Junk-Box Jewelry: 25 DIY Low Cost (or No Cost) Jewelry Projects


This beautifully illustrated guide shows teens how to create eye-catching jewelry out of found or recycled objects—at very little cost. Some fun projects include making pendants out of pebbles; sewing a stylish cuff using scraps of fabric; and fashioning a funky charm bracelet out of extra screws, washers, and other toolbox trinkets. The easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions are suitable for both beginner- and intermediate-level crafsters. This book also provides bonus tips on the tools you need to get ...

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This beautifully illustrated guide shows teens how to create eye-catching jewelry out of found or recycled objects—at very little cost. Some fun projects include making pendants out of pebbles; sewing a stylish cuff using scraps of fabric; and fashioning a funky charm bracelet out of extra screws, washers, and other toolbox trinkets. The easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions are suitable for both beginner- and intermediate-level crafsters. This book also provides bonus tips on the tools you need to get started, where to find materials, and how to make money from your jewelry.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Treasure hunters with an eye for style should glean inspiration from this guide to making jewelry from thrift store finds and everyday objects. Clear, bright photographs demonstrate the steps for making such pieces as a “Sea-Jewel Pendant” made from beach glass or a stone; a “Newsstand Necklace,” with beads crafted from rolled-up magazine pages; and a “Toolbox Bracelet” created from nuts, bolts, chains, and other objects one might find in a workshop or hardware store. Encouraging reuse and innovation, Drew urges readers to see pretty potential in unexpected places. Ages 12–up. (June)
From the Publisher
“Treasure hunters with an eye for style should glean inspiration from this guide to making jewelry from thrift store finds and everyday objects.” — Publishers Weekly
VOYA - Grace Enriquez
Old beads, loose ribbon, beach finds, and everyday household bric-a-brac get a makeover in this do-it-yourself guide to making low-cost jewelry. In four sections organized by source materials and design style, Drew provides step-by-step instructions for creating fashion accessories from items in your junk drawer. Among the projects included are charm bracelets, vintage chokers, woven headbands, and beaded earrings and necklaces. Accompanying each project are high-quality photographs of both the steps along the way and the final product, as well as a "creative tip" for enhancing the design or wearing the accessory. An introductory chapter describes the various tools and stock materials—such as clasps, wires, and hooks—that are needed, and appendices share useful websites for ordering materials and selling the creations online. Overall, Drew's clear descriptions and easy-to-follow instructions, coupled with large, detailed photographs, make this an ideal how-to book for novice jewelry makers. A minor critique is that some familiarity with terminology and process is assumed, so true beginners to jewelry making may need to seek additional references. Furthermore, a slight flaw in the overall book design is an absence of photographs depicting the accessories in use. Instead, they are presented close-up on neutral backgrounds, making it somewhat difficult to determine how one might actually wear the handmade creations and coordinate them with other wardrobe items. Still, Drew's promise to turn scraps into decoration is appealing, attractive, and attainable. Reviewer: Grace Enriquez
Children's Literature - Lisette Baez
Having the perfect accessory is the key to style. What if you could create your very own jewelry with little or no cost at all? This book will help you turn junk into jewelry. The creations are endless, from bracelets and necklaces to tiaras and jeweled headbands. The step-by-step instructions and the photographs of each project make for a moderately easy crafting experience. It offers projects for the beginning crafter, but some projects are for the more advanced crafter. Therefore, some adult supervision and assistance is required to provide for a safe crafting experience. Each project is neatly labeled with a brief description along with the materials that are required for each jeweled accessory. Each project offers unique creative tips to assist in the design of each piece of jewelry. The unique projects showcase a pendant out of pebbles, a stylish cuff made from fabric scraps, and a funky charm bracelet using screws and washers. If you love jewelry this book is the perfect accessory for you! Reviewer: Lisette Baez
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982732267
  • Publisher: Zest Books
  • Publication date: 6/26/2012
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Drew teaches at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewelry and at St. Austell College. She specializes in wirework and her recycled jewelry. She sells jewelry through galleries, fashion boutiques, bridal shops, and directly from her website, www.sarahdrew.com . She lives in London.

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Read an Excerpt


The good news? You probably already have most of the stuff you need to make awesome jewelry. The bad news? Okay, there’s actually no bad news. You may just have to buy some supplies on the cheap from your local craft store or online (see the "Useful Websites" section on page 100 at the back of the book).


Pliers This’ll be your most-used tool and you can get a great pair for under $10 (look for the kind that have a wire cutter). Use them to shape, bend, and cut wire. We recommend buying two pairs of pliers (try one pair of round-nosed and one pair of flat-nosed pliers) because it makes tasks like bending open jump rings (see page 14) a lot easier. Also, use the round-nosed pliers when making loops and curves and the flat-nosed pair to grip/hold the wire and when using crimps (see page 14).

Scissors Always good to have around, these come in handy for projects that use fabric and lace. One larger pair of shears and a smaller pair of nail or manicure scissors are all you need for the projects in this book.

Dremel Tool or Hand Drill There are a few projects in this book that call for drilling holes in plastic pieces so that you can string them on necklaces and bracelets. If you’re a crafty person always making something, you may be ready to invest in a Dremel tool— it does everything you can imagine, from drilling to sanding and polishing. You can usually find one for around $50. (You could probably convince Mom or Dad that it’s a great thing to have around the house.) If you do use a drill for these projects, remember to always wear safety goggles and always get an adult to help. No drill? No problem. There’s this magical stuff called Shrinky Dinks (see "Useful Websites" on page 100 for ordering info). It’s basically plastic that you can cut and design any way you like, then pop in the oven and shrink to beautiful, jewelry-sized proportions. Just remember to put your holes in the plastic (use a standard paper hole punch) before you bake it. Ta-da. All ready to go and you didn’t have to drill a thing.


There are lots of projects in this book that use jewelry wire. It’s a great material, but the ends can be a little sharp. It’s a good idea with any of the wire projects to file down sharp edges so that they don’t scratch your skin. Use a nail file or a piece of fine sandpaper.

Crochet Hook

Different sizes will give you different looks. For a looser woven design, get a bigger hook. For a tighter weave, go smaller. These are available at any craft or sewing store, and you can get a set of different sized plastic hooks pretty inexpensively.


Helps you keep it together. For the projects in this book, you’ll need regular white glue, super glue, and some clear-drying craft glue.


Lobster Clasps

No, they don’t taste good when dipped in butter, but these little clasps are the perfect way to keep your necklaces and bracelets securely attached to your neck and wrists. Shaped a little like lobster claws, you can find these in almost any craft store, and they’re easy to attach to your projects using jump rings (see page 14).

Jump Rings

They look totally boring, but they’re the secret weapon in any jewelry-making genius’ arsenal. You can use these small metal rings to connect chains to beads, clasps to chains … anything to anything, really. Using two sets of pliers, bend open the rings, slide on whatever you need to attach, then bend them closed again. Voilà!

Jewelry Wire

If you want to be super fancy, you can find sterling silver and real gold jewelry wire, but it’s a lot cheaper to get the silver- or gold-coated brass or copper wire and it works just as well. Each individual project will specify the gauge, or thickness, of the wire you’ll need. No matter what the project says, the key is to find the right wire to thread through the holes of the beads you want to use. If you’re not sure, bring your beads to a craft store, and try it out. If you get in the swing of things and start making lots and lots of projects, consider buying big spools of wire. It’ll save you a bundle.

Beading Wire

Beading wire is an alternative to chain and perfect for stringing together lots of beads or other interesting finds. It’s basically wire coated with nylon so it’s nice and smooth. You’ll be using crimps or crimp beads (see below) to secure your designs when you use beading wire. Beadalon is a common brand that you can find at your local craft store. Like jewelry wire, beading wire comes in different gauges, so make sure that your beads will fit. And just like jewelry wire, you can get discounts when you buy big spools of it.

Crimps/Crimp Beads

You can get these little beads in silver or gold. Once you string on beads or whatever finds you may want to add to your jewelry projects, you’ll secure them by using your flat-nosed pliers to flatten the crimp bead to the wire.

Chain/Extender Chain

For most of the necklace and bracelet projects in this book, you can recycle old necklaces and bracelet chains that you already have. If you don’t have any that you’re willing to slice and dice, buy some extender or regular chain (you can buy it by the foot) at your local craft store or online. The great part about recycling a chain is that it already comes with the clasp on it. If you have to add your own clasp, just slide it on a jump ring and attach that to the last link in your chain.

Earring Hooks

The trick to making any earring project super easy. Available at any craft store in silver or gold, they have little loops at their base so that they’re ready to attach beads to a jump ring, or have wire strung right through them.

Plain Headband/Tiara Bases

Simple metal headbands and tiaras (without any decoration) are available at most craft stores in silver and gold. If you have trouble finding tiara bases, you can take a headband base and bend it into a more circular shape. That should work just fine for your highness.


Just another word for pin. Vintage brooches are the key to making a lot of the projects in this book super fabulous.




A Three 27 in. (70 cm) pieces of 0.6 mm wire

A Masking tape

A 30–50 beads

A A necklace chain or ribbon

A Pliers


This choker is the magical solution for those situations when you’re stuck wearing something totally boring to a family wedding or school concert. And no, it’s not magic in the get-you-out-of-having-to-go-to-that-boring-event kinda way, but we promise you’ll have a better time with this beauty around your neck. For a sophisticated look, use beads that are roughly the same size and color (crystals or pearls = glamorous)—then you can attach an antique brooch as a centerpiece. Or, for funkier flair, mix and match different beads or stones.


1. Hold the three pieces of wire together with the pliers and use your fingers to wrap one of the wires around the other two about four times, leaving 1–1 1/2 in. (about 3–4 cm) of wire above the wrapping, so that you can make a loop at the end to attach the necklace chain later.

2. Cut off the tail end of your wrapping wire and use masking tape to stick the bundle of wires to a table or tray, like you would when weaving a friendship bracelet. Now you’re ready to start braiding.

3. Thread a bead onto the right-hand wire. In the same way that you would braid hair, cross the beaded wire over the middle wire so that it becomes the new middle wire..

4. Thread a bead onto the left-hand wire and cross it over the middle wire so that it becomes the new middle wire. The first few beads might be tricky to keep in place. They should sit at a slight diagonal from each other. When your cross your wires you want them tight enough to keep the beads from sliding around on the wires, but loose enough that they don’t push the beads out of place. It might take a few tries to get the tension just right.

5. Continue threading beads onto the side wires and braiding. Add a bead each time you cross a wire.

6. Stop braiding about 1 in. (3 cm) before the necklace is the right size for you. This gives you room to make a loop to attach to the necklace chain or ribbon. To finish off the necklace, braid the wires once more without adding any beads.

7. To secure the end, wrap one wire around the other two just like you did at the beginning, then wrap one of the two remaining wires around the last one, leaving you with just one length of wire.

8. Cut your necklace chain at the middle point so you have two lengths of chain connected by the clasp. You might need to shorten the chains depending on how low you want the necklace to hang.

9. Start to bend the necklace’s wire tail into a loop, thread it onto one end of the chain, and bend the loop closed by wrapping the wire back around itself. You can pinch it tightly with your pliers to make it more secure. Do the same on the other side of the necklace, attaching that wire tail to the necklace chain. If you want to fasten the necklace with ribbon instead, just thread your ribbon through the loops and tie a neat knot.

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Table of Contents

Getting Started 10

What You'll Need 12

Where to Look 16

Vintage Glamour 20

Retro-Bauble Bracelet 22

Vintage Braided Choker 24

Bling Ring 27

Royal Jewels Necklace 30

Vintage Lace Choker 33

Beach Finds 36

Sea-Jewel Pendant 38

Colorful Recycled Necklace 41

Ocean's Charm Bracelet 44

Fishing-Net Cuff 45

Sea-Jewel Cuff 50

Sixties String-Art Necklace 54

Use What You Have 56

Elegant First-Date Earrings 58

Art Nouveau Pendant 60

Jeweled Branches Necklace 63

Newsstand Necklace 66

Toolbox Bracelet 68

Customized Cuff 70

Juliet Tiara 72

So-Quirky-lt's-Cool Necklace 75

Diva Designs 78

Billie Holiday Headband 80

Sparkle-and-Chain Necklace 83

Art Deco Bracelet 86

Sparkling Vines Headband 89

Antique Lace Headband 92

Golden Touch Tiara 95

Useful Websites 100

Index 102

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Only Low Cost or No Cost if You Already Make Jewelry

    The full title of this book is Junk Box Jewelry: 25 DIY Low Cost (or No Cost) Jewelry Projects. That title only works if you already make a lot of jewelry at home. The average person probably has pliers, glue, and scissors on hand, but I doubt that everyone has a dremel tool or hand drill on hand. Granted you don’t need that tool for every piece, but you will need lobster clasps, jump rings, jewelry and beading wire, crimp beads, chains or chain extenders, earring hooks, headbands or tiaras, and brooches if you hope to make a few of these items. I myself have a big ole toolbox full of jewelry making supplies – but that didn’t mean there was anything in this book worth making.

    Some of the designs you could use as a jumping off point, but I think they were all something that most people could think of on their own, just by seeing what they had on hand. There aren’t any unusual pieces and parts, so there are no new and creative ideas to be had in this book. Wire wrapping a rock for a necklace, making a charm bracelet with junk you find on the beach…most of the items look like what the book tells you – junk box jewelry.

    If I had picked this up at a bookstore or a craft store and thumbed through it, I would have immediately put the book back down after seeing the designs presented in the book. There are plenty of books available with the basics that are presented in a more pleasing manner. I didn’t make one piece of jewelry based off of this book – but having made jewelry before and having read the directions – I will say that they were easy to follow and logically ordered. Again, there are many other books that will fit that need as well, and are much more pleasing and creative.

    ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

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