How To Pierce Metal For Jewelry Making


Metal piercing is the process of cutting designs, shapes and holes into metal components that are used to create jewelry pieces. It is an essential skill needed in the art of jewelry making as it enables the creation of intricate designs and shapes for different types of jewelry. Additionally, metal piercing is important for creating secure connections between components in pieces like chains, lockets and necklaces. It also allows jewelers to combine different elements together such as gemstones and clasps to make beautiful and unique jewelry designs. The craftsmanship of metal piercing requires time and patience, but with proper instruction, anyone can learn how to create beautiful pieces.

Gathering Materials

Before you begin the piercing process, it is essential that you gather the necessary materials and equipment. Depending on what type of metal you will be working with, you may need to invest in some special tools and materials such as files, punches for sheet metal, sheet metal cutters, sandpaper or abrasive strips, a hammer, a bench pin and an anvil or vice. You should also consider purchasing earring converters if needed depending on the type of jewellery making endeavour you are undertaking. Low cost light-duty jewellery hand tools are not suitable for piercing metals unless one uses them with extreme caution due to their delicate nature. A heavier hammer can obtain adequate results but make sure it is specifically designed for piercing/cold forming applications.

To ensure your safety when working with metal it is paramount that protective eyewear and gloves are worn at all times during the piercing process. You should also consider using a protective face shield along with any other protective gear which may be applicable in order to protect yourself from potential splatter or debris resulting from the hammering process

Preparation and Safety

Before piercing metal for jewelry making, it is important to firstly take the time to prepare and ensure any safety precautions are taken and hazards are known. Piercing metal can be a hazardous activity if not done correctly. Therefore, it’s important to take necessary safety precautions when engaging in this task. It is best when piercing metal for jewelry making to wear protective clothing such as safety glasses, gloves, and possibly a face mask in order to protect from the sparks produced. Additionally, it’s important to work in a well ventilated area or wear a respirator – particularly with metals that create hazardous fumes upon impact such as silver or copper. Make sure there are no combustible or flammable products near materials being pierced (like solvents) and that the tools used our sharp, properly secure and held firmly while using them. Finally, keep hands away from the area of impact during piercing so as not to burn fingers on metal shards and sparks. By following these safety precautions you can effectively pierce metal for jewelry making more safely and efficiently.

Mark Out the Design and Secure the Metal

When piercing metal for jewelry making, the first step is to mark out your desired design. For basic outlines and designs, this can be done directly on the metal with a felt-tip pen or permanent marker. However, printable templates are also an excellent and accurate way of transferring complex designs onto the metal. The template should be taped firmly onto the metal before tracing around it. Alternatively, you could draw it freehand if you’re confident in your abilities!

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Once your design is marked out, it’s important to securely attach the metal to a workbench or sturdy surface so that your hands are free for the piercing process. Anvils with clamp fixtures are perfect for those looking for an adjustable gripping force without squashing delicate projects. You could also make use of other clamps and strong adhesive tapes backed by additional support materials like waxed cardstock or even paper towel strips. Finally, if using bench pins during this stage, ensure that they remain as close to tabletop level as possible so that working distances are kept to a minimum whilst allowing full visibility of the project at all times. This will help to keep tools firmly in place when hammering and helps prevent unwanted movement caused by vibrations from impacts generated during piercing processes.


Piercing is an essential skill in the craft of jewelry making. It involves cutting away portions of metal to create a precise opening or pattern in the surface. With some practice, almost any shape imaginable can be created through this technique. Here are some tips for successful piercing:

1. Choose the right tools for the job- Piercing requires special cutting tools that vary depending on the kind of material being pierced. Most types of metals can be pierced with purpose-made drill bits and saw blades; however, other materials may need different tools such as those made for engraving or etching.

2. Drill slowly- Carefully adjust the speed on your tool to ensure that it doesn’t work too quickly which could result in nicks or scratches in the design. Once you’ve mastered your desired speed, keep consistent pressure and gradually progress as your drill passes aware portions of the metal.

3. Clean up afterwards- After piercing, make sure to clean up any filings created by drilling to remove sharp edges and increase safety when handling jewelry pieces with bare hands. A small but stiff brush dipped vinegar is helpful for this purpose.

4. Troubleshoot common issues- If your piece becomes stuck while drilling, applying manual pressure can often help unjam it, but apply extra care when doing so to prevent damage to yourself or the metal piece itself! If excess heat builds up while piercing due to friction, take appropriate precautions such as wearing protective gloves, goggles, and/or a facemask to avoid burns or eye injuries from sparks caused by sparks flying from the bit head.


Once you have completed the piercing process, there are a number of finishing options available to you in order to create beautiful jewelry pieces. The most popular method is adding polish to the piece, which can be achieved with a polishing compound or a buffing wheel. This will give your jewelry a shine that lasts for a long time. Additionally, applying sealants such as patina or wax can also make your finished product look attractive and even more durable. For artists looking to incorporate different colors into their work, there are colorizing techniques such as electroplating and chemical treatments that can add color variations to the metal. For example, if you wanted to create a blue or yellow tint on copper or silver jewelry, this could be easily done with one or both of these methods. Finally, texturing is another great way to give your finished pieces dimensionality and personality by using various tools like hammers and chisels. All these options will help ensure that your jewelry is aesthetically appealing and able to hold up without corroding over time.

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Creating Creative Designs

One creative pierce tool technique is called “chainmailing” which can be used to create intricate designs in metal. This technique involves placing several small holes relatively close together, creating a pattern of interlaced circles or squares. To achieve this effect, the artist first marks out their pattern on the metal sheet with a center punch before puncturing through it with the pierce tool. This is repeated until a grid of evenly spaced holes is created.

Another creative tool technique is called ‘chasing’. This involves using the pierce tool in combination with chasing tools to carve specific relief patterns into the metal surface. The artist might use chased lines to add texture or form complex organic shapes along ridges that have been punched or stamped out of the sheet prior to chasing. They might also outline certain shapes for further contrast and texture as well as rub and polish any raised surfaces for further detail and contrast in color depending on the type of metal being used. The unique results achievable with chasing make it an invaluable tool for jewelry makers when creating intricate pieces incorporating multiple elements and layers into one design.


To summarize, piercing metal for jewelry making is a relatively simple yet rewarding process. The project begins by constructing the shape of the desired piece of jewelry with a pattern or a paper template. After preparing the design, cutting begins using the appropriate tools such as saw blades and files. Once details are cut away, holes can be pierced into the metal with pliers and shears. At this point, additional details may be added with stamping, filing and drilling. Finally, the finished jewel can be polished to give it that extra sparkle. To extend learning beyond this article, books from emerging jewellery-makers can be consulted for further instruction, as well as DVD tutorials found at local craft stores or online retailers. With time and patience, any budding jewellery-maker can learn how to pierce metal to make gorgeous pieces of wearable art!

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