This pair of earrings are off to a good start! I started with 18g fine silver sheet (sterling would oxidize too much), and a print out of my earring design. Double sided tape adheres the template to the metal.
Before drilling holes for each cell, I need a pilot to guide the drill bit too the right spot. Drill bits tend to “chatter” a bit on a totally smooth flat surface, so making a tiny divit gives the drill bit point a spot to grip. An automatic center punch (bottom) is great for a lot of situations, but on this small scale it would distort the metal too much. Instead I use a scribe (top) and push down into the metal strongly, with my sheet on a steel surface plate. It will make a small divit without distorting the metal.
After drilling holes for every cell, I cut them out with a jeweler’s saw. The second earring needs to be cut next, and then I’ll clean up the cells. For this type of enameling, it’s best to avoid filing your cell interior edge: the rougher texture the saw leaves behind will give the enamel a better grasp on the metal. I use my saw blade in every cell to file the edges and clean up any slips.
The template for the second pair is set to go now too. Just like the first pair, I’ll drill and cut each cell before cutting out the large shape.