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Fabricating your own eyeglass frames

Recently, Jo Haemer posted that she has made her own frames for
eyeglasses. Having just experienced sticker shock for mediocre
quality frames, I’m very interested in learning how to make my own.
Seriously, if I’m going to put a crazy amount of money into empty
frames, then I want them to be a work of art that I created in my
own studio!

Any advice to help me on this new undertaking will be gratefully
appreciated. Is this an incredibly complicated thing to build? I’m
open to hear about the pros and cons. And please, don’t be shy about
posting photos of your eye jewelry!

Thanks and Blessings,
Michelle Bernard

Hi Michelle,

Talk to Brian Adam, down in New Zealand. He does handmade
eyeglasses, and I know he’s done workshops on ‘how to’.

Website here:


Michelle- Deb Stoner is teaching a workshop on Eyeglass making at
Oregon College of Arts And Crafts later this spring. Deb is a
wonderful teacher a fine artist and has some really fun glasses she’s
made over the years. Deb took classes in Optometry at a local
community college. She’s had some great advice for me. Thanks Deb.

There is a facebook page called Eyeglasses for Jewellers and other
Metalsmiths as well.

I just finished making myself a pair out of Continuum silver and
sapphires. I first made a prototype out of copper. Then I took them
to the lens grinder and he corrected some of my errors and I then
made the final pair. They are still at the lens grinders and I should
have them back this next week. I’ll post photos when I get them back.

I am an experienced and precise goldsmith and it took me probably
4-5 6 hour days to make mine. I’d probably charge a customer at least
$3000- $5000 wholesale to make another pair like mine.

My sweetie Tim made his glases out of 18 kt gold and mokume about
ten years ago. They are really great looking. He did it old school,
alloying the metal, pouring the ingot, making the bar stock, wire,
tubing, and hand cut screws etc. However he did it backwards. He took
the lens out of his commercial glasses and like making a piece of
jewelry for a pair of stones fit the bezels to the lens. He found out
later that the lens are cut to fit the frames.

The trick is precision. You can go crazy on the frames, but the lens
holding parts have to be perfectly symmetrical. The other trick is
finding a lens grinder who will take them on. Most lens places are
all computerized to make lens that are a pre programmed shape. That’s
why so many contemporary glasses all look the same. Narrow
rectangles. You gotta find some one who is old school, interested in
artsy fartsy stuff and willing to take the time to do them to your

Your best bet is to copy the anatomy from an existing pair of

I hope I didn’t scare you off. It has be a really fun project and I
can’t wait to start wearing them. After all they are jewelry for your

Have fun and make lots of jewelry

Jo Haemer

1 Like


Try a search in the Orchid archives, as this has been discussed
before, with many interesting comments.

Also, there exists a discussion group for people interested in
making eyeglasses (and Jo Haemer is a member):

Eyeglasses by Jewellers and other Metalsmiths

One good reason to join facebook is to discuss jewellery-related
things with your peers. But it’s not a really a place to baldly ask
for free advice for starting up - it’s a place to share your efforts
at making a frame, so if you post and explain your goals and upload
images (it’s a closed group) then ask advice on the particular point
you’re at, you may inspire useful replies.

You will also find announcements of any eyeglass-making classes
tutored by members. The latest announcement is this one:

Deb Stoner:

I’m teaching two workshops on making eyewear this summer. The first
is a 5 day class at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland,
Oregon, June 26-30, 2013. They’re taking registrations now. Details
here: the top of a page talking about a casting class, keep going
down till you see “Making a Spectacle”

Then July 19-21, 2013, I’m presenting a lecture on my work at a
conference hosted by the Colorado Metalsmithing Association (CoMA).
After the conference, I’ll teach a hands on workshop for another
three days. It’s all happening in Salida, CO, and I so look forward
to it. Last fall I taught for the CoMA group, and they were
incredibly interesting people, very skilled, highly motivated.
Details coming, here’s a start:

Brian Adam (group founder)

Michelle, how cool would that be! I, too, would be interested in this
concept. I have an antique pair of frames with a pre-bifocal
prescription of mine lens in them. I need to take them in to have
them upgraded to bifocals, but haven’t gotten to that just yet. I use
them for historical re-enacting. I can still use them for distance,
but can’t see worth a ---- with them for reading, or “shopping”. I
had recently thought of fabricating my own frames when I saw an
"eyeglass setting" for a pendant. Then I could make them a little
larger, and hopefully, more comfortable. Hadn’t really thought of
using them as my “modern” glasses, but no reason I couldn’t, I

Linda in central FL

Thank you for your reply to my request for help with eyeglass
frames. I love that when I was stuck, you, and Orchid came through
to help me! I did check out Brian Adam; as well as Deb Stoner who is
a lot closer than New Zealand (though I’d love an excuse to make
that trip!), and is teaching frame making in Oregon, and Colorado
this year. Thanks for your help, I’ll try to pay it forward, as I
see you do often, on Orchid.

Blessings, Michelle

How did you get on making an eyeglass frame, Michelle?
That was years ago of course, you may have made several by now!

Accuracy is certainly important, as is symetry, so I devised a few tricks to deal with these. It’s not rocket science but it helps if you think sideways occasionally.

I hope you have made a start.

Auckland New Zealand