Out of all the projects I’ve ever created, I really think these DIY wine cork earrings are my favorite. I know that puts a lot of pressure on this project. How could wine cork earrings be so special? Let’s look at it this way: A lot of wine cork crafts are a tad…heavy on the wine innuendo. You totally know what I’m talking about, right? It’s not that there’s anything wrong with wine cork coasters or wine cork boards, it’s just that I really wanted to create a project that deconstructed the wine cork a tad. Cork is cork, but I didn’t want to make wine-themed earrings. I wanted wine corks upcycled in a sophisticated way.
Full disclosure, I stumbled upon turning these cut wine corks into earrings as I was attempting and failing to make a wine cork trivet. The wine cork is a peculiar creature, the outside often printed, the ends dyed with wine, and the insides not as attractive as the outside. The wine cork comes shaped like a bullet. No one can seem to cut into them. They pose so much potential but fall short of functionality.
So I was cutting and cutting, unsatisfied by how I couldn’t see them get half-circles that aligned enough to make a trivet, when I started to see the little half-circles as half-moons. Half-moons make me think of lunar phases, wall art, jewelry, and finally earrings. Cork earrings. DIY wine cork earrings, a project is born.
At first, I just made the half-moon earrings and felt pretty chic. Then I thought, could I layer the corks? Can I get even more advanced? That’s when the dangly earring with the copper-wire was born. I love the rosy touch the copper-wire brings to these.
I also discovered that the bottom of the corks once exposed to the wine offered a variety of very pretty purple, mauve, and pink shades. Rose offered the lightest pink while red wine brought out the deepest purple. Don’t be afraid to use that purple side to bring some color to your earrings.
These DIY wine cork earrings are so easy to make you can bang out probably ten pairs in less than an hour and gift them to your nearest and dearest as holiday gifts.
Warning: don’t wear these with wet hair, especially if you use copper wire in them. The copper will turn green faster and the excess moisture could cause the cork to do weird things.
Cutting Wine Corks
I tested a few wine cork cutting methods and here’s what I decided: boiling does make them a little easier to cut, but not by much. In the end, I discovered that a sharp serrated kitchen knife cut an unboiled cork just as easily as a boiled one. That said, if you’re paranoid and want a full-proof method for cutting into your cork without problems, boil them for ten minutes first. Once boiled, you can cut the ends off without breakage or splintering. But again, maybe I’m made of muscle (unlikely) but I didn’t have trouble with sawing into unboiled corks.
Painting Wine Corks
You can see from the pictures that I kept my wine corks unpainted, but if you want to paint the printed edges, or just add some pop to your earrings, try painting them with an absorbent ink like India ink or watercolors. You could also paint the edges with gold leaf, how pretty would that be?
DIY Wine Cork Earrings
- Variety of wine corks
- Serrated kitchen knife
- Earring posts + backs
- Glue (I used E-6000 which is super toxic, but you could probably use a glue gun)
- Copper wire (optional for making longer earrings)
- Needle nose Pliers (optional for making longer earrings)
- Strong scissors for cutting through copper wire.
1. Cut the ends of your corks off at 1/4 inch. If you just want to make one pair of half-moon earrings, you just need one cork. Cut your cork end in half down the middle.
2. If you just want little half-moon earrings, you can glue your posts to the back of your earrings, close to the top, let dry, and then you’re done. Continue on if you want to make longer earrings with copper wire.
3. Cut 4 small pieces of copper wire, about 1/2 inch in length.
4. Use your pliers to curl one end of each wire piece into a hook.
5. Push your copper wire ends into the middle edge of each cork piece. This was a little tricky and you want to make sure you don’t break through the front of your cork. Pull out and dab a small amount of glue to each of the wire ends, and stuff back into the hole you just made. Make sure the wire in the cork pieces for the top of your jewelry face hooks open front, and the wire in the bottom cork pieces face hooks toward the back. Let dry.
6. Attach your pieces at the wire hooks. Glue on earring posts. Let dry.
Wear your earrings! And remember, make on gift one for good karma.
What to do with the rest of your cork pieces?
Well, you could trim them in half and make a cork trivet, cork board, or coasters. Not your style? I’ll try to come up with some more cork projects, in the meantime, wine corks are compostable so compost them!