DIY: Handmade Costume Jewelry Bracelet

When I was little, I absolutely detested family photos. And, whenever I sensed the corralling of family members for a portrait, I’d take off. At my grandma’s house, this meant hiding in the depths of the dress up closet. Nestled between party dresses and satin heels, I’d sit quietly until the photo was over. And resting in my lap was a tin box lavishly decorated with a delicate floral design. Inside this lovely box, there was jewelry. Bold colored beads and sparkling cut glass broaches, rhinestone bracelets and large magnificent earrings woven together in one large tangled mess.

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As it turns out, my affinity for the broken bounty was not overlooked. When it came time to sell the home, having recognized my love for creating new relics from tired treasures, my grandma granted me my choice of any and all costume pieces. Nevermind their chipped colors and broken links, hundreds of necklaces of all shapes and sizes were now mine – and my love for jewelry making was born.

Broken items were fully disassembled and categorized into sectioned boxes. More contemporary pieces were set aside for reference and admiration. I still pull from this original selection of glass, bone, wooden, ceramic, metal and plastic beads. Looking for conversations in color, size and material I build unique handmade costume jewelry with a bit of history intertwined. Memories are strung into each custom costume jewelry bracelet as I often come across a certain bead that holds a story. This is what makes these handmade pieces so unique. It’s what allows us to carry our mothers and grandmothers with us in our day to day.

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To create your own recycled costume jewelry bracelet, spread your beads, old and new, across a cloth or pour them onto a platter. Begin to dig for common colors but allow various materials to find companionship. (My current crushes are hues of blue and clear beads coupled with brass and tarnished silver).

Lay your choices in a line until you discover the winning combination or string them together on memory wire (I used CreativeS gold plated 3.6″ diameter Necklace Memory Wire), found at any bead store. Be sure to alternate the types and sizes of your beads to optimize the effect of your custom costume jewelry bracelet. Once you’re pleased with your design, create a loop on each end with a pair of jewelry pliers (needle nose pliers tend to work best). Attach a clasp on your loops or tie the ends together with a cut of elastic ribbon or twine to complete your original costume jewelry bracelet.

Show us your creations and tell us your stories. We’d love to hear from you. Or contact us to commission a custom piece (we’ll even incorporate your heirloom bead).

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4 Responses to “DIY: Handmade Costume Jewelry Bracelet”

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  3. Drew Says:

    I went to a bead store in Kansas City called World’s Window with girlfriends a couple of times. I don’t think it’s there anymore, but they had more beads than you could shake a beat at. I didn’t even realize there was such a thing as a bead store, but I guess the beaded curtain makers have to shop somewhere.

  4. Ashley Says:

    A cheap way to grow a collection of one of a kind beads is to look for the stash of random, mixed beads at bead store that offers jewlery making classes. You can usually buy a pre-mad bag or create your own bag from the random bead leaftovers for a total steal!

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