Tape is the most useful household item for gauging ears without specialized tapers and plugs. This technique is called tape wrapping, and it involves wrapping one or two layers of tape around existing ear jewelry to increase its girth and gradually stretch the surrounding skin. OneTribe recommends using Teflon tape, as it does not contain the harsh chemicals found in duct tape and electrical tape.
Patience is crucial to successful tape wrapping. The procedure is safe on fully-healed piercing holes that are at least six months old. Add one or two layers of tape once or twice a week until reaching the desired target gauge. Proper tape wrapping is not painful. Discomfort is an important indication that the holes are being stretched too quickly and should remain at the previous gauge for several more days.
Another method of home gauging, dead stretching, involves forcing larger jewelry into the piercing. Dead stretching is only appropriate for fully healed, healthy piercings. Like tape wrapping, dead stretching is an incremental process involving jewelry only slightly larger than the current piercing. OneTribe explains that many gauging enthusiasts use natural lubricants to help insert the larger jewelry. According to Body Jewelry Source, the best time to insert the new jewelry is after a hot shower, when skin is extremely supple.