SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Build a Custom Jewelry Kit | Family Economics

By Cathe

If there are occasions when you wish you had the perfect costume jewelry to coordinate with an outfit, but your accessory department lacks much diversity, there’s a way to create custom jewelry for fairly cheap. Build your own custom jewelry kit filled with everything needed to make a unique necklace, bracelet or set of earrings on the run with no jewelry making skills needed.

Choose a container for your kit, such as a vintage cigar box or small store-bought organizer with compartments. Begin building your kit with a simple, three-in-one jewelry maker’s tool with round nose tip for bending wire, pliers for opening jump-rings and wire cutters. These can be found for less than $10 online or in a craft store. You may also want to pick up some headpins in both gold and silver tones if you wear both color metals. Headpins are similar to a straight pin, but with longer, bendable wire and no sharp point and are perfect for threading and holding a single bead or a few beads to create beautiful pendants, earrings or charms. Once a headpin is strung with its decorative piece(s), a loop can be created with the remaining wire to attach to a necklace with a jump ring. Jump rings are simple circles of wire that can be opened and used to connect pieces of jewelry, such as a pendant to a chain. It is important when opening and closing a jump ring that you slightly twist the wire open side to side, versus spreading it open, as that could weaken the wire and also keep it from closing well.

Next, go through your jewelry box and salvage any broken costume jewelry removing all usable parts including earring dangles that have lost their mate. Add to your collection with out-of-style pieces that may have a few attractive beads or other usable parts. Look for earring wires that can be changed out with other charms or beads. When shopping thrift stores, garage sales, consignment shops and flea markets, purchase inexpensive necklaces with unattractive pendants but very usable chains or necklace cords, or, just the opposite, a great pendant on an unattractive chain. You may have chain and necklace choices in your current stash of which a pendant can be removed and another attached. Remove any attractive parts of the thrift jewelry and add them to your kit. Keep any non-tarnished jump rings to use as connectors.

Once you have a varied selection of jewelry pieces and parts, it’s easy to create colorful and unique pieces to accessorize your favorite outfits. Wear a piece once, then take it apart the next time you need the necklace chain or earring wires to create a different design.

You can also create a charming choker by cutting a necklace chain into two sections keeping the clasp areas intact and attach a favorite charm or beaded bracelet to each chain end with jump rings, or simply connect the ends of the bracelet with a coordinating ribbon tied into a bow at the back of the neck.

10 Comments so far

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On Friday, July 23, 2010, Jenn wrote

Great Idea. I have a large large set of Jewelry things, but wouldn't it be so much easier if I made a small "go-to" box. Thanks for sharing all your ideas. Jenn

On Friday, July 16, 2010, Mitzi Curi wrote

I've been collecting bits and pieces, especially nice vintage chain, for quite some time. This past week I've been immersed in jewelry making, practicing my wire wrapping skills, and combining my collected baubles to create some fun things. It's so satisfying to create something fantastic instead of buying something at a store.

On Sunday, July 11, 2010, patty / mylifeunderthebus wrote

I have a whole room devoted to this ! LOL - LOVE jewelry making - great advice !

On Saturday, July 10, 2010, sasksak wrote

What good ideas. And not very complicated for the variety it provides. Your Johnson company articles are really good. I just wish they had a few more pictures.

On Friday, July 9, 2010, katilady wrote


On Friday, July 9, 2010, Erin, Tesori Trovati Jewelry wrote

I am a jewelry artist and do have something like this that I take with me. I use a Snapware container because I can stack them and go. I also include a felt bead mat that helps my beads from rolling away, little baggies to collect the parts and a small empty plastic container for collecting little bits of garbage, like those snips of wire. I love filling it with old bits of jewelry...sort of like a treasure chest where you have to construct the treasure yourself! Great tips, Cathe. Thanks for sharing your inspiration. Enjoy the day! Erin

On Friday, July 9, 2010, Kimberly from Serendipity Vintage Studio wrote

A useful and fun idea! I'be collecting bits and pieces of vintage jewelry for a long time, and I'm always drawn to the broken necklaces and single earrings. This is a perfect way to use them!

On Friday, July 9, 2010, Niki from Kansas wrote

Wow!! What great ideas.

On Friday, July 9, 2010, donna!ee wrote

awesome...let me go gather and get started with this! love this site and thanks for sharing as you are inspired! ;)

On Thursday, July 8, 2010, wrote

Wonderful ideas and great way to customize your style and look. I love your cigar box idea. The possibilities are endless. Thank you Cathe for another wonderful post.


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