Recycled Jewelry Made by Upcycling Unique Found Objects
Do you walk down the street looking down at the ground or up at the people you’re passing? Or maybe you look to the sky? Do you save the sleeve from your morning coffee cup to use again or do you toss the cup and sleeve in a bin destined for the curb? How about the bags your coffee beans come in? Are they stored with your other ephemera or do they go out in the trash? I resemble the former of each of these examples and can tell when I meet someone of the latter. They wonder why I stop in the middle of a crosswalk to pick up whatever caught my eye. They come into my studio and see recycling — not realizing I see recycled jewelry or upcycling fun in my future.
Saving the Planet – One Piece of Jewelry at a Time!
Upcycled and recycled jewelry has been “on trend” for a long time now. I’m thankful for this and for all who share their passion with us through their designs, projects, and instructions. Our latest upcycled eBook, Upcycled Jewelry: 8 DIY Projects from Recycled Materials is the latest publication to share the work of others who continue to take on this trend, innovate, and share their vision and talents.
No matter your pleasure — recycled into upcycled or new into new treasures to wear — this book has something for everyone. It shows how to take unique materials and found objects and translate them into wearable art, how to create symmetrical designs using different shaped components, and how to blend different materials into a cohesive finished piece of jewelry.
To follow is a peek at what you’ll find inside.
Hardware Store Beauties
Your local hardware store is a great place to find unique metal components to work into jewelry. And if you have a traditional hardware store, with drawers, and drawers, and more drawers of hardware to sift through, even better! The auto-parts stores are good haunts for unique metal components, too.
Pipe Line by Claire Lockwood makes great use of copper hardware. She combines pipe, fittings, and beads expertly, then connects this striking focal piece to chain to make a very wearable necklace that can double as a great conversation piece.
Reflections of Days Past
At my grandmother’s house we used skeleton keys to open doors. Eventually those locks were phased out to be more secure but I remember the feel of the worn key, the tumble of the lock, and the sound it would make.
When I see skeleton keys and locks now, I’m reminded of those long summer days spent at my grandmother’s and I’m guessing Kristi Harrison has a similar story. Her necklace, Grandma’s House combines a skeleton key lock with other decorative elements you might find in a home with old-world character (like tin ceiling panels, beautiful moldings, etc.), along with everyone’s favorite — buttons!
Flea Market Finds
Not too long ago I ventured into a flea market with my sister. It was a big one that has a significant following. I was ill prepared but came away with a better understanding of this sub culture as well as what to be ready to purchase, next time. One of the prized purchases I did make that day was a bag full of chandelier crystals. The woman selling these beauties was quite proud of her lot and how she came by it. So, not only do I have crystals to decorate a metal tree in my foyer, I have her story to remind me where the crystals once hung.
Lustrous Latch by Claire Lockwood offers a great way to use chandelier crystals in a piece of wearable jewelry. And check out that latch!
Bike chain anything is hot and I’m seeing designs and new ideas popping up all the time. Not only are the designs a great way to wear or display your passion but they make great use of the materials cast off after they’ve served their purpose.
Cycling Round by Michelle Mach highlights bike chain and other hardware beautifully. And check out that spring, front and center — LOVE IT!
Another design that makes use of springs is the aptly named necklace, Seeing Springs by Erin Prais-Hintz. Erin uses extension springs as connectors and to add texture to this design. She brings in some other hardware like the nuts used as connectors for the leather cording, which softens the design, just enough. Color comes by way of some fabulous lampworked beads.
Opposing Forces Unite
My favorite jewelry project in the Upcycled Jewelry: 8 DIY Projects from Recycled Materials eBook is Silver Bullet necklace by Erin Strother. I love the feeling it brings, the great mix of colors and texture, and of course the sparkle found in and amongst the hard surfaces.
Just the other day I found this really cool half of a latch on the street.
I picked it up and put this find on my bench for use someday, soon. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it but glad to know I can work this find into something new and there will be people to inspire and cheer me on!
Keep on upcycling and recycling!
Editor and Web Producer, Interweave Bead & Jewelry Group
What do you do with your unique finds? Have a design to share? Please leave a comment below.
Get upcycling today with this eBook, found in our shop