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What to do with Thrifted Finds?

Upcycling costume jewelry into really cool hardware!


Who else is attracted to shiny things? Me too!! That’s why I can’t pass up those bags and jars of costume jewelry while out and about on thrifting adventures. While browsing at the Brimfield Flea Market, I bought several bags for $10 to $15 each. One was labeled "good costume jewelry” and the other as “crafting costume jewelry”. So make sure you know that if you buy jewelry for crafting, you will have lots of bits and pieces and missing stones, broken chains but endless possibilities for reusing.

First things first, let’s clean this jewelry! Here is how I have been cleaning mine for years, and totally safe for pearls and gems. You will need the following supplies:

aluminum foil

baking soda

table salt

dish soap


Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a bowl. Add one tablespoon of the following: salt, baking soda, and dish soap. Add one cup of hot water. Now add in a handful of your jewelry at a time, let it bubble, and soak for a good ten minutes.

Rinse in cool water then pat dry.

Now the fun begins! Sorting through your treasures is half of the fun! For this post, I concentrated on watches and a few sparkly earrings. I used a mini bolt cutter to snip off the watch faces And other bits. The watches snipped surprisingly easy. You could also try wire cutters or a Dremel but these bolt cutters did the trick!

I knew I wanted to create some unique hardware with these watch faces. I had a box of unfinished, wood drawer knobs. Keep your eye out while out thrifting or you can always pick some up at the hardware store. Using Dixie Belle Paint in Caviar and Cotton, I painted two thin coats of paint and let it dry overnight. Now on to more fun! I used glue to adhere the watch faces and other sparkles to the drawer knobs.

I used e6000 and blue painter's tape to keep the faces steady as the glue cured. Now on to the really fun part! Embellish at will. Mouse, wax, more paint, patina! It’s endless what you can do!

These four below were painted with Cotton and Pearlescent glaze by Dixie Belle Paint Company

Won‘t a set of these unique watch faces hardware with some Patina look right at home on a steampunk themes piece?

You can get any of your Dixie Belle Paint supplies here:

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