A Crafty Girl Can Survive: Crafting on a Deserted Island

March is National Craft Month, and the Interweave Crafts staff is celebrating with a blog hop (more on that below). We were all asked the question, “If I were stranded on a deserted island, I’d bring…” Here’s the Jewelry team’s answers.

Sunsets and Seashells

seashells sand

A deserted island with a beach would provide lots of quartz sand: a great abrasive for shaping and polishing rock, shell, and most other things apt to be lying around.

To add color to my deserted island, I’d start by gathering attractive pebbles, shards of rock, seashells, driftwood — anything at hand. I’d take advantage of the quartz grains of my beach to grind my treasures into different shapes and (literally) sand them to different finishes.


Merle’s deserted island would have spectacular sunsets. Although the sunsets and sunrises would be reflected in the ocean surrounding her island, Merle would try to bring them on land, too. One way would be by building a reflecting pool.

In lieu of a tropical garden, I’d make a Zen garden with some rocks; I might dabble in rock and sand “painting,” too. I’d use my most highly polished pieces to create large, mirror-like surfaces and build reflecting pools to bring ashore the fleeting colors of my island’s spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

–Merle White
Editor, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Polymer Clay by the Beach

polymer clay jewelry making crafting

Christi Friesen’s vibrant polymer clay designs make me want to play with clay for hours.

A deserted island sounds like a wonderful place to revel in a favorite hobby — after focusing on immediate survival needs, of course. I would love to be conveniently stranded with a suitcase full of colorful polymer clay (affiliate link) and a few sculpting tools. That would be enough to provide hours of satisfaction making mini sculptures, swirly beads and pendants, and quirky tropical creatures.

For inspiration, I love to admire the work of Christi Friesen. Her unique and whimsical pieces are bursting with creativity. She combines polymer clay with foils, powders, glitters, shards, wire, epoxy, found objects, and far more. The results are always amazing.

Should I happen to exhaust my polymer clay stash, I would take the opportunity to gather some clay from the ocean floor and experiment with that!

–Tamara Kula
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group

Rockin’ the Beach


photo by Jim Lawson

If I was stranded on a deserted island, I’d spend the long, quiet days practicing my wire-wrapping jewelry skills. You wouldn’t need a lot of big tools to haul around — just some good clippers and pliers. Of course, you’d need a variety of wire with different gauges and shapes. But think of the really cool stones you could find on the beach! You wouldn’t even need to cut and polish them. The ocean waves would have done that for you.

And if you’re thinking of survival skills, you could make really cool fish hooks out of the wire!

Of course, I might also like to do a bit of jewelry soldering. That torch would come in very handy for making a nice signal fire — you know, if you were considering a rescue.

–Karla Rosenbusch
Managing Editor, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Down to the Wire

wire jewelry making crafting

To be Shore Bangle by Claire DeRosa, Step by Step Wire Summer 2008

Odd as it may seem, I like the thought of being stranded on a deserted island. Think about it. You would have time all to yourself. Time to do whatever you want, whenever and however you want. Time to make jewelry. To weave a hammock from palm fronds. Time to build a “she shed” to protect all the materials and creature comforts you gather. Bake coconut cream pies (they do that on deserted islands, right?). Sit in the sun. Swim in the ocean. Fish and gather fruit. Seriously. Sign me up!

If this wonderful dream was to occur, I know for sure I would have my pliers and a wire cutter with me (I always pack them for that just-in-case free time). And, although I don’t like using my plies and cutters for things outside of jewelry making, in this case, I’d have to make an exception and use them to build stuff. Then, once all the shelter needs were met, I could make wire jewelry all day long! This would also mean I brought wire to create with. OR, maybe it would be our lucky day and Karla and I would wind up on the same island! We could make earrings, wire up shells as pendants, maybe even set up shop for a sale. Oh, wait – it’s a deserted island! Well, it would be fun any way. And we could eat pie together, all day long. Ahhhh.

–Tammy Honaman
Group Editorial Director, Bead & Jewelry

Tiki Torch?

soldering torch firing crafting torch

I’m pretty sure that if I had one of my small torches, I’d be OK on a deserted island—at least until the fuel ran out!

With a torch, I could build a fire for warmth and safety as well as boiling water and cooking food. Plus, I’d have fire at night to keep the mosquitos away. You might think that’s a pretty specific and unusual thing to add, but if you’ve ever been on the beach in Louisiana in the evening, you’ll understand! Skeeter city.

I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that I could melt sand into glass shapes like cups and bowls, sort of like melting enamel powders. (It could happen, right? I’d at least like the opportunity to try!) After watching countless episodes of the survival show Naked and Afraid, I think fire would be the most helpful tool when stranded on a deserted island.


Don’t tell my Jewelry teammates, but this is National Craft Month after all, and among many crafting faves, I love to knit. If I had cotton, linen, or silk yarn with me, I could form knitting needles out of sticks and knit all kinds of necessities. A hammock, some clothes and even knitted booties for shoes, a fishing net, bags to help with hunter-gatherer tasks, a cover for my palm-frond bedding, some sort of rope-like things to help lash together a shelter, or even a raft . . .

–Tammy Jones
Online Editor and Social Media Manager, Interweave Beading & Jewelry

Be Prepared for Your Deserted Island with Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Keep yourself productively occupied with the magazine that teaches you how to do wonderful things with Nature’s help, from high-tech CAD/CAM to the most primitive tools and DIY workarounds. Subscribe now!

What craft would help you most if you were stranded on an island? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t miss out on all the other ways a crafty girl (or guy!) can survive on a deserted island.

About Our Blog Hop

For those of you that aren’t familiar, a blog hop is a group of blogs that participate in writing around a shared theme. You can then hop from blog to blog to learn and explore all sorts of new ideas and perspectives.

Our group decided to throw a blog hop in honor of National Craft Month, and this year our theme is “What craft would you take to a desert island?”. On each day listed below, visit that website and scroll through the most recent blogs posted until you find the latest blog hop post. Click and enjoy hopping around!

March 1 – Interweave.com
March 4 – Sew Daily
March 7 – Crochet (Interweave)
March 11 – Jewelry (Interweave)
March 13 – Weaving (Interweave)
March 15 – Cloth Paper Scissors
March 18 – Knitting (Interweave)
March 20 – Spinning (Interweave)
March 22 – The Quilting Company
March 26 – Needlework (Interweave)
March 27 – Beading (Interweave)


Celebrate National Craft Month by crafting all year long!

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