Saturday, January 17, 2015

Designing Jewelry on a Budget

Making More ... but Spending Less!

by Donna of DonnasArtisanDesigns

One of the things I love most about making jewelry is the fact that you can do so much with so little! You don’t have to have a lot of money to create fun and unique jewelry. All you need is a good imagination and a few basic supplies. 

In fact I have found the less I have in the way of materials, the more I use my imagination to make some pretty clever designs. The first thing I’d recommend is a trip to a few of your local thrift shops or yard sales. Mom’s and Grandma’s old jewelry is always a great place to start. Even broken nicknacks they no longer want are good.

Next, hit your craft area for a few basics such as fabric scraps or sewing notions, glue, glitter, mod podge, nail polish, stickers, decorative paper, clay, crayons or color pencils, etc.…I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the idea. 

You also want to be savvy as to what is trendy in jewelry for the season, which is easy enough to find out - through internet searches, magazines or local shops and boutiques. You might even go to your local mall and people watch. Not only is it a fun activity; it’s a great excuse to spend time with a friend or family member!
Once you have a general idea of the direction you may want to go in, you're halfway there. While you’re out doing your “research” or finding those huge bags of old costume jewelry to “disassemble” more than likely something will catch your eye and your imagination will probably kick in. 

Here’s an example of a few ideas. I love collecting unique bottles, glass, ceramics, etc. My curious kitten went exploring through some beautiful colored glass bottles I had found at a thrift store. Unfortunately she broke several of them, and I was heartbroken.

I had seen something about making your own faux beach glass and I have an inexpensive tumbler (you can buy them used, of course).

Some of my favorite creative moments came from unloading a big bag of thrift store jewelry, looking through it and planning what I might do with it.


Usually when you find something a tad “different” in my jewelry chances are that it includes something I re-purposed, some of these date back to when I first started making  jewelry.
Now put your thinking caps on …What do thrift store belts, glitter, clay, scrap wire and metal combined with imagination get you?

Take a look at what I do with them!

Of course I don’t have the market on the three “R’s” (reduce, recycle, reuse) so many of my talented team mates have created beautiful jewelry items and still remain eco-friendly. 

Here are a few…

Bob from ArtJewelerNYC made these beauties from fine silver…that’s the best quality silver you can find!


Now if you want unique, Kerry from Wandering Jeweler  does amazing things by recycling bicycle parts. 

Obviously recycling has come a long way when you can find something this nice from a Grey Goose Bottle as Lynn from BeadzNBling has offered here. 


Our team leader “Emo”of Emotional Oasis is passionate about using found items, her love of glass and the outdoors is quite evident here in these wind chimes. 

One of my favorite jewelry artists is Norah, also uses recycled fine silver to make the very popular Wax Seal Jewelry line she offers at her shop Your Daily Jewels. 

So... have I stretched your imagination or creativity a bit? Why not test it out and go on an adventure to see what might fire your imagination with a creative spark?

If you love some of these shops as much as I do check out JETTEAM in an Etsy search to find something that speaks to you personally!!


Urban Pearl Studio said...

Fabulous, Donna. So creative and resourceful! Thank you for sharing this great post!!

Jean Sandell said...

Wonderful ideas, Donna!!!

mjsee said...

Well written and informative article! Of I want a tumbler...

Erin Austin said...

Fun read. Some of my favorite things to incorporate in jewelry are found objects like beach pottery and sea glass. Finding them is at least half the fun!

TheSilverBear said...

What an inspirational blog! Well done, darlin'! xox

Erika Price said...

Great read, Donna! You've inspired me to do something with my broken bottles too!

capitalcitycrafts said...

Great article! I know sometimes I get so bogged down with techniques and tools , less really can be more!

Gemstones on My Mind said...

Oh, if only I had kept all those broken pieces over the years. This is such a great way to keep some fond memories close to your heart. And a fun exercise in "creativity" with the grandkids too. You're so contagious, Donna!

Rough Magic Mollie said...

Wonderful article, beautifully illustrated! I'll read this again and again! :)

MadeByTammy said...

Fantastic blog article, Donna!
So true - Less is more!

Judith Lott said...

Thanks for the great article!