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Costume Jewelry Crafts

Updated on May 4, 2014

Use Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings, Brooches in Crafts

Costume jewelry crafts are simply crafts made using costume jewelry. This can include using a piece, such as clip on earrings, in a different way like for shoe clips instead of for earrings. Another option is to use numerous brooches to create a brooch bouquet.

The sparkle and glitz of many costume jewelry pieces, especially vintage costume jewelry, lend themselves to crafting. If you have some broken costume jewelry, those pieces are perfect for crafting and you won't feel guilty about taking them apart.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Vintage costume jewelry necklaces.
Vintage costume jewelry necklaces.

What Is Costume Jewelry?

And should you really take it apart?

From Wikipedia: The term costume jewelry dates back to the early 20th century. It reflects the use of the word "costume" to refer to what is now called an "outfit"; for example, a "handsome street costume of maroon brown velvet." Costume jewelry is meant to complement a particular fashionable garment or "costume"; Hence the name, "costume jewelry."

This photo shows three vintage necklaces. On the green three-strand necklace, the beads are plastic; some are smooth and some are coated with something that gives them texture. This necklace is strung on a cotton type string, and the clasp is a cheap hook clasp in base metal. Even though it's an inexpensive piece, I think it's still pretty.

This would be a perfect piece to take apart if you wanted to because it's not valuable. Or it could be used as a lovely necklace for a doll or teddy bear. Many vintage necklaces are really chokers (only about 15 or 16 inches long) that don't fit many "modern" women's necks! Another consideration is using costume jewelry that you just wouldn't wear, such as clip-on or screw-type earrings.

To learn about the value of specific costume jewelry pieces, look for a mark or signature. This is a small, often hard to find or read, name engraved or stamped on the metal part of a piece of jewelry. Some examples are Coro, Trifari, Coventry, and many others. Antiquing On Line provides three pages of jewelry makers' marks. This list is probably not comprehensive but it's a good start for identifying whether your jewelry has value. For more information, check the Amazon links below.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Identify Costume Jewelry - and Determine Its Worth

Before taking apart your costume jewelry, you may want to do a little research to find out if it has value. These links provide research books that are a good starting point.

Costume Jewelry and Mosaic China on a Glass Vase

Costume Jewelry and Mosaic China on a Glass Vase
Costume Jewelry and Mosaic China on a Glass Vase
1980s clip on earrings made into magnets.
1980s clip on earrings made into magnets.

Earring Magnets

Use Costume Jewelry to Make Magnets

I love the look of unusual magnets. With a few pieces of costume jewelry, such as earrings or a brooch, it's possible to transform them into jewelry for your fridge or filing cabinet at work!

The three clip-on earrings pictured here were cheap costume jewelry pieces I got in a lot of jewelry at an auction. I was never going to wear them, and since they reek of the 1980s, I wasn't sure anyone else would ever want to either.

So, I clipped off the backs and glued a magnet to each one. Ta da!

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Make Costume Jewelry Crafts - Books to Inspire

These books show examples of upcycled costume jewelry. A little inspiration goes a long way in repurposed old, broken jewelry into something new.

Add Bling to Your Lamp Shade

If you have a simple lamp shade that you want to

dress up, clip costume jewelry earrings (the clip-on

and screw-on types) around the top. It looks lovely!

Christmas wreath made with costume jewelry.
Christmas wreath made with costume jewelry.

Make a Wreath with Costume Jewelry

Vintage or new costume jewelry works

One year at Christmas, I helped two of my grandchildren make this wreath. Since they were young (under 7 years old) at the time, I knew I'd have to do a lot of the manipulation of actually making the wreath. So, I let them choose the costume jewelry from my stash of goodies to use on the wreath.

First we covered a styrofoam wreath in white, red, and green felt by pinning it at the back. We draped necklaces around the wreath, using it as garland. I sewed the ends in place at the back. Then we began using straight pins to attach the clip on earrings and brooches to the wreath.

Finally, I added a hanger using a piece of ribbon to form a loop. They hang this wreath on their front door each year during the holidays.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Brooch Bouquets for Sale on Etsy - Click a small image to enlarge it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is a brooch bouquet made from repurposed bronze pins made by AlwaysAfton on Etsy. See the link below.Vintage green brooches make up this brooch bouquet by estherleejewelry on Etsy. See the link below.
This is a brooch bouquet made from repurposed bronze pins made by AlwaysAfton on Etsy. See the link below.
This is a brooch bouquet made from repurposed bronze pins made by AlwaysAfton on Etsy. See the link below.
Vintage green brooches make up this brooch bouquet by estherleejewelry on Etsy. See the link below.
Vintage green brooches make up this brooch bouquet by estherleejewelry on Etsy. See the link below.

Brooch Bouquets - Costume Jewelry Made Even More Beautiful

Brooch bouquets come in all shapes and sizes. These links provide a range of lovely options to inspire.

Costume Jewelry on eBay - Vintage Earrings

Find the perfect vintage jewelry on eBay.

Affiliate Disclosure

This author, Peggy Hazelwood, participates in Amazon, eBay, All Posters, and other affiliate advertising programs. When you click an advertising link on this page and make a purchase, I receive a small percent of the sale. Thank you for reading this far!

What do you think of using costume jewelry for crafts?

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    • suzyjahi profile image

      suzyjahi 3 years ago

      Great Lens

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 4 years ago

      I liked the Botswana agate and some of the old timey pieces.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 4 years ago

      Making crafts from costume jewelry is a very creative way to recycle - and loads of fun as well!

    • profile image

      kathryn-gillespie 5 years ago

      Oh, that wreath you helped the grandkids with is beautiful! Love that they hang it on the door every year! â¥â¥â¥

    • profile image

      kathryn-gillespie 5 years ago

      Good use of reusing objects! Very cool!

    • nadinartglass1 profile image

      Nadin Art Design 5 years ago from Israel

      Thanks for sharing such useful information, I'm glad to find it!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      I love costume jewelry but rarely have any as I always lose it!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Coming back again to this lens because I think costume jewelry crafts are so cool. And you are a wonderful Grandmother to work with your grandchildren on crafts and encouraging their creativity. :)

    • JosephsJewelry LM profile image

      JosephsJewelry LM 5 years ago

      I love the idea of the lens. Costume jewelry is an inexpensive way to make jewelry for yourself and great to do with the kids.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Using costume jewelry for crafts is a great recycling idea and gives a bit of extra bling to beautiful items.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I'd been seeing those bouquets made with costume jewelry brooches and I think they are so lovely. Why not make another use of jewelry that is just laying around and not being utilitzed or appreciated? So, I vote YES! :)

    • jennabee25 profile image

      Jenn Dixon 5 years ago from PA

      What a lovely idea! I have some costume jewelry that I inherited from different relatives. I'm not sure if I would take them a part due to sentimental reasons, but, after seeing the ideas here, I might! I have great memories of playing dress up with my grandmother's old costume jewelry.