How to Make Your Own Jewelry Using Recycled Materials

If you're working on a tight budget, you can make your own jewelry using recycled materials to keep your costs low. Reusing household items or old jewelry reduces waste and sparks your creativity. The suggestions below are just starting points — anything from a discarded wine bottle cork to a ceramic shard from a broken plate could find its way into your creations.

Use old buttons as a substitution for beads to make necklaces, bracelets or earrings. You can attach buttons to shanks (rings), or thread chains and wires through existing holes or holes you make yourself.

Look for old hardware sitting in a junk drawer or toolbox. Washers, screws and bolts can be glued or soldered to all sorts of findings. Washers are particularly good for charms and earrings.

Make pendants out of twist-off bottle caps. Decoupage pictures from old books into the cap and use resin to create a nice seal.

Drill holes in old Scrabble tiles to create pendants or earrings. If you're missing pieces from an old game of Scrabble, this is a great way to reuse the tiles.

Keep an eye out at the local thrift shop for inexpensive vintage jewelry. Take apart several pieces of old jewelry and put the pieces back together in a different pattern.

During trips to the beach, look for sea glass and shells washed up on the shore. These can be used in place of expensive beads.


Findings — clasps, jump rings, ear wires — can be found on old jewelry from the thrift store. Look for pieces that would be easy to take apart. Also, consider reshaping paper clips into the findings you need.

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