I recently participated in a steampunk charm swap on Craftster.org. I received six great charms, but there was one problem: I don’t wear bracelets. I sat down yesterday to make the charms into necklaces so I could wear them, and a funny thing happened. Instead of just hooking the charms to a chain and calling it good, I started to play. An hour later, and a new necklace emerged. Then another, then another. I spent the whole evening playing and making necklaces, and let me tell you: it was so much fun to craft just for fun (and not for deadlines, as much as I love you guys!)

(the original charm)

The good news is, I used dollar store stuff to make some of these, so I can share them with you! Sometimes you can find jewelry-making supplies at your dollar store. I found all these green and purple beads and the silvery chain and jump rings at the dollar store. I had the brown wire and other assorted beads in my stash, and the centerpiece on this necklace (the part with the gears and the mini scrabble tile) was one of the swapped charms.

Project Materials:

  • Old jewelry, on hand
  • Wire, light or medium gauge, on hand or $1 and up
  • Craft glue or E6000, on hand
  • Assorted beads, chain, etc., on hand or $1 and up
  • Wire cutters, on hand or $1
  • Needle-nosed pliers, on hand or $1
  • Optional: other jewelry-making tools like round-nose pliers, soft-nose pliers, etc., on hand or $1 and up

Total: FREE and up

You might already have these tools and supplies on hand. If you are a jewelry-making newbie, you will want to buy a few things: wire cutters and needle-nosed pliers (both can be found at the dollar store in the floral, craft, or hardware departments), jump rings, clasps, chain, and floral wire should get you started. You should be able to get this stuff for around $10-20 (depends on what your dollar store has).

So, you don’t have to participate in a swap to remake old jewelry. Do you have any old jewelry lying around that you haven’t worn in awhile? Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, whatever. You can even use buttons or other bits that aren’t strictly jewelry. I often use broken jewelry parts in my projects. Use your trusty craft glue (or my favorite, E6000) to glue pieces together to make a charm (like the steampunk one here), or wire everything together (like the necklace at the top).

See Page 2 for how-to and tips –>