When it comes to clothing, I am a pretty lazy person. I buy my of my gear at thrift stores and garage sales. The last two times I found new shoes, I bought multiple pairs because it saved me from having to go shoe shopping for a bit. I love clothes, I just don’t love shopping or doing a lot of laundry, so I tend to keep it pretty limited. But when it comes to accessories, especially jewelry, all bets are off. No surprise I majored in jewelry.
Besides actual metal crafting, I do love the easy side of jewelry where I can just play with beads and chains to make something pretty to wear. While I was cleaning junk out of the basement, I came across a box of jewelry from college that got stashed away and I haven’t worn in years. My first instinct was to pull everything out and mix it in with my collection. But that is silly…they were downstairs for a reason! If you have ever had a stash of unworn jewelry, you feel my pain. You don’t want to get rid of them, but you don’t want to wear them. Keep reading and maybe you can get some ideas for bringing your dusty old baubles to a new life. And since I mentioned stash busting projects earlier in the week, my timing is perfect.
I didn’t want to just get rid of everything in the box. A few of those pieces mean a lot to me and I really do enjoy them. It’s just that I think I may have grown out of hanging pendants from a string that uses a safety pin as a clasp. Besides that, some of them are just plain pretty or have pretty parts. Nothing says you have to like every part of a piece of jewelry forever. If you have stuff you are ready to hack apart, you only need some really basic supplies. I used scissors and pliers with a wire cutter to cut everything apart, a paper towel to catch all the trash bits and an egg carton for sorting the beads.
If you don’t have a special bead tray, don’t worry, a kitchen towel folded in half works great. it keeps everything from rolling away while you try to figure out how you will arrange things. Lucky me, I had a brand-new towel to work with that is white and not stained like crazy. I did grab more beads and findings from my stash as well as two pairs of pliers out of my jewelry bench. If you have round nose and needle nose pliers, that is ideal. But if all you have is a basic pair out of the tool box or even a leatherman-type tool, you can still have fun.
The first piece I wanted to work out was the purple chain from an old cross necklace. It’s quite short, like a loose choker. I really like the simple alternating pattern of purple and clear beads, but the cross part is shedding stones like…well, like a super-cheap piece of jewelry bought over ten years ago. I am saving the cross, but it’s destined for collage work. The two other pieces from my salvage pile are a simple metal bar from a bracelet made by a college friend and a crystal that is just pretty. I just laid everything out a few different ways and ended up with this.
I did have a new clasp laid out, but decided not to use it. I also changed the beads I used off to the side. The one pop of bright green was too distracting, so I changed it to a purple bead that worked with the beaded chain better. The final twist was to attach the long chain not at the clasp, but lower. It just creates a little different look that I am very fond of.
After that one got done, I wanted to work on a necklace I have had saved for years and still done nothing with. The color of some beads sitting out left me inspired and I knew exactly what to do.
Sweet necklace, awesome cloisonné poppy pendant, it was meant to be! I pulled out blue, green, yellow, red and orange beads that echoed those wonderful summery poppies. I got a long piece of copper and some red glass beads to create a post the pendant could hang on. It didn’t turn out so well.
Look at the sagging…yuck. It would technically be fine and maybe doesn’t look too awful. But I hate it. The weight of the pendant totally destroys the drape of the necklace. So back to the drawing board. But I guess this illustrates the importance of trial and error. If you are parting out jewelry and arranging it, take everything a step at a time. Put some parts together and try it on. Look in a mirror, consider how it will be worn everyday. And if something isn’t working, don’t get discouraged. But put the pieces away for another day.
If you are feeling discouraged or scared of making a mistake, take it slow. Even if you are a seasoned jewelry maker, just relax and have some easy fun. Just make some earrings.
Happy Friday all!