Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vintage Costume Jewelry Christmas Trees

I've been hording collecting vintage costume jewelry for a few years now in anticipation of making these bejeweled Christmas trees.

Apparently, this was a very popular trend back in the early 1970s.  I can't imagine why these fell out of vogue because I think they're absolutely stunning!  And what better way to upcycle broken, damaged, tarnished, or out-of-style jewelry?

I had so much fun making these!  And it was super simple...

Gather your jewels ~ any costume brooches, earrings, necklaces and bracelets will do!  Grab a pair of wire cutters, a picture frame, a piece of fabric for your background (I used velvet), spray adhesive and your choice of craft glue.

Cut a piece of fabric about an inch larger than the opening of your frame and using the spray adhesive, glue it to the cardboard that comes with your frame.  After it's dry, pop it back into your frame, ditching the glass (unless you're using a shadow box frame, the frame will be too shallow to fit the jewelry and the glass).

Lay out your jewels in the shape of a Christmas tree, or any shape for that matter, and when you're satisfied with your design, begin gluing each jewel to the fabric.

I began by first choosing my tree topper and then worked my way down and out.  I did my best to form perfect symmetry though this is really impossible when you don't have two of every piece of jewelry.  I must've rearranged my jewels about 20 times before I was satisfied I had the best design.

Several of the jewelry pieces I collected were missing gems, so I pried out gems from pieces I didn't want to use, dabbed a bit of glue onto them and then used my tweezers to place them into the pieces for my trees.  Good as new!

This is the one I made for my daughter.  I chose jewels with all sorts of color ~ red, blue, pink and purple.  Natalie especially loves the bow "tree trunk" and the ornate black frame ($4 I think from TJ Maxx).

See the mini cameo on the left?

This is the one I made for my BFF, Melanie.  Diamonds and pearls and stones in all sorts of blue shades.  Love how all the bling pops off the black velvet and white frame.  Oh, and though you can't really see it in these pictures, after I painted this frame white, I brushed on some silver glitter paint.

This is the one I kept for myself.  I used mostly diamond and pearl pieces and added a few pink-ish gems.

I went ahead and gave Natalie and Melanie their trees so that they'll be able to enjoy them all Christmas season this year.  And so that I could share this post with you ~ you may want to give these a try yourself!

I love them so much that I'm trying to decide on a non-Christmas themed design so that I can leave it out and admire it all year long.

I probably have a good 10 lbs of jewelry left over so I'll likely make more trees ~ maybe list them in my Etsy shop and website.  Tis the season to get crafty!


Colleen said...

These are wonderful! I see some vintage jewelry framed hearts in the future! They will adore these.

Paula Parrish said...

What a great project, and super creative. Love your new Christmas artwork. ;o)

Peace said...

I've been saving up thrifted jewels for one of these also! I found a small one at the thrift this summer. Thinking of doing a non-pine tree tree shape. :O) Lovely!

Becky said...

I have a pin for you! I've been meaning to send it for weeks now!!! So don't make your every day one yet!

And I meant what I said earlier - Brilliant and beautiful and the trees are purdy too!

Donna said...

These are gorgeous! I have several pieces that I need to look at and see if I have enough.

Donna said...

These are gorgeous! I have several pieces that I need to look at and see if I have enough.

Paulette said...

The trees are absolutely stunning. Your friends are certainly lucky to receive these trees as gifts. Fabulous.

Julianne said...

Awww! My mom used to make these when I was young. They were 11x14 and she would drill holes and put christmas lights in between the jewelry. They hung on the wall every Christmas season. I sure miss having one...she would cover the plywood with a black velvet so the light would really glimmer against the jewelry...so fun!! thanks for bringing back that memory!

Michaele said...

These are just stunning! Anyone could try this - but you make it ART!

Anonymous said...

Love my sparkly tree! I'm so lucky to have such a talented BFF!

Recycled Relix said...

They are gorgeous! I particularly love the black frame one! great recycling idea Cingy.

Little Susie Home Maker said...

Those are so beautiful! I would want those up all year! They should be so happy with theirs, and yours is lovely. I remember seeing these before, but forgot about them. Hmm.. I think I am going to be going through my old jewelry!

Suz said...

List these on your etsy shop. I'm interested. My mom made these. I think they are beautiful.

Unknown said...

Guess what I'm going to start hoarding now. No joke, these are so gorgeous!

donna said...

That is beautiful. What a great idea. You are just so talented and clever. Thank you for sharing such a great idea.

GardenOfDaisies said...

These are totally fabulous! All are wonderful, but I think my favorite has to be the one you made for your friend with the pearls and blue stones. LOVE!