Sunday, March 6, 2016

upcycling everything into jewelry

Yesterday I visited my parents' house. Not only is their home one of my favorite places in the world, it is also a sort of museum of all the things that I have made over the last two decades. Many of the things that I've made over the years are still there ( luckily, my mum is bad at throwing stuff away). One of the things that caught my attention this weekend was my collection of handmade jewelry with upcycled materials, so I figured that I might share some of them with you.

I have always loved making jewelry. Heck, I even sold them to a few shops in the neighborhood.

However, I remember very few times that I actually bought beads. Beads are expensive. And to be perfectly honest with you, I think it's ridiculous to spend over € 20 euro's on beads to make a necklace that you probably could have bought retail for half of that price. So, I used other methods to make my jewelry:

1) by deconstructing old or thrifted jewelry
2) by upcycling other materials into jewelry.

The second method is by far my favorite. It asks you to look different at materials.
The great thing about jewelry is that you can practically make them out of anything.  Last weekend, I photographed some of those projects. The photo's that are showed here are only the tip of the iceberg (I got bored with taking pictures and there also happened to be tea),  but they might give you some inspiration. I hope you enjoy them!

These pendant earrings are made with old pearl shell buttons. Whenever I'm refashioning, I always save all buttons, zippers etc. Sometimes they come in handy in other refashioning projects, and sometimes they come in handy as something new, such as earrings!

or bracelets...

These are made from old teaspoons, one of my favorite techniques. The great thing about using things as teaspoons ( or other kitchen-ware alike) is that you can use high-quality materials such as metal and even silver to make jewelry, without the difficult techniques or equipment.

This one is made from the pendants of an old chandelier. I once bought the chandelier secondhand for around 25 euros, and it had around 40 of these pendants, all from real crystal. They are a little heavy, but whenever I wear them, people always ask if they are some sort of family-jewels :)

This necklace was made from several old -broken- bracelets and necklaces, which were all thrifted.

and the easiest one: A necklace made from leftover fabric from a refashioning project!

Material-wise this one is one of my favorites. Can you guess what it is made of?

yep! a steam basket! Fortunately, it doesn't look like that when finished.

please excuse my tired face, I failed at cropping it out the picture!
If you're now thinking: "well, that's nice but I don't have any of those materials at hand", now, stop those excuses!!!
Here's a (non-complete!) list of things that I have made jewelry with:
  • newspaper
  • soda bottles
  • wool
  • bicycle tires
  • old pendant lamps
  • smithereens of porcelain
  • teaspoons
  • carton
  • recycled plastic
  • slices of branches
  • plant seeds
  • plastic toys
  • zippers
  • t-shirts
  • yarn
  • old paintings
  • plastic cutlery
What do you like to upcycle as jewelry? Or which of the projects in the list above would you like to see? Or what else should I try to make? (I'm always in for a little bet!) Let me know!


  1. I found you because of Jillian and I haven't followed many of the blogs she recommends but I love all the different crafts you do so now following. I am mainly a card creator but started a mixed media journey a year ago and loving it. Gorgeous jewellery - keep an eye out for old chandeliers being broken apart the crystals make fabulous pendants Karen x

    1. Hi Karen!

      Thank you for your kind words! I'm very happy to hear that you like my ideas! Having started making things again has made me so happy, and knowing that others like reading about it makes it extra special!


  2. Teaspoon earrings! With a Tablespoon bracelet.

    1. Ohh! Great idea! And bracelets are my favorite jewelry anyway! Thanks!!

  3. I'd love to see the rest of your handmade earring collection!

    The teaspoon earrings are my favourite, by the way; but I love the creativity of using parts of a steam basket. You have such a creative eye. =)

    1. Hi!
      I just wanted to say that I loved reading your messages to my blog! And yes, I failed miserably in updating my blog over the last past months, but I really do want to start again soon!