I teach an art class for SMART, a non-profit organization my mother founded for women living with HIV/AIDS. However, thanks to my second pregnancy I am on indefinite maternity leave and they have been left (temporarily) without an art teacher. Boooo! My sister has agreed to teach the class if needed but only if I help her with the syllabus and projects and if it is stuff she can do. So, I've been brainstorming ideas that could work for all skill levels that anyone can do and would enjoy doing.
The theme I chose was DIY Jewelry, since there is so many awesome ways to make beautiful and fun jewelry pieces that suit anyone's taste. As I was working on the syllabus and searching for useful tutorials and tips I realized this would make a great Hub to share with other crafty people looking for some fun projects to work on.
So here are some wonderful jewelry projects you can easily create at home. I have sorted them by materials and skills needed so you can easily find the projects that work best for you, your ability, and lifestyle.
If you know of any other DIY Jewelry projects or have a few ideas yourself please share to help improve this Hub! Thanks in advance!
These projects require crocheting skills to complete.
Check out my Hub on How to Crochet a Bracelet to learn different ways you can crochet bracelets. These techniques can even be used to make cool necklaces too.
I have a variety of different projects so whether you just learned how to crochet or have been doing it for awhile you should be able to find a project that works well with your skill level.
How to Crochet a Rose
Brooches, hairpins, lapels, buttons, and other small jewelry items can easily be made from crocheting. Here are a couple of pins I've made in the past.
To make this pin I made geometric pieces in varying sizes and colours and trimmed them with other colours. Then I stitched them together in different patterns and attached the pieces to pins.
Crochet roses are actually very simple to make. They look great in medium and chunky yarn and really elegant and pretty in embroidery thread and thin yarn so try using different yarns to achieve different looks.
Once you make your rose you can attach it to whatever pin you want.
I actually went about crocheting my flower brooch in a similar way to my abstract pins. I crocheted two different flowers in different sizes and a small ball for the center and stitched them all together.
Pins can be made with any small crocheted object so try to design ones that relate to your style and interests.
Crocheting with thick yarn and big hooks will give you a much different look and effect than crocheting with small hooks and thin yarn. If you're going for something more playful, fun, and crafty looking you can try thicker yarn. If you want something more subtle, elegant, and classic go for thinner yarn.
By crocheting spheres you can create unique and beautiful beads. If you crochet small spheres with cotton or thin yarn you can create adorable necklaces that can also double as teething necklaces for mom's with infants who love to suck on their jewelry (like my son did haha). If you make BIG spheres with medium - chunky yarn you can make super interesting (and super warm) winter scarves.
Crocheted beads can also be combined in pieces with clay, wooden, glass, and other types of beads.
Here are some wonderful tutorials on making clay jewelry. Most are made with polymer clay in mind but you may have luck trying them out with other types of clay as well.
Polymer Clay Inspiration
Check out my clay board on Pinterest for a lot of great tutorials and inspiration for clay projects. I mostly pin tutorials for polymer clay, but if you use other types of clay you can probably alter them to work for you as well.
Canes can be made into beads, or cut thinly to create nail art, or can be combined in various ways to make jewelry pieces.
Simple canes came be combined to create beautiful and intricate designs ranging from abstract to near photo-realistic.
Beads can be incorporated into various types of jewelry and crafts. The benefits of making your own beads is that you can make them the exact colour you want, the exact size you want, and the exact shape you want. Customization to the max.
Here are some interesting way you can create jewelry out of paper.
Folded Paper Bracelet
Print out these instructions and follow the steps and template to make a beautiful folded bracelet using only one slip of paper.
These bracelets can be made with slips of paper, starburst or other candy wrappers, cut up newspapers and magazines, or really anything you can fold. I enjoyed making them from starburst wrappers when I was in high school. They look a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it it's very easy to do.
If you punch wire or pins through finished lucky stars and glaze them you can easily make charms with them for earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories.
Origami Lily Earrings
Duct Tape Wallet
So wallets are more of an accessory than a jewelry piece, but I still thought it'd be a fun project to include.
I made this paper wallet with my sister after watching the YouTube videos I posted to the right.
We made her wallet by drawing decorations on a piece of printer paper, then attempted to "laminate" it with clear packing tape. After she gave her wallet a test spin, though, this turned out to not be the most effective way of protecting the artwork. So I would say try clear contact paper or some other way to waterproof/laminate your wallet.
When it came to folding and constructing the wallet we stuck pretty close to the envelope video tutorial, but all the pretty finishing touches came from the duct tape video.
If you want to make your own paper (or duct tape) wallet, I'd suggest checking out a couple of different tutorials first to find one you really like. Also, keep in mind these wallets really aren't meant to be permanent. They're more like cute little accessories you can switch out every day to match your mood or outfit. So, don't rely on them too much. Don't be too rough with them either, they can be a bit fragile. Especially if their construction is a bit shotty.
If you want to go for the duct tape wallet (which is a little more durable than the paper one) keep in mind that you can now buy really colourful cool duct tapes at Target and other places. They even have Hello Kitty duct tape!
Paper beads can be used in earrings, necklaces, embroidery, and other bead projects. Use recycled magazines and paper to create unique interesting designs, or design your own beads. Finish off with diamond glaze so they'll be built to last.
Watercolor Paper Earrings
DIY wire jewelry has a way of looking very expensive, beautiful, and elaborate without necessarily requiring a lot of skill (or money) to make. Depending on how you go about it of course. Please take care when using wire, however because you can easily get cut by sharp edges!
Wire Wrapped Ring
Criss-Cross Wire Wrapped Jewelry
Swirl Design Ring
Memory Wire Jewelry
Memory wire comes in slinky like coils that keep their shape. There are various shapes you can use to create rings, earrings, and necklaces.
Here are some tutorials and projects you can create using recycled materials or even unwanted jewelry pieces.
Old T-Shirt Jewelry
In my Hub How to Make a Bag from an Old T-Shirt I talk about how you can reuse t-shirts to make cute bags, but I also list some ways you can upcycle your old shirts into scarves and jewelry items, like bracelets and necklaces.
Electrical Wire Bracelet
Here are some bracelets I made using the colourful wires I stripped from an electrical cable (I can't remember what kind it was).
I treated the wire like landyarn I would use in summer camp to make keyrings or necklaces, though I can't remember exactly which techniques I used. It looks like maybe a twist on the Chinese staircase.
Soda Can Earrings
Plastic Bottle Bracelet
When I first saw the pictures from My Legacy's tutorial on how to use a plastic bottle to make a bracelet I couldn't see how the plastic bottle was used at all! But once I went through the photo tutorial I was amazed. Just goes to show, just because you used recycled materials to make jewelry doesn't mean your jewelry has to look like it's been recycled.
Use Rockpool Candy's method of recycling materials for yarn for other projects. In addition to plastic bags you can use shirts, sweats, socks, pant legs, or anything else that comes in tube form. Projects made with recycled yarns can be really beautiful and interesting!
Colour Old Jewelry
If you have some old jewelry pieces you're no longer in love with or find some interesting pieces at a thrift shop or flea market or mall somewhere that are just lacking a little something you can easily alter them with nail polish, paint, or dye.
I would recommend using acrylic paint over nail polish, personally, because in my experience nail polish can chip away pretty easily or, depending on the kind of polish, may stay super sticky and never seem to try!
Still if it's for a special party or one night out or just generally something you aren't going to wear very often, nail polish isn't such a bad idea. Especially if that's what you happen to have on hand.
Spray Paint Makeover
Brooch to Earrings and Ring
In the past I've remade jewelry I found in thrift stores and dollar stores. The key is to look at the elements of the jewelry piece and not the piece as a whole. A cheap looking piece of jewelry can have some interesting redeemable elements that make it really special. Shapes are really most important, don't get caught up in colouring or cheap shininess because these are things that can easily be changed. Look carefully, you may just find a diamond in the rough.
If you're really having trouble envisioning ways to use old jewelry pieces to make new ones try designing some jewelry pieces you would really like to have, or start collecting images of jewelry pieces you like. Then when you go shopping or sort through your jewelry box you'll have a better idea of what you'll need to make the pieces you want.
Another cool thing about jewelry makeovers, especially if you're looking to make a profit off of your completed pieces, is that you can usually make several new pieces from one old piece. From a long beaded necklace I made a smaller bead and chain necklace, a couple rings, and a bracelet. Try and think of ways to maximize the use of your materials.
Here are some jewelry-making guides to create jewelry from unexpected items.
Safety Pin Bracelet
I remember safety pin bracelets being one of the first jewelry projects I ever made as a kid. They are really easy to make and can be very pretty. All you need to do is add beads to the points of the safety pin, super glue them closed, and string the tops and bottoms of the safety pins with elastic string. To make your bracelets extra secure use two strands of elastic or thick elastic when stringing them.
Alternatively you can wrap paper, magazine, or newspaper and glaze it, instead of using beads for a whole different look.
Beaded Pearl Cuff
DIY Hair Clips
Flower clips and other hair fascinators are actually very easy to make. I made my own for my wedding.
All you need is some fake flowers, maybe some feathers, and some other interesting materials, hot glue, scissors, and flat hair clips. Cut the pieces out and arrange them. Once you have an arrangement you like simply hot glue the pieces to the hair clip and you're done!
I decided to start making my own flower clips when I realized the five dollars I was spending on just one or two simple clips at the store could be put towards making several really cool and unique clips using dollar store finds.
Alternatively, flowers (or whatever you like) can be hot glued to plastic headbands as well. Add one off to the side or fill an entire headband with flowers and ribbon to create a beautiful springy headdress.
Burned Glue Ring
Perler Bead Jewelry
I remember these plastic iron beads from when I was a kid. The crafts you could make with them were pretty cute, but otherwise useless--unless you were creative enough to use them somehow.
A couple of summers ago I started seeing High School students wear Perler bead charms on necklaces, bracelets, and keychains. They were so adorable I couldn't believe I had never thought of incorporating pixel art with Perler beads--duh!
Anyway, Perler beads can be used a couple of different ways. You can use them the way they are meant to be used and make charms for jewelry, then punch holes in the pieces for jump rings and chains. OR you can use Perler beads as regular beads and string them on bracelets or chains, or pattern them as you would with seed beads.
Pretty cool stuff!
Flat Glass Marble Jewelry
I loved tammyswallow's Hub on how to make jewelry using nail polish. She took flat clear marbles and painted designs on the back before gluing them on to blank rings. I have also seen people create similar jewelry pieces by using paint, gluing drawings or pretty pieces of paper or foil, gluing glitter, adding stitckers, or pasting on magazine or newspaper clippings. There are lots of ways you can create unique jewelry using this simple method!
After reading randomcreative's Hub on button crafts, I went and made my own button magnets and pins. As randomcreative points out, buttons can be used to make really great bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, and even home decor.
Here are some great DIY Jewelry projects that use fabric.
Fabric Necklace & Earrings
Fabric & Fabric Stiffener Jewelry
Improve This Hub!
What would you like to see more of?
I hope these guides and tutorials inspire you to make amazing DIY Jewelry pieces! If you need a way to keep your jewelry neat and organized be sure to check out my Hub on DIY Jewelry Organizers, as well.
If you know of a project that just NEEDS to be here, or tried out any of the tutorials here, let me know in the comments below!