Raid your sewing box, button jar, and junk drawer. Stock up on store-bought sequins, beads, and baubles. All of them can be turned into one-of-a-kind jewelry.
The subtle sheen of metallic ribbon and silvery bugle beads echo pearls' luster. If a few bugle beads come loose from the ties, don't fret. They can easily be replaced.
For this project, embrace the concept of high and low: Put plastic leaves next to antique glass beads; mix in pops of neon and acid colors among whites and neutrals. Simply pile it all on in a crazy cluster of color and texture. Your version may look nothing like ours -- and that's what will make it one-of-a-kind beautiful. The carefree cool of this anything-goes necklace extends to how you wear it. Tie the bow in the back or off to the side for a funkier look.
Attach jump rings (small metal rings) to a corded button and an antique glass bead to create the earring's dangling pieces. For the third element, cut a piece of thread, and run one end through a seed bead, then push the two thread ends up though a bugle bead. Thread another seed bead over both ends, and tie ends to a jump ring. Slide all three jump rings onto a ball-end earring wire. Punch ball closed with fingers or round-nose pliers. Knot gold embroidery floss around wire.
Earrings in an instant: For each, cut a tiny square of linen to fit 4 side-by-side bugle beads. Glue (we used Magna-Tac) the beads in a row, and then glue the linen to a flat-top earring post.
Cut a length of gold embroidery floss, and thread it through a needle. Push the needle up through a bead, and then down back through it again to create a loop at the top. Place the loop over the hook of a ball-end earring wire, and adjust floss to tighten. Tie floss ends into a double knot underneath the bead, and trim and fray the remaining floss for a tassel.
Use ribbon and other trims as bases for beautiful bracelets. Mix and match them with store-bought pieces for an eclectic look. We used cotton webbing and uncut fringe as the bases for these three cuffs. To size the cuffs, measure your wrist and add 1 1/2 inches.
Freshwater-pearl and glass beads punctuate a velvet ribbon. Cut a length to wrap around your wrist twice, and tie; lay it flat. Center beads with the holes accessible, and then hold them in place with Magna-Tac glue. With a beading needle and thread, run one stitch through each of the beads to secure.
Curios Cluster Cuff
Arrange embellishments as for the necklace, but stitch them onto a length of cotton webbing.
Arrange faceted "gems" along a piece of uncut fringe trim; hold in place with dabs of Magna-Tac glue. Push a beading needle up through the gem hole, thread on a seed bead, and push the needle back through the hole to secure. Stitch individual seed beads along the looped top of the fringe.
Bugle Stripe Cuff
Stitch seed and bugle beads along the edges of cotton-webbing base. For beaded stripes, cut strips of twill tape as long as bugle beads and as wide as the webbing base. Apply a generous amount of Magna-Tac glue to each tape strip, and then apply the bugle beads in a tight row by hand. Let dry; glue the strips onto the cotton webbing, and secure with a few stitches through some of the bugle beads. Stitch on crystal buttons between beaded stripes.
1. Small 3-petal cut flower; Shindo, 212-868-9311
2. Round beads, in Turquoise; bead-gallery.com
3. Glass triangles, in Blue; 4. Glass grapes, in Blue and Pale Green; 5. Glass diamonds, in Green; tinseltrading.com
6. Korean jade spacer beads, 4 mm; 7. Crystal glass beads, 6 mm; 8. Quartz beads, in Cherry, 4 mm; bead-gallery.com
9. Metallic glass bugle beads, in Silver, by Dyna-Mites; firemountaingems.com
10. Brass disks, tinseltrading.com
11. Bugle beads, in Coral Neon; New York Beads, 212-382-2994
12. Fresh-water pearls, by Blue Moon; 13. Round-faceted opaque glass beads, in Green; Michaels Stores
14. Paillettes, 20 mm, in Ivory; mjtrim.com
15. Glass beads, by Toho; Michaels Stores
16. Ribbon pinwheel, in Silver; 17. Glass pendants, in Light Green, Acqua, and Persian Blue; 18. Vintage covered buttons, in Lime Green; tinseltrading.com
19. Satin rounds, 8 mm in Light Smoke; bead-gallery.com
20. Bamboo tubes, 9 mm, in Coral; bead-gallery.com
21. Vintage paisleys; 22. Vintage floral button, tinseltrading.com
23. Round sew-on jewel, mjtrim.com
24. Pressed-brass leaf stamping, tinseltrading.com
25. Satin bicone, 6 mm, in Lime, and 4 mm in Siam, by Crystazzi; Michaels Stores
26. Vintage glass buttons, tinseltrading.com
27. Coral pearls; New York Beads, 212-382-2994
28. Potato bread freshwater pearls, in Amethyst, 8 mm; 29. Jade round beads, 10 mm; Michaels Stores
30. Rectangular sequins, in Navy and Silver; mjtrim.com
31. Glass leaf, in White; tinseltrading.com
32. Bugle beads, 12 mm, in Matte Gray; suncountrygems.com
33. Sew-on jewels, in Silver; tinseltrading.com
34. Glass seed beads, in Neon Lime; New York Beads, 212-382-2994
35. Vintage glass balls, in Champagne Pink and Aqua; tinseltrading.com