Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beautiful Things from Recycled, Found or Upcycled Objects

Much as I adore working with natural gemstones and in particular, Irish stones,  turning outdated, old or found objects into a thing of beauty can be really satisfying. Not only is it a very green and economically sound thing to do but it is also creatively fulfilling. You can do some very simple things with buttons, beach treasure, old broken jewelry etc.

From time to time I recycle old broken jewelry to make handbag charms, key chains etc. Most of the components of this brown mother of pearl and bead purse charm (sold) came from an old broken necklace.

Next time I'm making something like this I will post instructions.
butterfly button pendant

Stray buttons have lots of uses in jewellery and of course, for updating old outfits, handbags etc. I love to wire wrap them into pretty and affordable, button pendants.

plain black umbrella, personalised with a bright button

But one of the traditional and easiest ways to cheer up a tired-looking outfit is of course, to either embellish with colourful buttons or simply change the existing buttons to something more interesting

Last winter several of my work mates had similar black umbrellas and I kept picking up the wrong one. So I personalised mine by adding a pinky-purple button to the wrap-around tie.

While I was at it, I decided to drag out a simple black, zip up, wool coat that had seen better days and make it match my brolly.

As the original black buttons on the cuffs and neck were just a tad bigger, I decided to keep them and just stitch the purple ones on top. This 'frame' effect looks more finished and suits the heavy material better.  After a spot of dry-cleaning, this old coat has gleaned a whole new lease of life. 

 One of my favourite materials is seaglass, naturally tumbled and frosted by the sea and found on local beaches.

It's not always easy to wire wrap it so that it stays secure but remains beautiful, but getting it right can be so rewarding.

vintage seaglass keychain

Seaglass makes beautiful jewelry but I also use it for bookmarks and other gifts

And this week I listed an ornament or sun catcher that I made by upcycling a cool piece of beach-worn glass I found on a Dublin strand.  The sea and silt have softened up the edges of the glass, but I don't feel it is frosted heavily enough to truly classify as 'seaglass.' Hence the term 'beach-worn.' However, it is an aesthetically appealing find. The bubble-effect glass almost looks liquid when hung on a lit up Christmas tree. So-called trash can really turn into treasure
Candle holder made by recycling packaging and found seaglass

 You don't have to be very artistic to make beautiful things from found or upcycled objects. To see how to make the easy peasy candle holder above, click HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Most interesting article.....and there are always found objects around just waiting to be re fashion...and certainly you are gifted in finding them and turning them into items of beauty!