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Repurpose Old Jewelry Into Ornaments
We hate to see the life of a wonderful sparkly piece of jewelry end just because fashions have changed, a link has bent or broke or a stone has become loose or lost. Whether it is sentimental fashion jewelry that you wore in high school, grandma's beads or a garage sale find, this tutorial will give you some ideas of how you can repurpose that sparkle for the holidays.
Christmas ornaments can be used to decorate the tree, on wreaths, in decorative arrangements, on gift packages and cards or... bundled together as a housewarming gift or favor. Use your imagination on both making and giving these wonderful ornaments–and better yet, share the fun with family or friends to make this a holiday DIY craft tradition.
Ornament making is a family tradition in my house. One of our favorites was these bead and wire ornaments and they are a great way to use up extra craft materials.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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Selecting a Jewelry Item
For this sample project, I selected a gorgeous royal blue plastic rhinestone necklace that is missing one of the stones. The chances of finding a replacement stone aren't good, and to be honest, this isn't something I would get much wear out of.
The necklace is made of cup chain, which is a series of cups with prongs that hold the stones. The cups are connected by small pieces of metal that slide in and out of the cup, making the chain expand and contract and bend into soft curves.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Tools for Disassembling Jewelry
The first thing I did was assess how I could use the necklace. Blue is not a traditional Christmas holiday color, but it reminded me of the sparkle of ice and snow. The necklace is also flexible and easy to divide into sections with simple cuts from a hardware store wire cutter.
For this project, do not use your good jewelry making flush cutters, or even your good pliers. Fashion jewelry is made with a variety of different metals and it can be much harder to cut. I have several cutters and pliers... that I purchased at Harbor Freight that are inexpensive. For this project, I am using 5 inch micro flush cutters.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Components for Ornaments
After separating the necklace, there are two small pieces of cup chain to make into icicle ornaments, two longer pieces of embellished cup chain that will become wreath ornaments and a necklace extender to save for a future project.
There is one extra wreath component that was used to remove and replace the missing rhinestone. Some rhinestones are glued, but luckily these are not. By carefully bending the prongs back on each cup, I was able to remove the rhinestone, apply a dab of E6000 jewelry... glue and put it in the empty cup and close the prongs back in place. Refer to this chart of craft and jewelry glue to be find the right one for the materials you are working with.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Shaping the Wreath
With each piece of chain cut, adjust the material to the final shape. In this case, I am making a wreath.
One helpful tip about working with cup chain is that it is most flexible when the connecting piece of metal is slid into the cups and the chain is compressed than when it is stretched out. I found this out by trial and error.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Stabilize the Frame
Since cup chain is naturally flexible, I needed to find a way to make it stiff. For the wreath ornament, I made a small frame from black steel wire used for picture hanging. It is 20g wire and stiffer than similar sized copper wire. Select something that blends with the ornament and will not be obvious from the front. In this case, I thought a square shape was easier to make and less obvious from the front of the ornament. I used dabs of hot glue to attach the frame to the jewelry.
Another option... to secure your jewelry pieces is to use glue to attach the jewelry components to stiff felt.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Add a Ribbon Hanger
Add a piece of coordinating ribbon to hang your ornament. The design of the hanging loop and how you choose to attach it are all personal preference. For some ornaments, I used the glue gun to attach the ribbon, for others, I added it to the frame. You could also use wire to make a fancy hook.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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I used the same technique to make icicle ornaments. To give the cup chain stability, cut a piece of wire long enough to stretch the entire length of the chain. Holding it in place, use glue to secure the wire to the cup chain.
This piece of cup chain has the added benefit of a soldered loop on one end. If this was not there, I would have added a wrapped loop to one end of the chain to add a ribbon hanger.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Add a Ribbon Hanger
Slide a length of ribbon into the loop. Line up both ends and tie an overhand knot by making a loop and pulling both ends through. Pull on the ends to tighten the knot.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Ornaments from Old Jewelry
The finished jewelry ornaments look as good as any that you can purchase in the store! Whether you use jewelry that has sentimental appeal or pieces you saved from a garage sale or thrift store, you can create precious memories when you make these ornaments and hang them on the tree each year or share them as gifts.