junk jewelry

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It never ceases to amaze me all the upcycled jewelry ideas I find online and just messing around with my own collection of crafty supplies.

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite DIY upcycling jewelry projects that you can use as inspiration for making your own necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and more out of old reused materials you can find at home or at your favorite thrift stores and flea markets.


Here are some fun Upcycled Jewelry Ideas for You to Try:

Paper Magazine Bead Bracelets, Necklaces, and More

Paper Beads
Paper Beads

If you can make paper magazine beads, your possibilities are endless! They are relatively easy to make – just cut up magazine pages into strips, add some glue, roll around a toothpick and voila! Beautiful multi-colored beads!

Funky Fabric Bracelets:

These are super fun to make – just take some old yarn or twine, fabric and ribbons, as well as any old charms or beads you have from your old craft projects and mix and match to make funky fabric bracelets!

Prayer Bracelet:

Broken rosaries and chains and beaded necklaces with religious figures can be upcycled into a beautiful prayer bracelet. Much better than keeping all that stuff collecting dust in your drawers!

Recycled Watches:

Take old broken watches and turn them into new watches {you’ll probably need to replace the battery or have fixed by a jeweler} – or take the watch parts off of the bands and turn into mixed media masterpieces or use for earrings, bracelet charms, necklace pendants and more!

Old Hardware:

Everybody has that container of misc. old hardware in their garage, basement, or junk drawer. Turn those washers and bolts into beads and charms! You can even paint them with metal adhering paint.

Salt Shaker Lids:

These already have holes in them and make for a great pendant for a necklace! You can attach images inside or add broken jewelry to the lid to make even prettier!

Small Miniature Toys:

Think little mini-car figures or dolls or that sort of thing – these can all be reused as jewelry trinkets in your creative process!

Turn Belts Into Bracelets:

Fabric or Leather Belts can easily be turned into leather cuffs or you can use the belt buckle hardware for pendants and charms for other projects.

Use Broken Jewelry for Canvas Art:

Going to the thrift store? Grab one ugly art canvas, load up on broken costume jewelry and using your handy dandy E6000 glue and get to work attaching the broken pieces to the canvas! Then you can spray paint or just leave in its natural state! You’ll have a very original, unique piece of art you will love and won’t believe you made yourself!

Plastic Bottles:

Take plastic bottles {think soda bottles, milk and juice containers, etc…} – and punch heart or circle shaped pieces and attach to a necklace or bracelet. Beautiful and eco-friendly!

Blue Jeans:

Cut your blue jeans that don’t fit anymore into strips, and braid into beautiful bracelets!

Paper Rolls:

Use paper rolls from cardboard tubes, tapes, wrapping paper, etc. to use as a base for a cuff bracelet and then decorate with all your found objects and broken bits and pieces!

Use Too-Small Rings on Necklaces

When I had outgrown some of the rings I had as a young kid/teenager – I simply put them around an old chain and wore them that way!


What can’t you do with buttons? Seriously, of course they would look great on a number of different reuse and recycle jewelry projects!

Bottle Caps

Bottle caps are great to use as beads for necklaces – simply punch a hole in the top and string together in any sort of fashion as you’d like. Looking for other ideas for ways to use bottle caps? Check out our tutorial on how to make bottle cap magnets here.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head – I’m sure you can think of some other great ones to add to this list! And if you make something let us know – we’d love to see it! 🙂 Comments are always welcome below!

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