I had the opportunity last week to get in on Happy Mango Beads’ Annual “Trash to Treasure” Challenge for Earth Day. The mission is to repurpose or upcycle an old item, and turn it into a beaded jewelry piece. There were several categories but when I saw “scrap metal” – well, you know me. Of course I was all over that! So I stamped up this old sugar spoon and added some beaded charms made from recycled glass.
This isn’t intended to be a full tutorial today. I didn’t snap a lot of photos while I was working – which is pretty typical when I’m doing design work for a challenge or contest. If you’re already into stamping or metal work, I’ll explain what I’ve done and give you some pointers, but this post won’t have as much full detail as my typical tutorials. If you’d like to know more about metal stamping, I have a whole category dedicated to it, including a beginner’s metal stamping post with both photo and video instructions that you can check out.
First things first: get inspired, right? I made a storage unit run not too long ago (ugh, that’s been a process, but let’s not go there today). And as I pulled a few more boxes to bring home and unpack, I spotted my parents’ old silverware chest.
I didn’t have the heart to break up the set, but as it turned out, there were a few stray/extra/mismatched pieces in there that weren’t the same pattern. So I didn’t feel bad at all taking this spoon with some very cool detail on the edges and turning it into a pendant. Here’s how I made it happen. A note about metal here – this is a silver plated spoon. So it’s a softer metal. This won’t work on stainless steel.
First, I flattened the bowl of the spoon. The fluted edges prevented me from flattening the whole thing. But that’s okay, because I just needed a flatter surface to stamp on. I used the flat side of my chasing hammer for this.
Next, I attempted to cut the handle off with tin snips, and that didn’t really work at all. Instead, I just positioned the spoon on my anvil at the spot I wanted to cut it, and bent the handle down. Bending it back and forth a couple times made it break right off.
I hammered and filed the sharp edge so that it wouldn’t scratch me. Depending on how yours breaks, this may or may not be necessary – for me, it was. Though that may be because I gouged it up with the tin snips first. :P
Finally, I stamped it. I chose “live happy” as my sentiment. And I polished all the tarnish off, too.
Then, I needed to create a loop to make a pendant. The metal was a little too hard to be able to use pliers on – I could get it to bed a little, but not get anywhere close to actually closing. So, I just hammered it down and that worked really well. Just be sure if you go this route that you don’t flatten the loop too much, or it will be tough to string it on a chain. If you have a steel mandrel, you may want to hammer around that to make sure it stays open.
So now, I had my pendant. But it still needed a little something more. So I wire-wrapped a couple of charms made from recycled glass beads. Because the edge of the spoon made it look a little “leafy”, I coiled my wire more than I typically would, going for a “vine” look. (If you’re new to charm-making, I recommend checking out my charm bracelet post for the how-to.) I attached these with a couple of 16mm jump rings – which had to be large to fit around the spoon handle.
Finally, I chose a heavy 5mm chain to match the heft of the pendant, and strung it on a 16″ length. The spoon isn’t heavy or anything – but visually, it’s large. So it needed a solid-looking chain to balance the look.
What do you think? Have you turned anything into jewelry lately?