Make Your Own Collage Jewelry
For this article I will include photos of one of my bracelets and explain how I put it together using found objects, charms, and parts of old costume jewelry.
Make Your Own Collage Jewelry
Being an artist specializing in collage is a constant delight to me. First of all let me exlplain just what collage is.
COLLAGE: The process of using any number of objects,large or small,recycled or bought, man-made or natural to create a composition. This composition can take many forms. Objects can be arranged on any flat surface such as canvas or old wood. Or you can use your collection to decorate pottery, or in my case, gourds, or make 3-D sculpture pieces. But one of my favorite ways to use my collected objects is in jewelry.
I am sure everyone has noticed how popular "charm" jewelry has become. You have probably noticed also how expensive these pieces are. So I am going to show you one of the many ways you can make your own "charm" jewelry very inexpensively, using recycled and found objects. We will start with a charm bracelet. Click on the image to enlarge.
Why Beer Caps?
During the past summer I traveled to Germany to house-sit for some friends. While there, I took a side trip to Italy to visit the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica. It was while waiting outside the Vatican Wall for our tour to begin, that I noticed these beer caps laying around in the street. They interested me because their emblems and beer names were so different from our American beers. Also they were colorful and small. Perfect for jewelry making! So I was off on the hunt. The rest of my European vacation found me "nose-to-the ground" in search of interesting bottle caps. One of the results of this foray is the bracelet you see here.
Step By Step Process
I started with a sterling silver chain bracelet that I had found at a garage sale. I layed the chain out straight on the table and arranged the bottle caps along its length. I tried to alternate the colors and emblems so no two identical one were next to each other.As you can see, I dug around in my many little drawers and found some other charms and interesting pieces from some old costume jewelry to add to the bracelet to give it a "loaded and chunky" look.
Be sure to wash each bottle cap thoroughly, they can be grungy, and check for sharp edges. I like to use a small fine jewelry file or even an ordinary emery board to smoothe any rough edges. Using a small nail, I punched a hole on the side of each cap. Then I attach a large jewelry jump ring ( found in the jewelry findings sections of most department stores) to each cap and then onto the chain. I use two small needle-nose pliers to open and close the jump rings.Your fingers won't be able to do the job nearly so well. And do not apply the use of your teeth!
I then repeated the process with the charms, placing them in between the bottle caps. Just for variation and interest I also attached some of the charms using small metal clips.. The closure for the bracelet is a smalll claw and ring also found in the jewelry section of department stores under "jewelry findings".
Much to your delight, the end result will be your own original chunky charm bracelet. This is only one of a million different possiblilities for using and showing off your collage finds. The possibilities are as endless as the objects you can find.
My next article will be on what I call "gourd collage." Stay tuned for more little art lessons to come!
Submitted by Susan Replogle 12/30/2011