How to Use Weights to Gauge Ears

Stretching a piercing to wear larger jewelry is sometimes incorrectly called "gauging." The word "gauge" actually refers to the size of the jewelry, with smaller numbers being larger gauges. The tiny holes most people get when their ears are first pierced are an 18 or 20 gauge, but lobes can be stretched over time to several inches in diameter. One way of stretching an ear piercing is to hang a weighted piece of jewelry from the lobe.

A bearded man with newly gauged ears. (Image: MackoFlower/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Stretch a new piercing slowly with the assistance of your piercer until you reach approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. Stretchings up to this size are done with surgical steel tapers. Allow your 1/2-inch piercing to heal completely.

Step 2

Hang the weighted jewelry from your healed piercing and wear the weights for a day.

Step 3

Wrap your most recent pair of glass or surgical steel plugs with one revolution of Teflon tape. If you find your ears have stretched enough to wrap more than once, keep adding one wrap at a time and reinserting the plugs until they're tight.

Step 4

Wear your plugs for several days until you can slide them in and out easily.

Step 5

Take out your plugs and put your weights back in. Repeat steps 1 through 4 until your lobes are the size you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Ear weights

  • Glass or surgical steel plugs

  • Teflon tape


Never wear weights in piercings that are not fully healed, and never rely on weights alone for stretching. Alternating between weights and plugs ensures your piercings stretch evenly, rather than just at the bottom. Wearing weights exclusively can cause the tissue at the bottom of your ear to become too thin.

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