Fashionable Upcycling: Recycled Rhinestone Necklace

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The completed Recycled Rhinestone Necklace project

The beauty of DIY is that creative potential can be found in practically anything. For instance, you can turn plastic packaging scraps into a sparkling statement piece. This project is a great way to celebrate Earth Day in style (or any other day, for that matter).

A closeup of the Recycled Rhinestone Necklace project

The supplies used for the Recycled Rhinestone Necklace project

Supplies:

– Plastic packaging (for holding fruits or vegetables, such as strawberry containers)
– Flat-back, adhesive rhinestones
– 3-in-1 pliers
– Candle and lighter
– 2 strands of chunky curb chain (at least 8 inches/20.32 centimeters)
– Set of jewelry clasps
– 1-2 straight pins
– 2 jump rings  (8mm)
– Scissors
– E6000 (or strong craft glue or Super Glue)

Plastic fruit packaging is cut apart to be used for a recycled pendant

1. From the plastic packaging, cut out a portion that is perfectly flat and free of any indents.

Plastic packaging is used to create a recycled triangle pendant

2. Cut out a triangle measuring about 1.5 x 1.5 x 2 inches (3.81 x 3.81 x 5.08 centimeters). If you are using bigger rhinestones, feel free to cut out a bigger triangle.

Tip: Instead of cutting the plastic little by little, try one big “snip” at a time. This will increase the likelihood of cutting a straight edge.

A straight pin is heated over a flame in order to pierce a hole through plastic

3. Carefully light the candle. Hold a pin over the flame for just long enough to heat up the sharp end (no more than 5 seconds).

A heated straight pin is used to pierce a hole through recycled plastic

4. Without setting down the pin, hold the plastic with your other hand and quickly pierce the top corner. If it is hot enough, it will pass through the plastic and create a hole. If not, briefly pass the needle back through the flame again and re-pierce the hole.

A closeup of the pendant made from recycled plastic

5. The hole will look a little something like this.

A closeup of the pendant made from recycled plastic

6. Repeat on the opposite corner.

Jewelry pliers are used to attach jump rings to the recycled plastic pendant

7. Using the pliers, add a jump ring to each hole.

A rhinestone pattern is glued to the plastic pendant

8. Glue down the rhinestones of your choice.

A closeup of rhinestones glued onto the recycled plastic pendant

9. Let dry overnight.

Jewelry pliers are used to attach chain to each jump ring

10. Attach a strand of chain to each of the jump rings.

A cloesup of the Recycled Rhinestone Necklace project

When you’re making the rhinestone pattern, think of the plastic as your blank canvas. The possibilities are truly endless. Try using different materials, such as flat-back pearls, colored rhinestones, studs and even metallic spray paint. Regardless of your personalized combination, you’ll be well on your way to some serious fashionable recycling.

The completed Recycled Rhinestone Necklace project

Photo credit: Kirsten Nunez

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