Repurpose Your Old Jewelry This Spring

Mar 5, 2014

With spring just a few weeks away, I've been thinking about spring cleaning: dusting, vacuuming, washing windows, and generally making my home feel new again.  The same is true of my jewelry.  On my desk I have a pile of unloved jewelry that I haven't been able to sell in the last year.  It's time for those earrings, bracelets, and necklaces to get a fresh new look.

I asked Jeannie K. Dukic, host of the biannual Do Over Challenge since 2011, for some tips on giving my jewelry a makeover. Like many beaders, Jeannie had boxes of old jewelry that she made as beginner.  The old jewelry was no longer her taste or style.  She recalls, "I had the choice to take them all apart and repurpose them myself or recruit help.  I chose the latter.  It would take me a lifetime to do it myself and doing things with friends is so much better."

The results of a jewelry makeover can be amazing.  Take a look at Jeannie's redesign from her first blog hop:

Want to try remaking some of your old jewelry pieces?  Here are some tips from both of us:

  1. Decide what you like or dislike. Maybe you love the colors and length of the necklace, but the focal doesn't feel right.  It's possible that you just need a minor tweak to your jewelry rather than a major overhaul.  If your "dislike" list is huge, then you'll want to take this next step:
  2. Take it apart.  Jeannie explains, "I start by taking the piece completely apart.  Then I make two piles: things I'll reuse and things I won't.  These piles may change later."  It's easier to come up with a design when you are looking at separate components, rather than a finished piece.
  3. Wait awhile.  I've found that if I take apart a piece of jewelry and immediately try to make something, then it doesn't flow well.  I get stuck and frustrated.  I've finally realized that it takes awhile to see those "used" beads in a new way.
  4. Find complimentary colors. Jeannie looks through her bead stash for new beads that may work in a redesign. This may be your chance to use a special art bead you've been saving or to branch out with a more daring color palette than you normally use.
  5. Think about techniques. Once you've decided on the techniques you'll use (stringing, knotting, wirework, etc.), then you'll be able to choose the findings.  "By then," Jeannie confirms, "I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to do." 
  6. Trade with a friend.  Sometimes it's easier to redo someone else's jewelry than your own.  Since you don't have any emotional attachment to someone else's design, you might feel a little freer in your redo.  Think about swapping jewelry with a friend or trying your hand at redoing one of Jeannie's old pieces.  Sign-ups for the 7th Do Over Challenge began March 4, 2014.  The blog hop will be April 19, 2014.  Find more information and sign up at

P.S. It's not only easier to work on someone else's jewelry, it's the same for houses.  Anyone want to come over and vacuum?

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JKD Studio wrote
on Mar 5, 2014 6:38 AM

Thank you Michelle for the shout out here.  I hope the BD readers find it helpful.

Creatively yours,


BeckyP@18 wrote
on Mar 7, 2014 10:45 AM

Hi Michelle. I agree that it is easier to clean someone else's house. I would do it if I lived closer. I participated in Jeannie's do over last round and I have signed up again. This is a fun thing to do.

BarbaraU@4 wrote
on Mar 8, 2014 5:01 PM

If you're able to find old, vintage or real antique jewelry it's a lot of fun to rejuvenate these items to update them to your liking. I know of many well know artisans who are doing this and I, too, have been having many creative experiences using antique pieces. This article helps to give people ideas. Keep up the good work.

Barbara U

zeldacheri wrote
on Mar 8, 2014 7:32 PM

Thanks for the great tips!  I especially like the ones about taking the items apart completely, then waiting a bit, before trying to come up with a new idea.  When I've tried to rework pieces before without taking the old piece apart first, I get too stuck on what I did before to come up with much.  A clean slate definitely sounds a lot easier!

clareconey wrote
on Mar 24, 2014 1:36 PM

Hi there

Your redesign bracelet is brilliant, I love the style . I haven't made a bracelet like this before. Can you point me in the right direction for a similar pattern.

Many thanks

Clare C

Loughborough, United Kingdom

suzenwoods wrote
on Apr 15, 2014 4:01 AM

How creative it is ! I am really very appreciated by your work and decided to implement on my old jewellery. One of the best ideas you have provided us ! Thank you very much !

Suzen Woods,