Mixed-Media and Boho-Chic Jewelry: 5 Design Ideas from the New Create Jewelry Magazine

Mixed-media jewelry is possibly the most fun kind of jewelry to make, because anything goes. If you have a passion for gemstones (like I do) but also for vintage velvet ribbon (yes indeed!), you can use those two typically incongruous materials together and, with a little luck and creativity and some basic techniques, create a beautiful piece of jewelry. How about paper and metal? Yep. Maybe leather and broken bits of china? Sure. But what about wire chain and found objects? You bet!

 
Between the Leaves bracelet by Claire Lockwood

Some of you might disagree with me (feel free to do so in the comments below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!), but the only "rule" I can think of when it comes to mixed-media jewelry is that "You Must Mix." Mix the media, that is. Gemstones, wire, paper ephemera, found objects, leather cord, satin ribbon, buttons, shells, wood, and anything-else-you-like, mix it up! And the more incongruous the pieces you can get to work together in jewelry harmony, the better.

Here are some of my favorite mixed-media jewelry designs and ideas from our new Create Jewelry magazine.

 

 
Melting Glass earrings by Karin Grosset Grange

1. Use Familiar Products in New Ways

The first time I saw lampwork-glass-tipped headpins, I was so excited about the possibilities for using them–as headpins. It took me a little while to think of them as other things–as lampwork glass beads with wire instead of holes, as glass components with built-in wire for connections, and as seen in this case, as earrings! Simply turn the glass-tipped headpin upside down, add other beads or embellishments, and finish with ear wires. Voila! Old dog, new trick.

In the Between the Leaves bracelet (above, right), I love the repurposing of small beads and a large leaf bead into a pretty and clever one-of-a-kind clasp.

 

 
Tideline necklace by Claire Lockwood

2. Mix It, Mix It, Mix It

Remember mixed-media jewelry rule one-and-only, from above? "You Must Mix." This necklace makes me happy with all of the this-and-that-and-the-other-things that live together so harmoniously in one beautiful design: ceramic and glass beads, rocks, gemstones, seashells, metal and wire, linen cord, and even driftwood!

 
Patina Blooms bracelet by Erin Prais-Hintz

3. Expand Familiar Techniques

Metal stamping is a great way to personalize metal jewelry–but metal stamps don't have to be used solely on metal. This bracelet features a polymer clay component that has been stamped to get the message across just the same, either with metal stamps or rubber stamps. Stamping in clay is a great way to get new life out of your existing stash.

4. Tie It All Together

Sometimes the key to making so many different components and types of materials work together can be as simple as repeating one unifying element–and color is an easy choice. Adding color to metal in the form of paint, ink, patina (like the Be Open bracelet, above left), or even small beads on metal links can help unify a piece the same way coordinating colorful accessories can help unify an outfit. Running leather, ribbon, or cord through chain or tying small bits of fibers onto loops or links of metal is another way to add color throughout a piece.

5. Find or Create Fresh Color Palettes

The projects in Create Jewelry are divided into eight fun and fashionable color palettes (four of which you can see below). I find that when I'm given a color palette to adhere to, it fosters more creativity than if I have free rein, because it forces me to find ways to put together things I might not normally use together. Whether you make the magazine's projects as they are or not, the color palettes can inspire you to use your materials in fresh new designs.

 

I hope these little glimpses of mixed-media and Boho-chic jewelry inspire you, too! Get dozens more in our new magazine, Create Jewelry, a gorgeous magazine packed with 101 (!!!) necklace, bracelet, and earring projects in eight fresh color palettes sure to make you look at your stash in a whole new way!

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