Thursday, October 11, 2012

How To Turn Clip Earrings Into Post Earrings

If you're like me, and you think the old-school style clip-on earrings are a torture device right up there with the Iron Maiden and the Rack, then you might like this post. It's very easy to change clip-on earrings to posts, and I'll show you how!!

First, gather your supplies.

You'll need some rubbing alcohol and cotton balls, a pair of wire cutters, some craft glue that says it's for gluing metal (easy to find at Michael's or similar craft store), some post earring backs with a flat surface for attaching things (find at a bead store or the aforementioned Michael's) and your clip-on earrings. I also have a paper clip, bent open,  and some of those things that go on the back of your post earrings to give them more support. These are optional.

Here are my earrings:

I LOVE GLITTER
 They are late 50's or early 60's, with multicolored glitter pieces encased in Lucite. I got them at a flea market for 10 bucks :-)

Here's what the backs look like:


The next thing you'll do is cut off the whole "clip" mechanism, right where it attaches to the back of the earring. Use your wire cutters for this. Depending on the age & type of metal, sometimes it cuts like butter and other times you need to put some serious muscle into it. The ones above were tough! I had to have my Hubby do it :-) Your goal is a perfectly flat surface upon which to glue your new post backs.





Once you've cut off the clippy thing, hopefully you'll be left with a back that's nice & smooth, like the ones above. If you're left with a little ragged bit of metal, try to clip it off as close as possible to the back of the earrings, and if necessary you can smooth any rough edges with a nail file.

Next, you want to clean the backs of the earrings with rubbing alcohol to create a good surface for the glue to stick to.



Once the alcohol has dried (which just takes a couple seconds) get ready to glue. The glue I'm using is called "Industrial Strength E6000" and it came in a little set with three other different types of craft glue.



To make the tightest bond, you'll want to put a bit of glue on the flat part of the new post attachments, and a bit on the earring back itself. I use a paper clip for this. Then join the two together and hold it tight for a minute so it sets.


You can see in the pic above that I didn't glue my backs on dead-center, but instead more towards one side. This was actually a bit of an experiment, to make the earrings hang a bit lower on my ears. I didn't love the results, so I recommend that you glue them right smack in the middle. Whatever you do, just make sure you do both earrings the same!

Read the instructions for your particular brand of glue to see how long the glue needs to dry thoroughly. I usually let mine dry overnight.

Voila!  Non-torturing earrings!!





Just a tip:  this works best on lightweight, or fairly lightweight earrings. If they're really heavy they'll hang down at a funny angle.
I have not yet tried this technique on any screw-back earrings, but I don't know why it couldn't work just as well...I'll update when I try it out!

15 comments:

  1. Aww... I hate it when people do this. I don't have pierced ears, so it's almost impossible for me to find wearable earrings, and usually I can at least count on vintage to be safe! I suppose for the pierced-ear sort it makes sense, but it still always makes me a little sad inside.

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  2. Oh Frances, I certainly didn't mean to make you sad inside! I'm just trying to show those of us who have pierced ears (the vast majority, I'd imagine) how to be able to comfortably *wear* the earrings that Grandma left us, instead of just admiring them as they sit, unworn, in the jewelry box! Trust me...even if all five of the people who read my blog start converting earrings like mad, there will still be tons of clips around for you to enjoy!!

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    1. It's a bit trickier, but you can adjust clip earrings from "death grip" to "firm grasp" with a pair of jewelry pliers... which doesn't alter their original construction so much.

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    2. Frances,
      Unfortunately, those of us who have short lobes can't wear clips without fear of them coming off. I have bunches and bunches of vintage clip-ons that I inherited from my mom but can't wear cause they're all clips. The quicker I can get them converted to pierced, the quicker I'll be able to wear them.

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  3. I need to do this. I despise clips!! I can handle screw backs because I can adjust them, but clips kill me!

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  4. I couldn't do this to my vintage :( I always suffer thru my poor pained earlobes just so I don't wreck anything that has survived for 70 years without me interfering with it. I cant even alter a piece of clothing to fit me properly!

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  5. Great idea, thanks for sharing.

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  6. HI Dina, I would like to make some of my vintage not just pierced, but to DANGLE!!! What type of little metal gadget to look for that situation? Thanks, you are definitely an artist!!!

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  7. FYI for readers wanting clip earrings: you can always check on ebay, if there aren't any retail stores selling clip earrings in your area. Many people inherit clip earrings and don't want to take the time to alter them. Also check Goodwill or other thrift stores.

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    1. I stopped reading when you said you "had to have [your] hubby" take the backs off (smiley face). Not having a "hubby" I guess I will look elsewhere for a girl who can actually do it for herself. I don't know what a girl who has difficulty with the hard part of this job is supposed to do at that point. Go out and get a "hubby" I guess.

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    2. IF you use actual wire cutters it should be easy, but when you have jewelry wire cutters, they aren't as strong or sharp - that's when you need the extra help. You can also use a dremel with a cutting tool - and a sanding bit too to finish it.

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  9. Wow! Thank you! My Aunt gave me a ton of beautiful clip earrings. You're a gem. Not surprised you have a "Hubby" ;) Upbeat and helpful. Wonderful qualities.

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  10. Great way of converting. I can now do so with the beautiful earrings left to me by my mum.

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