Making Old Jewelry New

Updated: May 6, 2020

Designing jewelry from the craft store aisle can be overwhelming.. The kit above features lobster clasps, toggles, crimps (little gold and silver beads), earring hooks, stick pins, eye pins and jump rings. It's been sitting under my sisters bed for 15 years.

While it's nice to have every element that one could possibly dream, it's not how DMA classes encourage learners to prep for creation.

This hands on workshop encourages learners to shop at thrift stores for pieces more like this bracelet which includes elements that can be repurposed when crafting. Find items that have beads or chain that appeals to you. You will need a pair of needle nose pliers and a pair of wire cutters - then reworking those elements will be easy. This image shows stick pins (holding the blue beads), a lobster claw with ring (clasp) and jump rings (holding each charm to the chain) that can all be reworked into a fresh design.

By adding or removing elements, makers can turn an old piece into something totally different, without accumulating packages of craft supplies. The quality of findings also tends to be better in used jewelry than cheaper craft supplies. So you'll have one good clasp for your necklace, instead of 15 garbage ones. Plus the necklace probably offers other goodies to pick apart.

Tools to look for:

needle nose pliers

wire cutters

round pliers


Findings to look for:

stick pins (a wire with a tiny nail head)

eye pins (a wire with a circle on one end)


earring hooks

clip on earrings

hair clips

Elements to look for:






wire (check old electronics!)

To buy new:

crimp beads (these get squished to hold wire and cord in place, and can't be unsquished)

flexible stranded wire / tiger tail wire

elastic cord

It's best to only buy new when you have to, and a good idea to spend more on tools than on materials. Buy high quality tools, and get creative with the materials that find you.

Request a workshop for Making Old Jewelry New.

4 sessions live on Zoom with Carly

Ages 9+

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