure it’s dry. Leave out overnight or for more than 10-12 hours depending on how warm your house is. The leather will get lighter as it dries. It can appear dry after your cut, but it’s probably still wet inside. Give it time to dry and then move onto staining and shining.
It’s now time for some color aka stain. This is my favorite part. I love bursts of color. I feel like this is when the project really comes to life.
Prep Your Area:
Before applying the stain, you need to prep your area so that the stain doesn’t get on anything you don’t intend it to.
Put down a layer of butcher paper or a piece of thick cardboard.
Place a stack of paper towels down on top.
Get out your stain, wool dauber and disposable gloves.
If you’re indoors make sure you have ventilation.
Make sure the stain is close at hand, but not easily tipped over. Place it in a bowl if you feel you might tip it over. That way it tips into the bowl instead of onto your table if something goes wrong.
Applying the Stain:
Once you have your area prepped, glasses and gloves on, you are good to go into the staining process. Make sure to read any safety instructions provided with the products you use.
TAM TIP: Make sure you’re wearing clothing you won’t mind getting stained. This is just in case you get stain in an unintended area.
Bend your leather gently opening up the grooves so that the stain can get inside.
Shake your stain and make sure it’s mixed really good.
Carefully dip your wool dauber into the stain and then brush the front side of your earring. Going back into the stain as needed. You want to get into the grooves and get an even coat all the way across the leather. Use the paper towel, going across and not deep, to clean off any excess stain. Use cotton swabs and a toothpick to get into the grooves if the dauber isn’t getting into them.
Finish off the process by doing the same to the sides and back. Make sure the stain is even.
Once completed put your earring to the side for several hours or overnight. This will let the stain dry and transform your earrings.
Make sure to clean up good. The stain can get on your work area and on your gloves.
Apply the Sealer / Shine:
Once dry then it’s time to apply some leather finish shine. The finish isn’t required as we used an all-in-one stain, but it’s helpful. Since you will be handling these earrings, it’s a good idea to seal them. We want these earrings to last.
Shake the bottle of sealer really good.
Apply a layer on the front, back and sides of your earrings using a slightly damp sponge and working in a circular motion. Allow the first layer to dry and repeat. Once the second layer has dried buff with a soft, clean cloth or sheep wool.
Step 7: Putting It All Together
Now it’s time to make your leather goods into actual earrings. I’ve selected a style of hook called a ball and hook. It’s a simple and elegant design.
You just take your earring and push the earring hook through the hole. Then with your fingers crimp the ball around the earring. Viola, your earrings are ready to be worn.
Step 8: Showcasing Your Handcrafted Earrings
With your genuine leather earrings complete, it’s time to showcase your creativity and style. These handcrafted earrings are a testament to your crafting prowess, and they’re ready to enhance your look or make thoughtful gifts for others.
Crafting your own genuine leather earrings with your Cricut machine is an exhilarating journey that combines passion and precision. The possibilities are endless, and your creations are a reflection of your unique style.
So, there you have it! Crafting with genuine leather is not only satisfying but also allows you to express your individuality through wearable art. I hope this tutorial has inspired you to embark on your own leather crafting adventure. Remember, crafting is all about creativity, and you have the power to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Happy crafting, and let’s keep exploring new horizons in the world of crafting together!
If you completed this project, please share it online and tag me.
Thanks to Kay of CleverSomeday for walking me through how to make my first piece of Cricut tooled genuine leather. From her I learned how to do this type of Cricut embellishment. I then applied what I learned to making my own earrings and other leather crafts. I highly recommend you check out her YouTube channel as she’s a fabulous teacher.