Good Life

Art & Antiques: Old plates, costume jewelry repurpose nicely into gifts, art projects

A picture made of broken pieces of costume jewelry is one way to use old baubles that have no monetary value.
A picture made of broken pieces of costume jewelry is one way to use old baubles that have no monetary value. Photo provided

I often say just because something is old doesn’t mean it is automatically valuable. I have junk in my house; my grandmother had junk in her house. Sometimes these items are just older junk.

With those sage words of wisdom in mind, here are some creative ideas for what to do with those keepsakes you just can’t part with but that you don’t want to just store in a plastic tub for the rest of your life.

Repurposing is popular now, and more so at the holidays. Be sure to only repurpose those objects that really are not valuable. Once you know that you have an object of little market value, consider some creative ideas.

Piecing up the plates

Plates are among some of the most inexpensive collectibles that almost everyone has hanging around the house, attic or yard sale. Vintage decorative floral plates can be used at parties or given away to guests as favors. They really spruce up a buffet line, block party or family get-together.

Look around your grandma’s, aunt’s and neighbor’s cupboards and see if you can spot any plates. I have some chipped yet colorful examples from the 1970s hanging around my cabinets that would be prime examples for this project.

Some creative craft aficionados have taken such plates, broken them into pieces and used them in craft projects. Just break the inexpensive plates into 2- to 4-inch pieces and use them as you would tiles. One of the most popular ways to repurpose old plates is to fashion them into refrigerator magnets. Just stick an adhesive-backed magnet to the back of your plate piece.

I have seen some damaged or chipped plates recycled into a decorative concrete frame around the kid’s sandbox or kiddie pool area. They will look great stuccoed or glued onto wooden birdhouses, bird baths and trivets. Some folks have used broken plates as pieces for a walkway leading to a garden shed or pool house.

Picking up jewelry

Damaged jewelry or fancy buttons — particularly cheap pieces of costume jewelry that can no longer be repaired or worn — can be reused and made into really cool art objects.

Damaged pieces of costume jewelry can be the source for jewelry pictures by sewing or gluing the broken pieces onto a piece of velvet, felt or fabric. Then, the textile is framed as you would a collage.

Old broken jewelry or pieces can be made into a brooch tussy mussy, or brooch bouquet, made of fresh flowers and colorful fake gemstone pins in the shape of flowers. Country music star Miranda Lambert carried a brooch bouquet at her country-themed wedding. It is a cool union of vintage and Victorian, fresh and faux.

Some pieces of costume jewelry are valuable, so be sure to check out the value with an appraisal before you start taking apart the jewelry pieces. However, the damaged pieces are fair game for crafters.