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Eight Earth Friendly Upcycled DIY Jewelry Projects

Updated on August 23, 2014
Eight Earth Friendly DIY Jewelry Projects
Eight Earth Friendly DIY Jewelry Projects | Source

Upcycling is Fun - Make Cool Jewelry out of Junk!

Making jewelry from recycled materials can be very rewarding. Don't you just love the idea of taking something that most people might just throw away and turning it into a piece of wearable art? From old t-shirts to plastic sushi trays, I'll show you some cool things to do with this 'junk' that you probably never considered before.

To me, crafting and ucpycling is always a lot of fun, but it's even more so when you can wear the finished product and surprise the world with how clever and resourceful you are! I hope you enjoy this collection of DIY jewelry making projects and tutorials that are all made with recycled materials.

What is "Upcycling?"

According to Wikipedia, upcycling is "the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value."

In other words, when we 'upcycle' something, we are adding value and usability back into that item, or giving it new life by transforming it into a useful and often beautiful new piece.

How to make earrings from plastic sushi to go containers
How to make earrings from plastic sushi to go containers | Source

Sushi Tray Earrings Video Tutorial

Plastic to-go containers for sushi often have lovely decorative patterns with floral designs. Save them when you get takeout from your favorite Asian restaurant (or find them at some grocery stores that sell fresh spring rolls and sushi) and make yourself some sweet recycled earrings with them. After you wash them thoroughly, of course!

Find a complete list of supplies needed for this project here, plus more great free jewelry tutorials at JewelryTutorialHQ.com.

DIY Upcycled Sushi Tray Earrings

How to make popsicle stick bracelets
How to make popsicle stick bracelets | Source

Upcycled Popsicle Stick Bracelet Tutorial

Technically, this only counts as an ‘upcycled’ jewelry project if you vow to make them with used popsicle sticks. So, if I have your solemn promise, please continue and find out how to make these fun upcycled popsicle stick bracelets!

One of the great things about this project is that there are endless design possibilities- whether you choose to use scrapbook paper, fabric scraps, or handpaint them, the only limit is your imagination!!

Recommended Reading: Jewelry Upcycled

Jewelry Upcycled!: Techniques and Projects for Reusing Metal, Plastic, Glass, Fiber, and Found Objects
Jewelry Upcycled!: Techniques and Projects for Reusing Metal, Plastic, Glass, Fiber, and Found Objects

Learn to transform metal, glass, plastic, fabric, and found objects—items you might otherwise recycle or throw away—into fun and exciting jewelry designs.

Explore the creative possibilities of these everyday materials in resourceful and innovative ways!

 
How to make a finger knit bracelet with fabric from old t-shirts
How to make a finger knit bracelet with fabric from old t-shirts | Source

DIY Woven T-Shirt Bracelet Video Tutorial

Do you have an overabundance of old t-shirts jammed in your closet that you never wear? Me too. But guess what? Nothing is off limits when it comes to crafting, so don’t be afraid to rip them to shreds and make them into something you’ll actually wear, like these easy finger knit bracelets.

All you need is an old t-shirt, a sharp pair of scissors, and two hands, and you can make stacks of these funky bracelets for you and your friends!

By the way, you'll also find another great post there with a video that shows you how to make continuous t-shirt yarn.

DIY Jersey Knit Bracelet

How to make beads out of paper
How to make beads out of paper | Source

How to Make Paper Beads Tutorial

Junk mail is something that plagues us all, it seems. Unfortunately I can’t think of a way to upcycle junk emails into something clever, but for all your snail mail circulars, coupons, and newspaper-y mailbox fillers, there is hope!

Learn how to make this beautiful hand-painted paper bead bracelet and turn those perpetually pesky papers into something pretty!

How to make bracelets from soda cans
How to make bracelets from soda cans | Source

Aluminum Can Flower Bracelet Tutorial

Turning aluminum cans into something so lovely never looked so easy. I’m willing to guess that beer and soda cans are some of the most common recyclables in a lot of homes these days. Maybe this project is one that will inspire you to save a couple as crafting supplies!

Check out this tutorial and see how to make a few of these aluminum can flower bracelets for yourself!

Recommended Reading: Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry

Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry: Upcycle cans into vibrant necklaces, rings, earrings, pins, & bracelets
Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry: Upcycle cans into vibrant necklaces, rings, earrings, pins, & bracelets

Create stylish, lightweight metal jewelry from recycled aluminum cans with Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry. Author Helen Harle offers jewelry makers a fun way to work with metal that doesn’t involve soldering or fusing.

 

Upcycled Cardboard Earrings

Did you ever think of using a paper towel roll as an adorable accessory? Well now you might! These pretty flower earrings are made from cardboard from a recycled paper towel tube, and hand painted and stamped to create lovely, lightweight earrings that are attractive and earth friendly!

Watch the video to see just how simple it is to turn that old paper tube into some sweet ear candy!

How to make a bracelet using plastic grocery bags
How to make a bracelet using plastic grocery bags | Source

Upcycled Plastic Bag Bracelet Tutorial

That’s right, go ahead and do a double-take! I did too :) This funky charm bracelet is made from plastic bags! You know, like the ones you use to carry your groceries in.

Learn how to fuse the plastic into sheets that can be cut (by hand or with a die cutter) into any shapes you like. Click here to see how to make your own plastic bag bracelet!

Recommended Reading: Rubbish! Reuse Your Refuse

Rubbish!: Reuse Your Refuse
Rubbish!: Reuse Your Refuse

This book shows you how to give everyday household items a new life the hip craftster’s way. You’ll discover how to complete more than 30 creative projects using materials you already have at your disposal, while reducing trash and upcycling your personal style.

 
How to make a ring with electrical wire
How to make a ring with electrical wire | Source

Reclaimed Electrical Wire Knot Ring Tutorial

If you’re an avid DIY’er around the house, you may have access to scraps of electrical wire. Perhaps you salvage it from the ceiling fan you replaced, or have some pieces left over from rewiring that killer lamp you scored at a garage sale. Or heck, maybe you even like to shop at junk yards.

Ok, so it doesn’t really matter how you got it, but if you have it, you should really try this project!

Recommended Reading: Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have

Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have
Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have

Have neglected items around your house? They can be the source for exciting craft possibilities! Turn your old leather belts into a cool doormat (or even a briefcase!); worn-out paperbacks into gorgeous bud vases; tennis balls into a quaint country swing; chopsticks into a handsome trivet, and many more.

 
Recycling Rocks! Poster by The Spotted Olive on Zazzle
Recycling Rocks! Poster by The Spotted Olive on Zazzle | Source

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this collection of upcycled jewelry tutorials. Will you try any of these projects?

Do you have a favorite item that most people consider junk that you like to repurpose somehow? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Recycling Rocks Poster by The Spotted Olive on Zazzle

© 2014 Jessica Barst

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  • Elsie Hagley profile image

    Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

    Very interesting hub, I enjoyed it. You get great pleasure from making something new out of something old, you have done a great job of doing this and presenting it. Thanks.

  • JessicaBarst profile image
    Author

    Jessica Barst 3 years ago from Dallas, TX

    Thanks Shirae and Rhonda! I agree that these are great projects for kids and classrooms. I think the idea of creating with non-traditional craft supplies encourages kids to think outside the box and be more mindful of an item's usefulness before they discard it as trash!

  • Rhonda Lytle profile image

    Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

    Really cute ideas for things to be reused. Not only is it great for the planet but really friendly on the budget. I could see these going over so well with kids, teens, party activities and even as classroom projects.

  • Shirae profile image

    Shirae 3 years ago

    Wow that's some really cool stuff :-)

  • JessicaBarst profile image
    Author

    Jessica Barst 3 years ago from Dallas, TX

    Thanks @AcornOakForest! I agree! It's also really nice not to have to make a run to the craft store every time you get the itch to make something :)

  • AcornOakForest profile image

    Monica Lobenstein 3 years ago from Western Wisconsin

    I especially like the aluminum can flower bracelets! Up cycling can be so fun and have such beautiful results.