5 Basic Steps for Making Personalized Jewelry Charms

Who doesn't like charms? They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, themes, and mediums. You can buy them or better yet, make your own. But, be warned, making charms can become highly addictive. I started out doing a few for my pals and now I do them by the cookie sheet. Sadly, my cookie sheets no longer find themselves in the oven—instead I use them for curing UV resin these days. "It's a good thing" to quote DIY diva, Martha Stewart.

Part of the allure of charms is their versatility and the many ways in which they can be customized. Each charm can have a special meaning that only you know, a little private secret. Or you can personalize them for family and friends. A high school logo captured in resin with a cheerleading charm for your teen daughter; a single charm on a leather cord for your son. Everyone's happy.

Use recycled bottle caps to hold your special treasures

Inspired by Melinda Barta's book, Custom Cool Jewelry, I tried out some resin experiments. My favorite turned out to be bottle caps. You're saving space in a landfill by doing your part, going "green" and recycling these metal wonders. Create great bottle-cap jewelry for a summer crafting adventure. Get the whole family to collect interesting bottle caps from all the various places you visit this summer, fill them with cool scrapbook-ish memorabilia (how about your ticket stubs from Avatar?), and seal them with resin. You can glue the bottle caps to a bracelet blank or drill holes in them (pre-resin) and attach several of them with jump rings to create a funky, fun charm bracelet. Wearing these special mementos will bring a smile to your heart as you remember the vacation spots you all shared.

Tips for creating bottle-cap jewelry

Here's how I've made some of my resin creations. Once you have your bottle caps, the steps are easy-peasy:

1: Carefully flatten bottle cap, making sure that you keep the crenellated edges intact.



2: Add some cool mementos that fit within your bottle cap. The idea is to find elements that, when captured in resin, will tell a story. Be sure to think outside the box (or the bottle cap) on this one. Anything goes, including varicolored peppercorns or your puppy's baby teeth.

3: Pour in resin and cure (translation: sit until hardened) according to manufacturer's directions. Don't guess on this one, because you've got your little memories inside, and you don't want to lose that glasslike finish that comes with a perfectly cured piece. Eyelets and Swarovski flat-back crystals can be a dynamite combo inside a bottle cap. And they nestle right in there so easily.

4: Bottle caps with resin-covered interiors aren't just for jewelry. For example, I like embellishing things with the finished bottle-cap bezels. How about your scrapbook or journal covers? I used fabric and Swarovski flat-back crystals, then attached the bottle cap to a button. 

5: Next step?  Glue it onto a journal cover and get a funky finished cover like this one.

Have fun with resin and plan your next "charming" bottle-cap weekend with the girls. And be sure to have Custom Cool Jewelry at your fingertips for 200+ ideas on how to create original charms, pendants, and clasps that are just your style. Oh, yes. Eat, drink, be merry and have a charm swap while you're at it!


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Clever Connections by Katie Hacker

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