DIY Network

Making Your Own Jewelry Is a Blank Slate

Crafter Michele Beschen, creator of the B Original series, shares creative ideas for crafting jewelry at home.

More in Decorating

use unique item like these miniture license plates

The focus of my how-to spirit lately has been jewelry. There are a couple of reasons. The first one is that I just finished experimenting with different ways to create stylish pieces out of everything from puddles of solder and fabric to acrylic and tin cans, for a video project. (You certainly didn't expect me to be working with "traditional" jewelry materials, did you?) The other is that I simply love jewelry.

It doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to consist of fine metals or gemstones. It does, however, have to be unique and celebrate my style and personality.

That's where the beauty of creating your jewelry comes in. You are in control of capturing that style every time; be it with the materials you use, the method, the design or how you wear it.

It is something anyone can do and it's the perfect outlet for exercising your creative side in a small, manageable way. You don't need a lot of space to make jewelry and it doesn't have to require a lot of tools or supplies.

And, as with any creative venture, anything goes. No matter what material is placed in front of me, I can always envision it being used in some interesting jewelry fashion.

Found objects are especially fun to work with. Those odds and ends that fill our junk drawers, the broken bits of this and that, the little things we find too interesting to just toss in the trash bin. Those hidden gems can be worn in an instant, in a few easy-to-assemble ways. It all starts with a blank. A belt-buckle blank, a bracelet blank, a ring blank, a belt blank or a blank necklace chain. Jewelry blanks give you an easy starting point to build off of, and they're a fun way to put those junk-drawer gems to fashionable use.

Ask yourself, where do you want to wear it? Would it look best around your neck or on your finger? Select your blank and then choose the appropriate connection method. Connection methods can include soldering, riveting, wiring, adhesives — even nuts and bolts can come into play. Be fearless. Following are a few ideas:

Belt-buckle blanks

These are the perfect background for some of your larger, flat items. My favorite method of connection is with the double-cap rivets. It just involves drilling a few holes and setting your rivets. It's a fun way to wear things like those miniature license plates from the 1950's cereal boxes, front and center.

Ring blanks

These are a new collection of rings that can be yours in just a few minutes by simply taking a ring blank and gluing your treasure to the top. Use the appropriate adhesive for the materials you're connecting.

Leather bracelet blanks

Bottle caps and metal tags look fabulous against these blanks. Best way to secure is with double-cap rivets or screw posts.

Blank chain

All you need is an assortment of jump rings and you can hang your treasures from the chain. They work like a charm.

Don't ever hesitate to mix things up. Combine different metals or old jewelry parts with new ones. Experiment with non-traditional materials.

The only guidelines I offer are of security and comfort. Make sure your pieces are put together securely, so that nothing falls off or apart and make sure they're comfortable to wear.

Other than that, feel free to grab a blank and go.

(Michele Beschen is creator of the B Original series for the DIY Network. Contact her at www.couragetocreate.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)

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