I’ve been collecting broken vintage costume jewelry for several years — with the goal to make a lifetime-achievement crafty: A costume jewelry Christmas tree. This weekend I gathered all my supplies, took over the dining room, and got down to gluing. This project was not easy — like making ornament wreaths, it’s another effort in juggling colors and shapes in three dimensions — made all the more stressful by the fact that it takes a lot more jewelry than you think. That said, I’m pretty darned happy with the result!
Scene of the crime. Things to collect over time to make this project possible:
- Broken costume jewelry.
- Vintage picture frames.
- Vintage velvet.
Story and tips continue >>
Meanwhile, you might also enjoy our famous tutorial how to make a Christmas ornament wreath + video:
Voila! My weebit has a new mommy-heirloom!
My tips to make a costume jewelry Christmas tree:
- Start by reading my DIY story from earlier this year (it includes the glue I used): Making art from broken costume jewelry.
- Jewelry pliers or a set of very wide tweezers are important to have on hand. Note: Links to Amazon net me a wee commission if ya end up buying something.
- Golly, you never knew how handy it would be to have so many old broken pearl necklaces in your stash. I find these at most every estate sale. Use the pearls — all sizes, all designs, all colors and sheens — to fill in the in-between spots.
- I thought about it first and decided I preferred to not have a “straight” edge to the right- and left-hand sides of the tree. I think it’s more interesting that way. To start, I created my “outline”. Then, I filled in from there.
- Think about your colorway: I wanted the tree to be primarily gold. But then, I realized that I did not have enough jewelry — big pieces — to fill in the tree. So I began to add light green, which I thought worked well because gold has some green in it.
- As you go, keep scanning the tree clockwise, starting at the bottom left, to ensure you are creating focal points, combining colors, “breaking your edge”, and then “building up” in a way that keeps your eyes moving — in way that gives the piece visual dynamism.
- Take it slow. I came back to my wreath probably 10 times over three days to keep working on it. I’ll bet that I worked at least 10 hours on it. My goal-mode when I do projects like this is to Enjoy The Process. So I take my time. It’s cheaper than therapy.
- Next: I am going to paint up the frame a bit more, and probably add some bling to it, too. And, I will reorganize all the jewelry left into colors and decorative pieces so that I can assess what I need to look for in the coming year as I prowl estate sales.
- Throw out all my rules — and make your own!
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