This is a super quick and easy project, perfect for the microwave kiln – with just some murrine and jewelry findings, you can be making professional-looking earrings in less than an hour! These murrine studs make perfect gifts, but I’ve been keeping most of the ones I make because they’re so cute. 😊
I recommend reading our Microwave Kiln Basics post before attempting this project.
The first step is to pick out your murrine. Our murrine come in a range of diameters, so you want to choose a pair that looks like they belong together, as close to the same size and thickness as possible. You can see this size difference with the skulls and bats above. You can also make one or two extras so that if one of them doesn’t turn out perfectly, you have a backup - but in my experience this project has a really low failure rate!
After that, prepare your kiln and arrange your murrine on the kiln base, making sure they don’t touch each other or the edge of the platform.
Then it’s time to fire! Microwave kilns can be variable with the time and power needed, but these murrine studs are really forgiving. The most important thing is to stop and check your murrine frequently, so you know whether they need more time or if it’s time to pull them. This is one of the schedules I used, but take it as a starting point or suggestion - your kiln could take a few minutes more (or less) based on several factors.
Each “+” means I stopped and took the lid off the kiln before continuing to fire.
Full Fuse Murrine Studs:
3 minutes + 1:30 minutes + 1 minute -> let rest for 10 minutes with lid on
Once your murrine are fired and cooled, slide them off the base into a small bowl of vinegar to soak for a little bit. Be careful, glass is hot much longer than it looks hot! If you’re using kiln wash, you should have little to no residue on the bottom of your murrine, and a quick soak will clean off anything that’s hanging around on there. If you have more residue, such as fiber from fiber paper, leave it to soak longer.
After your murrine are clean, all you have to do is assemble the earrings! You’ll need a jewelry adhesive and findings – we use earring posts and backs from Rio Grande and epoxy or E6000 to glue them together. We find using a small dab on both the earring post and the back of the murrine helps join them together best. Use a toothpick or thin applicator nozzle to carefully apply your adhesive and press the two parts together firmly to join. If there’s a small circle of adhesive around the earring post, you know you have the right amount. Any extra can be wiped up when its wet or cut away when its dry.
Once your earrings are fully assembled, they need to dry where the adhesive won’t be disturbed. We have a highly technical, custom built piece of equipment built for this exact purpose (a 2x4 with drill holes), but a piece of Styrofoam with some holes pressed into it works great too.
Let them dry 24-48 hours (or according to your adhesive’s instructions), and then you have an adorable pair of custom earrings for almost no effort. Make them for yourself, for your friends and family, or to sell – nobody will guess they started out in the microwave!
Once you have the basics down, you can play around with this technique a lot! I like fusing murrine together for a cluster of designs, or on top of dots for the murrine that have designs on a clear background.
You can also fire the murrine at a lower temperature (called tack or contour fusing) to leave them less rounded off at the top and keep more of the original shape. Low temp fusing is perfect for our square murrine – check out the difference between full fused and tack fused squares below.
Tack Fuse Murrine Studs:
2 minutes + 1:30 minutes + 45 seconds + 45 seconds -> let rest for 10 minutes with lid on
Thanks for reading my project blog! If you end up making murrine earrings, please send me pictures 😊 I was happy to see how easy these are to make, so I’m really excited to share these tips with you!