Posts tagged "jewellery"

Recycled Christmas – upcycle trash into handmade presents

Perhaps it’s just the blogs I read but it seems like more people than ever are thinking of making gifts this Christmas.

There are lots of suggestions out there for making biscuits, cakes or jams, or knitting or crocheting something pretty — but if you’re after a truly frugal Christmas, all those ingredients & yarns add up: what about things which you can make by reusing/recycling/upcycling things from around the home?

Here are my favourite ideas for simple & frugal upcycled Christmas presents:

1. Hankies

Handkerchiefs are easy to make from any soft old cotton fabric – bedding or clothing for example. They’re simple but always useful – and help the recipient cut down on their disposable tissue usage too.

Don’t feel they have to be boring white – I made the ones in the picture out of an old pink gingham shirt – and consider monogramming/embroidering them to make them extra special.

(Use 100% cotton fabric where possible and 100% cotton yarn too so that they can handle being washed at a hot temperature if needs be.)
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Recycled into Jewellery – more beautiful items made from rubbish

With all the buy-stuff events coming up over the next couple of months – and because it’s generally wonderful and inspiring, I thought it was high time we had another look around the world of upcycled jewellery – the stuff people are making by reusing and recycling random things that would otherwise be headed for landfill.

What are your favourite pieces? Do you have any other great examples of random stuff recycled or upcycled into jewellery?

Interesting reducing, reusing & recycling links

(Photo by Care for DollarStoreCrafts)

Upcycling advice: how can I reuse/recycle cans to make jewellery?

We’ve had an email from Pauline:

I would like to use steel and aluminium cans to make jewelery. Do you know how to cut the metal out? Should the can be crushed first? Do you know how to smooth the edges so they don’t cut? If you could throw any light on this or point me to a website as I am not getting much coming up in google at the moment? Thanks.

I’ve made numerous things out of drinks cans (all aluminium I think) over the years and have mostly just used scissors for the cutting – it’s not as hard to cut as you’d think. I might use a can opener to remove the lid or a knife to start a hole in the body but then scissors suffice. I typically cut down the print “seam” and around the top & bottom to remove the curve so am left with a flat rectangle of metal.

(I’ve tried using shaped hole punches on cans but only lightweight ones so not had much success. Alison Bailey Smith has talked about the heavy duty ones she uses on plastic – I wonder if they’d be good on metal.)

And if the edges are smooth, not jagged, they’re also not as sharp as you might think. I’m not saying I’d necessarily want to wear them as jewellery in their nude state but in all my making, I’ve not once cut myself. Anyone got any tips for making the edges safer though?

Finally, anyone made any interesting jewellery from cans – or seen any inspiring examples of work around the wonderful worldwide web?

How can I reuse or recycle body jewellery?

We’ve had an email from Toni:

Do you know of any charities that collect used body piercing jewellery? Everyone seems to want gold and these aren’t gold they’re steel. Your earring suggestions don’t apply either because they’re ring and bars.

Marie Curie’s jewellery recycling scheme claims to accept anything – real or costume, broken or working – so I would have thought from a melt-it-down-for-scrap point of view, they’d accept them.

I’ve heard of some body piercers reusing barbells – they have to sterilised them anyway before use and some items are only used for a couple of weeks before being replaced (for example, borrowing from my own experience, the longer bars used for the few swollen weeks after tongue piercings). But I’d be dubious about that, even sterilised, because of how even small nicks & scratches on the jewellery can increase the risk of infection.

Any better reuses or definite recycling ideas for barbells and CBRs (captive bead rings)? What about plugs and tunnels? Anyone done any fun upcycling/repurposing with them?