How to Make Origami Earrings in Three Pretty Styles

Sometimes even the smallest paper craft project transports me to a stress-free zone for an hour or two, and so I spent the past couple of rainy, socially distanced days making origami earrings. After looking at lots of YouTube videos, I chose my favorites for folding three types of pretty paper earrings, and am sharing them here so you can enjoy making some for yourself or to give as little gifts.

three pairs of colorful, square origami earrings

The two pinwheel styles are quite easy, and the third, a cube-like pair, is actually what prompted my interest in trying this earring-making venture in the first place. More about that in a moment.... let's start with my best tips on successful earring making:

Paper Choices: Use the thinnest paper you have on hand. The blue and pink earrings were a joy to fold because the paper is nearly as light as tissue paper and creases easily, not to mention the earrings I made with them are essentially weightless. The lavender pair was made with two-sided origami paper... it worked well, but the folding was a little harder on my hands.

collage pack of decorative patterned papers with store business card

The blue and pink papers are available from Mulberry Paper Design and More (I recommend their inexpensive Collage Pack as a way to try a variety of decorative papers) and the jazzy leopard print pair are an origami paper included in Klutz Fashion Origami, a wonderful book/kit for older kids that just might launch a lifetime hobby.

patterned origami papers on table with folded paper components in progress


Glues and Fixatives: My modus operandi when it comes to paper earrings is that I generally don't apply a fixative... mainly because earrings usually stay out of harm's way when you wear them, but also because I like the look of natural paper rather than a plastic-like shine. If you prefer to apply a water-resistant coating, test it on paper scraps rather than a completed earring. Liquitex Matte Varnish is my usual go-to, but I found it flattened and darkened the blue and pink papers drastically. To give the squares more durability, and also so they wouldn't unfold, I glued just the corners with my usual clear gel adhesive, applying it with the tip of a paper piercing tool or wooden cuticle stick. These tools can be used as a bone folder to sharpen the creases too.

three pairs of origami paper earrings with tools to make them

Tools:
paper piercing tool
wooden cuticle stick
long-handle tweezers
sewing needle
ball head pin
metal jump rings
metal earring wires
pair of jewelry pliers
[plastic lid]

The blue pinwheel earrings, created via the video below by Origami Tutorials, are the easiest of the three styles. I started with a 2.25-inch square; the result is an earring that is slightly larger than 1 square inch.



The pink pinwheel earrings via Paper Kawaii are also quite easy. They have a nice bit of thickness and thus weigh a little more, but I would still consider them very lightweight. I started with a 3-inch square and the result is a 3/4-inch square earring.


And now, a little story about the lavender leopard print pair...

I received an email from a reader who asked if I knew how to make the OKU Origami Earrings (shown below) that I had included in a 2014 post about paper jewelry artists. The Etsy shop, Paper in the Pocket owned by Txe in Spain, was now closed. After an exhaustive search, I was unable to find Txe or a how-to for this particular origami design, which led to my asking via the All Things Paper newsletter if anyone knew how to make them.

folded paper cube-shape earrings displayed on arm of wooden figure
photo: Paper in the Pocket Etsy shop

Sally Hughes of Made by Matthis replied to say she might have the answer as they resembled divider inserts she makes to fit inside origami boxes, albeit her boxes are on a much larger scale. Glue two inserts back-to-back and I think you'll have an earring, she said... it worked! Sally also told me she has a neglected blog that she'd been thinking of resurrecting so she would write a post, create a pdf helpsheet, and best of all, film a video of the actual making.

square folded paper box top and bottom with paper dividers creating four sections

[ASIDE:  It's such a small world... Sally lives in Hebden Bridge, an arty town in England. I knew of it via Hannah Nunn, a paper artist whose work has been featured a number of times on this blog - perhaps you remember Radiance Lighting; she also wrote a beautiful book about paper lighting called Illuminate), and Chrissie King, a millinery shop owner whose paper-themed Queen's Diamond Jubilee window display was featured. All three women live in Hebden Bridge... a someday visit is on my bucket list!]

Sally's earring tutorial isn't 100% ready for prime time as the video stalls for a couple of minutes at the 7:30 mark, however, it is still very much worth watching. I found that by pausing the fast forward earring-making portion at the end, I was able to figure out the essential waterbomb base that takes place during the stalled bit. The lavender print cube earrings were the result of my efforts for which I used two 1.5-inch squares to make each cube with a finished measurement of about 1/2-inch... I think they look like cute little stars.

EDIT: Thanks to Karen Krieger who wrote to let us know that Masu Box Divider is the name of the origami for the third earring, so until Sally gets a chance to redo her video you can see the process via this one by Paper Kawaii... the waterbomb base is shown at the 3:30 mark.


three pairs of origami earrings on handmade paper background

If you have quick dry glue on hand, I recommend using it for this particular design. I don't have that kind, but found that if I placed the folded and glued segments on a plastic lid with a bit of extra glue dabbed on the segment bottom, I could press them into position and they stayed in place until dry. I then popped them off the plastic lid and glued the two halves together to create a cube.

folded paper earring components glued and drying on plastic lid alongside jewelry pliers and silver earring findings

For all three earring styles, I used a sharp pin to pierce a hole for the jump ring. Once that tiny hole was made, I expanded it with a slightly thicker sewing needle, slipped an opened jump ring through the hole, slipped on an earring wire, and closed the jump ring with two pairs of jewelry pliers via a twisting motion.

I hope you'll give origami jewelry making a try and that you'll enjoy it as much as I am! Hearty thanks to Sally, Origami Tutorials, and Paper Kawaii, and check back to see the segments above as completed earrings.

origami cube earrings made in two sizes for comparison, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch

And here they are. It's so interesting that the larger pair, made with 2.25-inch squares, looks much bigger at 3/4-inch than the little 1/2-inch guys that were made with 1.5-inch squares. (And believe it or not, posing them for their beauty shot was a whole lot harder than doing the origami, ha!)


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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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Comments

  1. I have a small stash of origami papers, and I think I'll be digging them out soon. Earrings would be so fun to make! And, if I started with a slightly larger square, I could make a pendant, as well. Thanks for linking to the tutorials!

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