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Friday, April 5, 2024

Jewelry Making

Searching how to make jewelry from Upcycled Materials?  We are excited to share our DIY Cardboard Jewelry with you today!  

Discover how to create jewelry transforming discarded materials into stunning, eco-friendly pieces. Learn tips, techniques, and creative ideas for upcycling everyday items into unique accessories custom to your style.

jewelry making

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When I had COVID earlier this year, it really knocked me off my feet. There were days I couldn't even muster the energy to get out of bed. My husband was also hit hard, sleeping for nearly 20 hours a day. Amidst the struggle for recovery, I found myself glued to the television more than ever before.

One particular show caught my attention - an Amazon Original called "A Private Affair," a Spanish period drama. As a vintage enthusiast running a blog titled Vintage Style Gal, it's no surprise that I fell in love with this series. It touches upon various aspects of life: vintage cars, vintage clothing, vintage hats, vintage shoes with a mystery thrown into the mix. All of my favorites!

The main character's attire, especially her hats and her 1952 Hudson Hornet (imagine the speed on that beauty), fascinated me. The allure of vintage fashion got the wheels turning in my little ole' mind (batting my eyelashes, teehee...).

Being a broken record about my love for birds and upcycling, I had a lightbulb moment. I decided to try my hand at jewelry making using recycled materials. With a penchant for brooches, I set my sights on creating one.

I have instructed my husband to keep all cardboard since I like to find unique ways to use cardboard like for pictures, or DIY candle rings, or my upcycling projects, and even DIY spooky ghostsNot only does this practice reduce waste, but it also brings me joy to create something beautiful out of discarded items.

Initially, I traced bird images from online sources onto cardboard for my brooches. However, I soon decided to dust off my old Cricut machine and give it a try. The precision and ease of the Cricut cuts surpassed my expectations (and my skills), making the process much smoother.

While I had reservations about the Cricut's compatibility with materials like cereal boxes, I was pleasantly surprised by its performance. One hundred percent honesty here, I thought I would be able to do all the things with Circut; however, I realized that the machine's preference for proprietary products conflicted with my ethos of budget-friendly crafting so I rarely share crafts using it.

Back in 2020, I nearly sold my Cricut due to frustration with its limitations. Yet, keeping it proved to be a wise decision, as I have recently learned, it opened up a world of possibilities working with cardboard for my recycling projects.

For those without a Cricut, fear not. You can still create jewelry from recycled materials. Here's how:

  • Find a free bird image online and paste it into a template in Cricut Design Space. If you're crafting without a Cricut, trace the desired bird image onto paper.
  • I used a cereal box for the Cricut version and a mashed potato box for the hand-cut version.
  • Place the cereal box onto a mat and feed it into the Cricut. For non-Cricut crafting, trace the birds onto cardboard.
  • Observe the precision of the cuts with the Cricut and the close placement of each bird, using less material compared to manual tracing and cutting.
  • Pop out each bird, ensuring that the details remain intact.
  • Trace the bird image onto your chosen paper (scrapbook paper or wrapping paper is what I have used here), if desired, ensuring that you avoid waste.
  • Apply Mod Podge onto one bird at a time and layer them together. Use a small paintbrush to minimize mess.
  • For a sturdy piece, laminate five birds together, pressing down firmly with each addition.
  • Once assembled, glue decorative paper to the top to create your brooch.
  • Apply another layer of Mod Podge to the top of the decorative paper and allow it to dry.
  • Enhance the appearance by applying Antique Gold Rub-n-Buff to the top, and sides of the brooch.
  • To conceal any imperfections, apply Antique Gold Rub-n-Buff to the back of the brooch as well.
  • Seal the piece with resin for durability, applying three coats to the top, sides, and back. This is a long process since you need to allow for at least 24 hours between each application.

DIY cardboard jewelry

Recycled jewelry making

Upcycled jewelry crafts

Cardboard craft ideas
The silver is my hand-cut version which I abandoned since I did not feel it resembled the bird cutout 

How to make jewelry out of cardboard cereal boxes

how to jewelry making

jewelry making jewelry

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jewelry making how to

When I had all five chip board (AKA: cereal box) pieces glued together, I added the decorative paper to the top to create my brooch.  I chuckled when I decided to place birds on a bird brooch, and faced the flying birds in the opposite direction than my actual brooch.

jewelry making products

cardboard jewelry

For a high end look, you will want to add something to cover the lamented sides.  Rub-n-Buff is perfect for this application.  

sustainable crafts

Not wanting the Cheerios images to show, I also applied Antique Gold Rub n Buff to the back of the brooch. I applied two coats to completely cover the back. This image is after one application. Dry completely before applying each coat.

Resin Jewelry

Button Making

As you can see, I created a few buttons, the brooch, and then also filled a mold with resin. Resin is a bit pricey, so when you mix it, have several projects planned.

DIY Vintage Brooch

Here is where I went wrong, I placed the brooch face down on a piece of wood I was working on, and as you can see, I damaged the brooch when I picked it up. I was miffed with myself since this jewelry is weeks in the making. I will share with you how I remedy the issue a little later.

As you can see, I created what I originally planned as buttons, and then decided why narrow my use down to one item when I can adhere them to many items?  I hot glued pins to the backs of my buttons so I can add and remove them to clothing, hats, whatever and where ever I decide to add a bit of spunk to my attire.  I liked this idea for it's versatility.  

DIY Buttons

tartan buttons
Tartan Plaid Wrapping Paper 

Here are my pieces styled.  How fun are my buttons and bird brooch?  I kind of think this is the way to go when creating customized jewelry.  Who doesn't love a piece specifically customized for you?  I know I sure do!  

Tartan Plaid Jewelry

Add a bit of pizzazz to your clothing, I added these tartan plaid buttons to a black cardigan.  Initially, I had plans of adding them to a hat, but the intended hat is MIA at the moment.  

Vintage Bird
Vintage Bird Patterned Scrapbook Paper

The damage to my brooch?  I remedied it by applying a bit more rub-n-buff.  I worked too hard on it to let it go into the trash.  I like to think my "fix" adds a bit more character? Your thoughts? Comment below.

Vintage Style Brooch

The brooch is a bit on the larger side, so future brooches I would make smaller.  This piece is approximately 3 1/4 inches in length.  You learn something new when you try something new is my motto. Nothing ventured, nothing gained... I could keep going, but the point is, get out there and try something new today, the next time you're about to discard that cereal box, consider the untapped potential it holds for your next crafting venture.

Source List:

Cereal Box- rescue from the trash bin
Scrapbook Paper - Walmart
Cricut Maker 3 - Walmart
Bar Pins - Amazon
Epoxy Resin - Amazon
Mod Podge - Walmart

Don't Forget to Pin for Later!



Would you like to comment?

  1. I am amazed you were able to make cute jewelry pieces from a cereal box! After you stack the cardboard it almost looks like wood!! This is a great idea to make seasonal jewelry!! So many ideas running through my mind now! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I am so happy I was able to provide a bit of inspiration Donna! I am saving all the cardboard for more craft ideas! I have so many ideas with cardboard now that I know I can use my Cricut to cut it.

  2. Such a fun and creative idea, Cara. I swear you come up with things I have never even seen or heard of before! I love the brooches you made and could see the plaid ones as earrings too. They're both fabulous and would make an amazing gift for Mother's Day. Big hugs and thanks for always sharing your best ideas with us. I love this, CoCo

    1. Thank you CoCo, I like to experiment, and since I have more time these days than when I was working, I make time to dabble. Not all of my experiments work, in fact, there are a good part that are a total fail, but I feel pretty giddy when I make something from nothing, and it actually looks decent so I can share these crazy ideas I have.

  3. Love this idea, Cara. I love my Cricut and now you've given more ideas for it!

    1. I am so happy that I have given you more ideas Ann! I have so many more to create now that I know it will cut cardboard!