Saturday, January 12, 2013

Grandma's Egg Carton Jewelry ~ Depression Era

This creative idea, was one of my Grandmother's.  She lived through the Depression, and made items she could sell.  The items she made were from other people's trash.

As hard as I looked for my own that she made me (as a child) I could not find it.  So, I started punching away, and re-created her jewelry as best as I could.  I still have holes punched from her also.

These pieces of jewelry are fun to make, and are very light weight.  So in honor of one of my grandmother's, here it is:

 Items needed:

~styrofoam egg cartons of different colors
~one-hole, hole punch
~recycled containers to store punched holes
~dental floss (for the sake of her original idea), or other jewelry string
~needle, thin enough to string through small beads, but also easy enough to thread the dental floss onto.
~bracelet and necklace clasps
~jewelry making hand tools (pliers etc.)
~small beads to coordinate color of styrofoam
~optional:  earring hoops or stud pieces to create matching earrings, along with eye posts and jewelry tools

1. Cut the egg carton top from the bottom, using scissors, and cutting the fold that connects them.  Save bottom for another use (note:  we'll be sharing some of those ideas later as well).

2.   Using the one-hole punch, punch out as many solid circles as possible. The top of the carton provides thicker pieces.

3. Once you have enough holes punched, cut a piece of dental floss, long enough for a bracelet or necklace.  Do not knot the end, and start stringing on the egg carton punches along with beads, carefully keeping them on the string.  Be sure to leave enough extra dental floss at each end, to knot onto clasp pieces.  

To the best of my knowledge, my grandmother used 2 punched holes of one color, then one of a contrasting color, followed by two of the first color used.  She typically had only one gold or silver bead in between the egg carton punched holes.  For ours, we used some fun multi-colored seed beads. 

You can mix and match in any order, but wanted to share the original idea she had.   We also used more seed beads to finish off the necklace, and simply use the egg carton pieces for what portion of the necklace can be seen from the front.

4. Keep measuring your string to your wrist or necklace, and when you have enough on the string, you will be adding the clasp at one end and the ring at the otherTie the dental floss after the jewelry pieces are tied, then using a needle, string the extra down into the beads and cut off the extra.


If you would like to make a matching bracelet, simply knot the dental floss as the appropriate length and tie on clasps.

 For earrings, I used eye posts, but these do not pierce the punched circles of egg carton.  Simply use a needle to pierce a hole first, then add on the beads and circles to your preference.

Use jewelry wire cutters to trim off the wire, using our round ended tool to bend a loop, and use the pliers to assist.  You can also use dental floss to string the earrings as well.  I added a jump ring to the earring and attached it to the post.

Jewelry supplies can be found at most larger hobby and craft stores. 

Use all types of colors to create fun, extreme jewelry. 

Update on the above necklace:  My grandmother's original design, was to continue the egg carton punches all the way around to the clasp.  For a different look, we did the above design, with the extra seed beads.   After my daughter wore this necklace for an entire day, we decided it had too many seed beads.  The weight of the beads caused the necklace to turn, and the clasp was always at the front.  

So...for future necklaces, you will want to simply continue the pattern of the egg carton punches, filled in between with beads, for the entire necklace.  If you do add more seed beads (or small beads at the ends, keep it to a small amount.

Thanks for stopping in, and enjoy your stay!



nancy said...

Cute! Would that be heavy enough to hang down ok?

Kristina said...

Yes, it's just a lighter weight necklace/bracelet etc.

Annielaurel said...

How pretty! I may make a necklace and bracelet. Thank you for the sweet story of your grandmother and for the directions.

Shannon said...

I love this! I am going to save my cartons and make one. I love upcycled jewelry/crafts. Thanks so much for posting this :)