DIY Upcycled Jewelry by Recycling Plastic Bottles

Not Just Earrings

This bracelet was created with an upcycled debit card, shampoo bottle, Starbuck's card and more.
This bracelet was created with an upcycled debit card, shampoo bottle, Starbuck's card and more.

The Art of Upcycling - Making Jewely From Plastic

If you perceive of upcycled jewelry as taking your mother's costume jewelry, breaking it down and reassembling in a new way.... well that's one way of doing it. But this isn't that kind of jewelry.

Upcycling plastic takes recycling in a new direction. It's the art of reworking something we might otherwise have thrown away and turning it into something beautiful?

When you upcycle plastic, you can literally turn trash: shampoo, lotion and cleaning supply bottles, even coffee cans, into jewelry treasures.

"Recycled Red" Earrings

Earrings created with Target Pharmacy vials, copper and hematite
Earrings created with Target Pharmacy vials, copper and hematite

A Pretty Plastic Quest

Lotions, shampoo, cleaning supplies, all come in beautiful plastic containers perfect for upcycling into jewelry.
Lotions, shampoo, cleaning supplies, all come in beautiful plastic containers perfect for upcycling into jewelry.

"Good To The Last Drop" Earrings From A Coffee Can

Imagine my surprise when I found out artisans in Africa use coffee cans in their work as well. I created this pair of  "Wild Woman" earrings when I was inspired by a recycled metal pair from Ghana that I found in an African art gallery.
Imagine my surprise when I found out artisans in Africa use coffee cans in their work as well. I created this pair of "Wild Woman" earrings when I was inspired by a recycled metal pair from Ghana that I found in an African art gallery.

Upcycling isn't so new

I started making upcycled jewelry years ago. Of course it wasn't called "upcycled" back then. Most people weren't even talking about being "Green," and saving the planet had nothing to do with it.

It was nearly 20 years ago and I had limited knowledge of local bead and jewelry making suppliers or jewelry supply catalogs; but I still had a driving desire to learn and experiment with creating jewelry from new and different materials.

Upcycle Coffee Cans Too

I don't remember the specific moment I contemplated making jewelry from a coffee can; it could easily have been early one morning after my second or third cup of coffee. But somehow the idea of cutting up a coffee can and turning it into jewelry seemed ideal. I was a serious coffee lover way before Starbucks came to town. That meant I made it myself, which gave me easy access to those colorful metal cans. And it was free.

"Credit Crunch" Upcycled Earrings

Stop. Don't pull out that credit card. If you need a little help keeping your spending habits in line, cut your credit or debit card into strips, add holes, a bit of trim and a pair of earwires, and dangle them from your ears.
Stop. Don't pull out that credit card. If you need a little help keeping your spending habits in line, cut your credit or debit card into strips, add holes, a bit of trim and a pair of earwires, and dangle them from your ears.

Learn about Upcycling (See, I didn't make up the word)

"An Upcycled Dangle" Earrings

A little bit of plastic, a rubber ring from a Target Pharmacy bottle, a little stone star and some copper trim and you're good to go.
A little bit of plastic, a rubber ring from a Target Pharmacy bottle, a little stone star and some copper trim and you're good to go.

Upcycling Before it was Upcycling

I upcycled coffee cans into jewelry long before I knew how to use a jeweler's saw or a blowtorch; so I cut my cans with metal shears from a local hardware store. It was tedious work dealing with those sharp coffee can edges.

For cans with labels, I peeled them off and used a soldering iron to meld copper to bare metal. For the painted kind, I incorporated the colorful designs into my work.

I sold recycled creations right alongside my sterling and copper jewelry at arts and craft shows. I remember the fascination with what I was doing. Teachers, in particular, thought the idea of recycling coffee cans was wonderful and bought them to introduce the idea to their classes.

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Say Whatver You Want! 13 comments

Maria 23 months ago

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Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

I love the creative way you've upcycled plastic and tins! The jewelry is so pretty! What a great craft project this would make for a group or for kids. Voted up and useful!


danielleantosz profile image

danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

very awesome! love the credit card ones.


CarolRucker profile image

CarolRucker 6 years ago from Cincinnati Author

Thank you for all of your comments.


recoverytta 6 years ago

very nice, was searching plastic making, came across this site, ver creative, good job :)


fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

What a wonderful way to keep plastic out of the landfill. Your jewelry is so unique. Great hub.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

Very creative! and way before your time, LOL. Love the 'wild women' earrings. Congrats on your hubnugget nomination and good luck to you.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Carol, you are a Hubnugget wannabe! Check out the arts and designs category. Wooohooo! http://hubpages.com/hubnuggets10/hub/The-hubnugget...


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Very clever way to make jewelry. Congrats on your nomination.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Very nice jewelry. Congrats on being selected as a nominee of this week's HubNuggets Wannabes Contest.

http://hubpages.com/community/The-hubnugget-wanna-...


CarolRucker profile image

CarolRucker 6 years ago from Cincinnati Author

Thank you for your comments.


rosycreations profile image

rosycreations 6 years ago from Virginia

That is very creative.


askjanbrass profile image

askjanbrass 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

These earrings are just so adorable and creative! I especially love the ones that use different credit cards. What an inventive way to control your spending. Cheers!

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