How to Use Broken or Unused Jewelry to Make Christmas Ornaments

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Broken or unused jewelry should rarely just be thrown away. Instead, considering using it to make other things. One fabulous way to use broken or unused jewelry is in the making of Christmas ornaments. Follow the steps below to make beautiful, unique ornaments for your family and friends.

Things You'll Need

  • Plain Christmas ornaments (silk, plastic, or glass; colored or clear; sizes and shapes of your choice)
  • Remnants of trim such as decorative rope or braid, ribbon, and/or lace
  • Embellishments such as flowers, pearls, jewels, or glitter
  • Foil shreds
  • Fake snow
  • Confetti
  • Craft paint (dimensional, pearlized, stain glass, or other paint of your choice.
  • Glue (appropriate to the type of materials being used)
  • Wire cutters

How to Use Broken or Unused Jewelry to Make Christmas Ornaments

  • Make some general initial decisions about the ornaments you want to make. Decide on the "type" of ornament you want to use for your base. Typical options include silk, plastic, or glass. Determine the color(s) of your base ornaments or settle on clear that can be left that way or customized within the interior. Finally decide on the size(s) and shape(s) of the ornaments you want to make.

  • Decide what you want the ornament design to be. You may even want to roughly sketch out a few basic ideas based around the jewelry pieces you plan to use. Based on your decisions, determine the materials you will use to make the ornaments. These might include things such as decorative roping or braiding, lace, and/or ribbon as well as other embellishments like pearls or jewels, glitter, flowers, or something of your own choosing. If you are using clear ornaments that you want to decorate with a special interior, you need to make decisions about that as well. Typical things used to stuff clear ornaments include foil shreds, fake snow, confetti, jewels, and glitter. However, you may have your own unique twist to add to the design.

  • If you don't have all of the materials on hand that you have identified, now is the time to make your purchases.

  • Prepare the jewelry for application to the ornament. That means cutting off (with wire cutters) any excess pieces, sharp edges or parts that are not part of the design.

  • Paint a design onto the ornament using the appropriate type of craft paint, if that is part of your overall design. You could, for example, paint roses and rosebuds for a beautiful Victorian design or geometric shapes for an Art Deco look. Use dimensional paint to add more texture in your design; pearlized paint for a dreamy look; or stained glass paint for a sheer color wash.

  • Glitter the outside of the ornament before beginning any embellishment, if background glitter is to be part of your design. Spray glitters provide a sheer wash of glitter and are easier to apply on shaped items such as ornaments. Glitter paints can apply the glitter in shapes like lines if that is preferred. While not recommended because of the difficulty of applying other embellishments to the ornaments, it is also possible to paint glue onto the piece and then roll in glitter for an complete application. Make sure that the glitter is thoroughly dry before moving on to the next step.

  • Adhere any trim that is planned within your ornament design. For example, you might want to put a row of decorative braid or roping around the ornament or down the sides. Another idea is to add a row of strung pearls or rhinestones. Just make certain that all of the trim applied is secure and dry before moving on to the next step.

  • Secure your jewelry piece(s) to the ornament according to your design. For example, you could adhere a broken cameo brooch to the ornament with glue that is appropriate to the materials being used or use a single chandelier earring as the ornament's focal point. Be creative in your design to make a truly unique, one-of-a-kind piece. Make certain that your jewelry piece(s) are secure and dry before moving on to the next step.

  • Add any additional embellishments that you want to your ornament. For example, cluster a group of ribbon roses in various sizes around the top and/or bottom of the piece; add a decorative tassel to the bottom of the ornament; or add accent jewels that match or coordinate with your jewelry piece.

  • Stuff clear ornaments with your chosen materials, if that is part of your design. Stuffing materials can include things such as foil shreds, fake snow, glitter, jewels, or anything of your choice that will fit within the ornament.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make a box of handmade ornaments for a very special and personalized Christmas gift.
  • Monogram ornaments by applying the initial of the intended receiver in paint, jewels, or glitter.
  • Design each ornament to fit the personality of the person it is going to.
  • Vary the size and/or shape of the ornaments to add interest and fun to the gift.
  • Be creative and have fun with the idea. The only limitation is your imagination.
  • Do not try to use hot glue on any ornaments. Instead opt for a lower temperature choice or another type of glue.
  • Be aware that glittering an ornament too much may result in difficulty adhering other items to the piece.

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