How to Use Shell Casings to Make Jewelry

by Neal Litherland

It's sometimes difficult for men to find proper, masculine accessories. Sometimes it's necessary to take fashion into your own hands and create something that makes a statement. One option for doing that is to make jewelry out of expended shell casings, both for the obvious connotations that they offer, and for the attractiveness that brass or nickel has as part of an accessory.

Items you will need

  • Shell casings
  • Drill
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • File
  • Wire and pliers (optional)
  • Chain or earring hook
  • Metal sandpaper
  • Polish (optional)
Step 1

Acquire your shell casings. If you don't own a firearm, local gun ranges often collect shell casings, as do scrap yards. Find some in the appropriate caliber. Larger calibers like .357 and .44 Magnum are not only easier to work with, but provide a powerful statement.

Step 2

Clean off any gunpowder residue from the shell casings, and rinse them well. Decide what sort of jewelry you want to make out of this casing, whether it's a necklace, an earring or something else.

Step 3

Drill an appropriate hole through the shell casing. Drilling two holes through the sides of the casing is possible, but difficult and dangerous, given that it's a cylinder. It's easier and safer to drill straight through the back of the shell. Use gloves and eye protection when drilling the holes.

Step 4

File off any twisted pieces of metal. If you drilled two holes through the sides of the shell, run a necklace chain through the holes. If you drilled a hole through the back of the casing, run a piece of wire through the hole and knot one end so it won't pass through the hole. Using one hole and wire is the best way to turn your shell casing into an earring.

Step 5

Use metal sandpaper to smooth any rough edges, and use a metal polish, if you want, to bring out the shine. Clean any unwanted powder you may have missed.


  • Take proper precautions when working with tools. Hand and eye protection is key.

About the Author

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.