Careworn and broken jewellery can be given a new lease of life in a couple of hours. All you need is some silver wire, a pair of craft pliers, some epoxy resin – and a little Make it and Mend it imagination.
New bangle for old
I came across the bangle on the left the other day and it sent me on a journey down memory lane. It had been a gift from my daughter a few year’s ago. Sadly, the metal had tarnished and while its sentimental value was still huge, it had been relegated to the bottom of the jewellery box.
It struck me that most of us have old jewellery that might benefit from a little upcycling. Upcycled jewllery can also make a great gift and far more thoughtful (and easier on the finances) than a trip to the shops.
Mine was a curled slave bangle but any type of metal bangle would do for this project.
A few supplies
There are lots of jewellery and bead making supplies you can buy, but this project just uses the basics. You need:
- A pair of craft pliers. Mine have rounded ends which are great for twisting and shaping, plus a cutter to snip wire.
- Jewellery wire. I chose silver plated low nickel wire 0.4mm. It’s easy to work with and fine enough to thread small beads on.
- Epoxy resin. My all round favorite upcycling ingredient. It’s fast and extremely strong.
The cocktail sticks are optional, but great for mixing and applying the resin in small, tricky places.
Going through the knick-knack box
While it’s really infuriating to lose an earring, I always hold on to the odd ones, along with bits of sequin, broken beads, little pearl buttons and a variety of other sparkling things. They’re great for projects like this one.
Fixing the wire
Cut a length of wire to work with. You’ll need about 3 times as much wire as the circumference of the bangle, as you’re going to twist the wire round and round. But you may want to work in shorter lengths and then join them together, as this is less fiddly.
Make a wire loop at one end of the bangle and twist the wire really tightly with the pliers to hold it in place. You can glue the wire to the bangle with a little epoxy resin to stop it slipping. Then start to thread on the beads. Wrap the wire around the bangle in a corkscrew motion to hold the beads in place.
Where I had beads that were already connected together, for example, dangling bits off earrings, I didn’t take them apart but wove the whole piece into the design.
Being a little inventive
It was obvious, part way through the project, that I might run out of beads. Another thing I collect is small lengths of narrow width ribbon (basically they’re the hoops of ribbon from inside blouses and jumpers, which are meant to hold the clothes on their hangers, but I find they just poke out of the neckline when you’re wearing them so I always cut them off).
I wound some gold coloured ribbon round the bangle, holding it in place with the wire.
I also added some small pearl buttons and some tiny shells.
Having wound all your beads and other adornments into place, go back over the bangle with some more silver wire, winding in in the other direction. This holds the beads more firmly in place and also covers up more of the bangle underneath.
I finished off by using the epoxy resin (and the cocktail sticks) to stick a small coin to one end of the bangle, and a rather nice, shiny button to the other.
I love the idea that this bangle will now be worn again. I must remember to put it on next time I meet my now very grown up daughter. Hopefully, she’ll be impressed!