Ears are a conspicuous addition to your drum. You use them every time you use your drum (hopefully) and their care is almost as important as any other component. Ears generally consist of a piece of folded leather pierced with two holes and laced with leather strapping. The leather strap is tied under the ear and effectively holds the shape of the ear. Ears are usually rectangular leather about 1/4″ thick cut so the ends are rounded over. The holes are punched using either a 1/8″ drill bit or a leather punch. The leather strapping is often a leather shoe lace. If you find an ear needing new leather (as the ears themselves are almost indestructible) simply turn the ear so it stands perpendicular to the barrel and cut the old leather free. Take the new strap and feed both ends at the same time through the ear from the face to the back. The face is the half of the strap that faces the world and the back faces the barrel. Take the length of strap and pull it tight, taking each end and wrapping them around the outside and feeding them back through the original two holes. Simply tie together the two resulting ends and cut to length.
Many ears feature a decorative pattern. This is amazingly easy to accomplish. You can purchase leather tools at your favorite leather supply company. Some of the tools used to emboss or tool leather include: a swivel knife, venier, beveller, pear shader, seeder, cams, backgrounder, dies and tap hammers. The swivel knife is held in the hand like a pencil and dragged along the leather to outline patterns. The other tools are punch-like instruments which are struck with a maul or mallet to further add definition to the lines.