How to Upcycle Vintage Clip-on Earrings Into Wearable Pieces

Sew Much 2 Wear
by Sew Much 2 Wear
4 Materials
5 Minutes

My grandmother loved her jewelry. She collected a large number of costume pieces from brands like Avon over the years and loved styling her outfits with a set of earrings and necklace.

My parents kept her collection safe after she passed away. When they gave me the opportunity to select some pieces it was overwhelming because I wanted to wear them, but wasn't sure how.

All of her earrings were clip-on, which give me a massive headache and uncomfortably tug at my ears.

However, it turned out I had all I needed to make these pieces wearable again in my home. This tutorial will explain the easy, less than 5-minute process to transform clip-on earrings into pierced earrings with pieces you already own but don't wear.

This opens a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to wearing vintage jewelry.

The earrings I'm transforming today were created by Avon.

The company started creating earrings in the 1970s, which means these wonderful pieces are likely 30 to 50 years old.

While it does scare me to lose these unreplaceable earrings, I know my grandma would be happy to see them being worn again.

Swapping out the clip-on structures is actually very easy if you have a pair of needle-nose pliers. You can even find an easy-to-handle set that was created specifically for jewelry making.

I simply used the jewelry pliers to straighten the curve of the loop slightly so that the main earring dangle could slide right off. Then, all that remained was the main earring pendant with nothing to attach it to the ear.

Now you could totally just purchase earring parts from Amazon if you don't happen to horde broken and mismatched earrings as I do.

But in my case, I had a box full of old jewelry that wasn't serving a purpose. I picked out these random large green and gold earrings because they had a similar loop to the one I just removed with clip-on backing.

I used my jewelry pliers to remove the earring post from the unwanted earrings.

That left me with a pierced earring loop.

I threaded the Avon pendant through the pierced earring loop. Then I used my jewelry pliers to cramp down on the loop to reclose it and make sure the actual earring pendant wasn't going anywhere.

I also added some earring backings from other unwanted jewerly in my stash.

And that's it! The earrings are ready to be worn in my pierced ears, and clip-on problems are solved.

Not only is it fun to accessorize with a vintage piece that you know you are very unlikely to see anywhere else, but it's also fun to keep a part of my Grandma with me in my outfits. I'm sure she would be happy to know her old earrings have found a new life and are seeing the light of day again.

Have you ever modified vintage jewelry with this technique? Let me know what your favorite projects have been.

Let me know if you try this project, and don't forget to connect with me on Instagram and Youtube to see what I'm going to be working on next!

If you'd like to see more easy refashioning ideas, please visit my YouTube channel,   Sew Much 2 Wear.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Suggested materials:
  • Vintage clip-on earrings
  • Jewelry pliers
  • Earring hook
See all materials

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Sew Much 2 Wear
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2 of 13 comments
  • Ramona Ramona on Jun 03, 2022

    I have done this. Received some beautiful clip ons from a friend. Cut of the clip part and glued on posts to the back. Used super glue and bought the back at Walmart.

  • Jhc12494058 Jhc12494058 on Jun 04, 2022

    Back in the 1960s my sister and I would buy a pair of ( dangle or chandelier) earrings, detach them from the ear wires or posts and use them as individual pendants on a necklace for each of us.