Sure, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but you don’t need a special day to surprise your significant other with something pretty, do you? Here are a few of our favorite upcycled baubles to provide you a little inspiration the next time you’re looking for a gift that’s as pretty as it is responsible.
In the United Kingdom, Annabel Neilson transforms shiny beverage pull-tabs into earrings, bracelets and necklaces. The designs often incorporate such extra embellishments as rivets, washers and even bits of discarded inner tubes from a bicycle repair shop.
“I use recycled materials and waste products in all my work,” Neilson says. “I like to encourage people to view these materials in a different light, and to see that it is possible to make ‘trash’ into ‘treasure,’ and to think twice before throwing things away.”
She continues, “I love our planet Earth, and I believe that there is so much ‘stuff’ already in existence that there really is no need to be buying more stuff, when you can recycle/upcycle the old.”
If you agree, browse Neilson’s pull-tab earrings and other designs at Tinkan Designs on Etsy.
When he’s not selling skateboards at his family’s store in Ohio, Jake Benz is in the workshop repurposing old, well-worn and broken boards that patrons drop off.
Transforming unsightly beat-up boards into fresh, smooth and vibrant rings is extremely rewarding, Benz says. The patterns and hues vary, depending on the veneers of the skateboard being recycled.
So are skateboard rings romantic? Sure. “We’ve done wedding rings,” Benz says.
Benz’s recycled designs also include earrings. See all the designs in the ReAply Etsy shop.
Recycled Metal Earrings
Denise Fitzgerald of Bothell, Washington, enthusiastically repurposes metal from coffee cans, empty energy drinks and watch boxes.
Strategically selected product packaging of various types serves as Fitzgerald’s palette. “[My husband] sees a beer can and I see a pair of earrings,” Fitzgerald explains.
Her fresh jewelry designs emerge from bits of metal cut from her collection of colorful containers. Some pieces feature embossed patterns or other design elements. But the vibrant hues are directly from the original cans and containers. “I find the dizzying array of colors and patterns too good to pass up,” Fitzgerald writes on her website. See for yourself on the Salvij website.
A designer in India fashions pendants, earrings and other items from paper, including recycled newspaper. The artist’s Papermelon Etsy shop includes a square-ish pendant with vibrant vertical stripes accomplished with thin strips of glossy newspaper. The foundation of the piece is sculpted from recycled cardboard, according to the description.
Inner Tube Accessories
KEESFashion on Etsy offers dangling earrings formed with sliced pieces of tire inner tubes. The designer, Marit Roosen of the Netherlands, says, “I started out working with inner tubes of bikes and trucks mostly because we have a lot of this material, we can’t really recycle it, and it is really cool stuff.
“After experimenting for a while, we found that it looks and handles almost exactly like leather, but then [it’s] animal-free, which is an added bonus for our vegan friends.”
Feature image: Tinkan Designs on Etsy.com
Editor’s note: Originally published on February 20, 2018, this article was republished in February 2019