Raid the Toy Box for this Recycled Jewelry Project

You’ll have to look closely to spot the upcycled components in this fun piece. I combined common jewelry components with a few non-traditional items, such as rubber washers, checkers, and nail polish for a clever spin on this recycled jewelry project.

Debbie Blair raided the toy box to bring you a bold necklace made with recycled checkers and other unexpected items. (Photo by Sharon White Photography)

Materials

  • Hole punch pliers, 2mm
  • Checkers game pieces, 2
  • Acrylic paint (I used DecoArt® Plaid®Americana® paint in Light Buttermilk and DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Bronze.)
  • Paintbrush(es)
  • Cotton swab
  • Inkpad (I used Ranger Tim Holtz® Distress® Archival Ink pad in Vintage Photo.)
  • Wire cutters
  • Rope chain, 18″ of 20mm/25mm/30mm copper long-and-short rope chain
  • Jewelry adhesive (I used Beadalon® G-S Hypo Cement®.)
  • Nail polish (I used teal nail polish.)
  • Metal bead (I used a 15 x 9mm pewter bee bead.)
  • Steel wool, or Vintaj® Metal Reliefing Block
  • 24-gauge wire, 60″ (I used antique brass.)
  • Rubber washers, two 1″
  • Metal washer, one ¾″
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon, 21″ x ½″ (I used brown-and-white polkadot cotton ribbon.)
  • Metal blank, 25mm (I used a round copper blank from Beaducation.)
  • Masking tape
  • Bench block
  • Jewelry hammer
  • Metal stamps
    • Alphabet stamp set (I used a 3mm set.)
    • Decorative stamp (I used a flower stamp.)
  • Permanent marker, fine point (I used a fine-point Sharpie®.)
  • Pro-Polish pad
  • Dapping block with corresponding punch
  • Pliers
    • Chain- or flat-nose, 2 pair
    • Round-nose
  • Jump rings
    • 1 copper 5mm
    • 3 copper 9mm rope jump rings
  • Lobster clasp, 7 x 12mm (I used a copper clasp.)
  • Beads
    • 4 bronze size 8/0 seed beads
    • 11 assorted 8–17mm glass, resin, and wood beads (I used aqua and brown beads.)
  • Embroidery floss, 1 skein (I used teal floss.)

Prepare the components

1. Use the hole punch pliers to punch a hole at the top and bottom of each checker.

2. Paint all sides of the checkers with acrylic paint. Let dry. You will need 2–3 coats of paint for complete coverage. I used Light Buttermilk paint.

3. Using a cotton swab, apply ink from the inkpad to the raised design on the front of each checker. (FIGURE 1) Paint the ridged border of each checker. I used Bronze paint. Let dry.

FIGURE 1 (Step-out photos by Debbie Blair)

4. Using wire cutters, remove two 25mm links from the rope chain and attach 1 chain link to the face of each checker using jewelry adhesive. Position the link so it encircles the raised design.

5. Apply nail polish to the metal bead. Let dry, then buff the raised areas using steel wool or a reliefing block.

6. Slip a 3″ piece of 24-gauge wire through the opening in one of the rubber washers, leaving a ¾″ tail near the washer and the other end of the wire longer. Bend both ends of the wire straight up to the top of the washer. Create a small loop on the short end of the wire, close to the washer, and wrap the long wire around the base of the loop to create a wrapped-loop bail; trim if necessary. (FIGURE 2) Attach a second wrapped-loop bail on the same washer, positioning it opposite the first wrapped-loop bail. Repeat for the 2 remaining washers.

FIGURE 2

7. Cut a 7″ length of ribbon. Place a dab of jewelry adhesive on one end of the ribbon and affix the ribbon to the back side of one of the rubber washers. Wrap the ribbon tightly around the washer, making sure the ribbon lies flat on both sides. (FIGURE 3) Add a dab of adhesive to the end of the ribbon and affix the ribbon to the back side of the washer. Repeat for the 2 remaining washers.

FIGURE 3

NOTE: When wrapping the smallest washer, first cut the ribbon in half lengthwise and use only half, or use a narrower ribbon.

8. Place the copper blank on the bench block and place a strip of tape along the top to hold it in place. Use the metal alphabet stamps to stamp the desired words on the top half of the blank (I chose the words “Be happy”). Hold the stamp perpendicular to the blank, and strike the blank once with the hammer for each letter. (FIGURE 4) Stamp a design below the words (I chose a flower). Use a permanent marker to color in the stamped words and design, then buff the surface of the blank with the Pro-Polish pad to reveal the stamped impressions.

FIGURE 4

9. Place the stamped blank into the dapping block, stamped side down. Set the corresponding punch on top of the blank, and use the hammer to dome the blank. (FIGURE 5)

FIGURE 5

10. Using 2 pairs of pliers, remove one 30mm link from the chain by grasping each side of the link at the opening with a pair of pliers and twisting them in opposite directions. Open the 5mm jump ring in the same manner, and fasten the stamped blank to the 30mm link, attaching it so that the blank sits inside the link. (SEE OPENING IMAGE.)

Assembly

The components will be strung together using wrapped loops, one after another.

1. Cut the remaining chain into 2 sections: One section should be approximately 5″ long, with a 30mm link on one end and a 20mm link on the other end for hooking the clasp. The other section should be approximately 5¾″ long, with a 30mm link on one end and a 25mm link on the opposite end.

2. Use a 9mm rope jump ring to attach the clasp to the 25mm link on the 5¾″ section of chain, using the technique in step 10. Attach another 9mm rope jump ring to the 30mm link at the opposite end of the chain.

3. Form a wrapped loop on one end of a 2½″ piece of wire: Form a 90° bend about ¾″ from the end of the wire. Use round-nose pliers to form a simple loop with a tail overlapping the bend, (FIGURE 6) and place the loop onto the jump ring on the 30mm link. Wrap the tail tightly down the neck of the wire 2–3 times. (FIGURE 6) Trim the excess wire. Slide 1 seed bead, 1 wood round bead, and another seed bead onto the wire, and form another wrapped loop.

FIGURE 6 (Photo courtesy of Beadwork magazine)

NOTE: The seed beads prevent the wood bead from sliding down onto the wrapped loop.

4. Cut 2″ of wire and form a simple loop as before, sliding the loop into the wrapped loop from step 3, then wrap the tail tightly down the neck of the wire to form a wrapped loop. (FIGURE 6) Slide 1 small round bead onto the wire and form another wrapped loop that attaches to one washer.

5. Cut 3″ of wire, slip it through the top hole in one checker, and form a wrapped loop bail like you did on the washers. String 1 medium round bead onto the long portion of the wire and form a simple loop, sliding it onto the loop on the bottom of the previous washer, then wrap the tail to form a wrapped loop.

6. Cut 3″ of wire to form a wrapped loop bail at the bottom of the same checker. String 1 small round bead onto the wire and form a wrapped loop. Cut 2½″ of wire and form a simple loop, sliding the loop into the previous wrapped loop, then wrap the tail tightly to form a wrapped loop. String 1 large round bead onto the wire and form another wrapped loop. (FIGURE 7)

FIGURE 7

7. Cut 2″ of wire and form a simple loop, sliding the loop into the previous wrapped loop, then wrap the tail tightly to form a wrapped loop. String 1 small round bead onto the wire, form a simple loop, slip the loop through the chain link surrounding the pendant so it sits to the right side of the pendant, and wrap the tail to form a wrapped loop. Make this loop large enough to slide freely on the chain link surrounding the pendant. (FIGURE 7)

8. Attach one 9mm rope jump ring to the 30mm link on the remaining section of chain. Repeat steps 3–7 to form the other half of the necklace, attaching the components in the following order: 1 small washer, 1 medium round bead, 1 checker, 1 small round bead, 1 large washer, 1 medium round bead, 1 wood round bead, and 1 small round bead.

Create the tassel

1. Wrap approximately 7′ of embroidery floss around your fingers. The more times you wrap the floss, the thicker the tassel will be. (FIGURE 8) Slide a 3″ piece of wire through the center of the floss loops, bend one end of the wire straight up, and wrap the other end tightly around the straight wire 2–3 times, trimming the excess as needed.

FIGURE 8

2. String the metal bead onto the straight wire so that it touches the tassel. (FIGURE 9) Use the wire above the bead to form a simple loop. Slip the loop through the bottom of the chain link surrounding the stamped pendant and wrap the wire tail to form a wrapped loop. (FIGURE 10)

FIGURE 9
FIGURE 10

3. Holding the top of the tassel, tightly wrap 5″ of wire around the floss, just below the metal bead. Use scissors to cut the other end of the tassel, trimming the ends as desired. (SEE OPENING IMAGE.)

Think outside the box when searching for components to use in your next jewelry project, and have fun!


Debbie Blair is the former editor of Jewelry, Stringing, and Beadwork magazines. With a degree in fine art and a background in graphic design, she currently enjoys the challenge of teaching art and jewelry classes in her local community. Visit her online at pinkdahliacreative.com.


This Jewelry Box article also appears in our Fall 2018 edition of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Check out our lookbook preview to see more of the exciting recycled art ideas inside this issue!

Categories

Art to Wear, Blog, Mixed-Media Jewelry, Mixed-Media Techniques

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