On Etsy.com, where I have my online shop, I am part of a team of other wonderful creatives who share my passion for upcycling. Each month, Team Upcyclers hosts a challenge: one of the team members chooses an item to upcycle - like wine corks, old sweaters or old neck ties - and the other team members respond by submitting new and innovative ways of reusing and repurposing the challenge item. You can see some of the past challenges by visiting the Team Upcyclers Blog.
This month the upcycle challenge was to find a use for old and broken jewelry. This was a timely challenge for me because I recently acquired a few shoe boxes full of old and broken jewelry from my Mom and a couple aunts. I have reused a lot of the jewelry from these generous ladies to make other jewelry, but there are a few odds and ends that I can't use to make jewelry. This month's Team Upcyclers challenge provided the perfect opportunity to come up with some ideas.
One night, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea of what to do. Why not spruce up an old jewelry box by using old jewelry? It was hard to get back to sleep as I imagined the possibilities.
This week, I headed off to a local reuse centre (the Burlington Reuse Centre - bar none, my favourite place to shop), in search of a jewelry box in need of some love. I found this adorable little jewelry box with a drawer. It was pretty dirty and had a few chinks taken out of the finish, so I figured it was a perfect candidate for some upcycled glory.
After taking it home and cleaning it, the first thing I did was sand down most of the dark finish to smooth out some of the chinks and scratches. Then, I picked through my stash of 80s earrings, broken brooches and partner-less earrings to see what ensemble would work. The moment I saw this box at the reuse centre, I knew I could use some old earrings as drawer pulls . . . a moment of upcycling destiny, I'd say.
I decided to go with a pearl theme. I picked out some post back earrings and a brooch that had fallen apart (on the right in the photo). I also used some earring posts that had lost their dangled attachments.
Post back earrings are perfect for this sort of project because the posts can be used as pins for attaching to surfaces. I cut down each post at an angle to create a sharp pinpoint. Then, I arranged all the pieces the way I wanted them. Based on my layout, I drilled tiny holes into the wood, into which I could insert the earrings. Before pinning the earrings into the wood, I added some glue (my beloved Weldbond), just to make sure everything stayed secure. I attached the brooch pieces with glue, tucking them underneath and between the earring pieces.
And here's the result! I'm pretty happy with how this little jewelry box turned out, and I think it will make a great addition to the top of my dresser. Thanks to the Team Upcyclers challenge, I got motivated to rethink, and found a new purpose for some long-neglected implements of fashion.
Jane Hogeterp Koopman
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