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CraftSanity On TV: Plastic Jewelry Made From Supplies Retrieved From The Recycle Bin

If you like to make bold fashion statements on a budget, this recycled jewelry project is right up your alley. I made the earrings above out of a 7-Eleven Big Gulp beverage container that I retrieved from the recycle bin. The patterned plastic makes for a free and interesting adornment.

Even if your fashion sense is a bit more subdued, chances are there’s a little girl in your life who would love to make a new batch of dress-up accessories or a handmade gift for a friend.

The great thing about making jewelry out of discarded plastic is that you can find most of your supplies right in your recycle bin. Inspired by a recycled plastic jewelry tutorial by Nancy Minsky, author of “Denim Revolution” and my guest on CraftSanity episode 99, I decided to show “Take Five &Company” viewers how to make wild earrings and necklace pendants out of plastics from the recycle bin. Everything from shampoo containers to yogurt cups and milk jugs are fair game.

To prep, fish the most appealing plastic out of your recycle bin, remove sticker labels and rinse out the containers. Then grab a scissors, hole punch, leather punch or awl, ribbon scraps, jump rings, lanyard clips and round or square key rings and large kidney ear wire findings if you want to make earrings. (NOTE: You’ll need a tool to make holes in the plastic pieces, but don’t feel like you need to have all the other rings, clips and findings, too. You can make a recycled plastic necklace by simply stringing your pieces onto a lovely ribbon from your stash, so feel free to use what you have on hand.)

Step 1: Cut a variety of shapes out of the plastic with a sharp pair of craft scissors. (This is the part moms and dads need to prep for small children, because cutting through thick plastic can be a bit difficult. Clear milk jugs and soft drink containers are probably the easiest plastics for older children to try cutting themselves.)

Step 2: Arrange your pieces in a pleasing order and then thread them onto a ribbon, key ring, or earring finding. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of one of some recycled bling. Wear it to the office or club and enjoy the conversations you’ll start whether or not you choose to reveal that you have bubble bath containers dangling from your ears.

Here are some dress-up jewelry pieces that I made last night for my girls:

The recycled charm above was made with a combination of plastic pieces cut from bubble bath, shampoo and milk jug containers that were strung onto a square keyring which is connected to ribbon by small round split keyring.

This bold purple and white necklace charm was made by connecting each plastic piece to a lanyard clip and spacing them on a circle key ring using foam beads from my daughters’ craft stash.

To make the pink necklace, I poked two holes in each piece of plastic with a leather punch. (The leather punch goes through thick plastic easier that my paper hole punch.) Then I threaded the plastic pieces onto a piece of craft thread, knotting each one in place.

The earrings pink, purple and yellow earrings were “made for TV” as they are a bit too big for this crafty lady.

A note about this week’s TV craft segment… In case you’re wondering about my funky get-up, I’m wearing a refashioned apron behind the table made from an over-sized pair of jeans. I laughed when I saw the clip because it looks like I’m wearing a pair of “mom jeans” ripped straight from the SNL skit, which was not the look I was going for. My word! I’ll post a photo showing the whole apron later. :  )


Comments

Comment from Catherine
Time: July 17, 2009, 10:33 am

Ha – mom jeans! That’s too funny.

This jewelry style is a fun way to add color. I’m picturing loaded up hoops for the beach. I like your pink linked necklace.

Comment from Lisa
Time: July 18, 2009, 7:00 am

I have been making jewelry from upcycled plastics for a year or more and find it soooo rewarding. What I do is decoupage a lot of the plastic pieces that I find and that way I have a never-ending variety of designs for all my pieces. I am working on some pretty decoupaged bangle bracelets right now. I start by cutting the rims off of two yoghurt cups and gluing them together. That is my ‘skeleton’. I then cut thin strips from plastic bags and wrap around the skeleton until smooth. I then decoupage paper over that and then seal and varnish and wa-la! I have a beautiful bracelet. They are so lightweight and several can be worn at once for a really dramatic look. When I complete them I will send you a photo. So glad I found your blog! Lisa

Comment from Mandy
Time: July 18, 2009, 7:31 am

I look for #6 plastic and make a design and shrink it in it the oven. I put the oven on 350 it doesn’t take long so keep and eye on it. :)

Comment from Nancy Minsky
Time: July 28, 2009, 12:25 am

Jennifer,
I adore the earrings!! I am giggling with a big smile as I watch your creativity and fun with crafting something beautiful out of re-cycled plastics!

Comment from vicky
Time: August 4, 2009, 12:08 am

It is very nice.China jewelry,Jewelryget is a leading jewelry wholesaler, specialized in cheap jewelry wholesale, wholesale jewellery with high quality and top rated customer service. There are over 10,000 items cheap jewelry,fashion jewellery and jewelry Accessories, you can compare multiple cheap jewelry styles and find the latest fashion jewellery. http://www.jewelryget.com fit for shop’s collections

Comment from Rachelle
Time: March 22, 2010, 10:14 am

There are sooo many things that can be done with recycled items, especially plastics. I have knitted totebags from grocery bags. Something very similar could be done with old t-shirts. Great ideas & I love your blog!

Comment from Susi DuPuis
Time: April 1, 2010, 2:18 pm

Love it! There are so many ways to do wonderful projects with plastic! Much of the art scene regarding recycled art has been odd conglomerations of visual art that doesn’t function and has little asthetic value except as an oddity. What I enjoy the most about recycled plastic jewelry is that it is FUNCTIONAL. It takes a waste item and makes it into something that is fun, funky and WEARABLE. Go Green…GREEN BLING!

Comment from CATHY
Time: February 16, 2012, 11:10 am

You can change the shapes of your palstic pieces by using a heat gun. They curl nicely. However these are not on my web site yet. But are coming soon

Comment from jewelry
Time: October 15, 2013, 3:05 pm

When it comes down to it, collecting profitable pieces means finding the ones that are worth
a lot yet still avoiding those that may look nice, but won’t get you anything.
Silver jewelry is the kind of jewelry that can live up to any kind of occasion that
you wear it to. Two carats are very rare and usually quite expensive.

Comment from Marietta
Time: January 3, 2014, 6:21 am

The endless diversity of materials involved in making handcrafted jewelry signifies
that this unique jewelry is within a class of the own. If most
of us do our part, gold mining to be sure will change forever, so we
will practically eliminate its greatest environmental liability.
Some of these watches have bracelet bands, and have precious gemstones including diamonds about the front from the bracelet and mother of pearl around the face in the watch.

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Some sellers are comfortable with combining shipping if you
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Comment from Rosetta
Time: January 4, 2014, 1:26 pm

Some are very old and valuable, not just in currency either, but in sentimental value.
If you make your own linen curtains, the leftover scraps make gorgeous holiday wrappings for
gifts. Complete this step until you have a big
strand of paper garland in red and green.

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