Tag Archives: materials

Natures materials – A quick guide

It’s time to embrace nature! A.K.A., it’s spring, and now is the time to look for crafting materials in nature. Some of the materials in this guide do not associate with spring, I must admit that, but most of them are easiest to get during spring and summer, so I thought it was a good time to write about them. Here goes!

Going to the beach:

Have you ever picked up a pretty piece of glass at the beach? If it’s all rounded and milky, chances are you found yourself some seaglass! The prettier the piece, the rarer it is, and although it’s not really a material made by nature, it sure was perfected by the waves. These tiny treasures can be used for decoration, and look especially well together with seashells, which you can also pick up while walking along the beach. Both seaglass and seashells need to be boiled before usage though, so beware that the shells are empty! Don’t kill animals while shelling! While seaglass can be used in jewelry when wired or by drilling a tiny hole in it, there’s a lot more you can do with seashells. Paint them, turn them into angels, use them in jewelry, or whatever you want to! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for driftwood, which can also be very decorative in crafts, or just as is.

Going to the forest (or anywhere with vegetation):

Not everyone lives near a beach, but chances are there’s a nice forest nearby, where you can also find beautiful treasures for crafting. Pick some pretty flowers to dry or collect pinecones during autumn, to use as decorations in your home. Don’t know how to properly dry flowers? It’s easy! Take the flowers you’ve gathered, and put them inside a book to be pressed. Make sure you have some sort of paper (tissues will do) to put between the pages before you press the flowers though, as the water from the flowers can damage the book. Make sure you put something heavy on top of the book, and let the flowers dry while being pressed for at least 2-3 months. The bigger the flowers, the longer it takes. You can use them to decorate cards or bookmarks, and of course leaves also look pretty when dried!

Other things to look out for:

No matter where you go, chances are you might find some pretty rocks. Don’t laugh! I actually have a little collection of all black rocks, and they look awesome! Beach sand can also be very decorative, especially when used in a glass with a candle standing in it, or as sprinkle in crafts, giving that maritime feeling. If you have a good camera, take some pictures when you’re out in the open, and use those as wallpapers, prints, or other decorations. Nature looks good in a frame too!

Of course, there is so much more you can collect out there, but these are the things I look for myself, and can recommend. Nature’s own materials cost you no money, and when creating something with them, you can be sure that it’s 100% unique! So get out there and collect! Paint some beautiful shells, create some stunning jewelry, craft some cards for summer to send while on vacation, or impress your friends with a photo of that magnificent sunset you saw after a long day. Let your imagination fuel your ideas!

And the most important thing; have fun! 🙂

Need quick inspiration? Here are some photos from my Instagram account:

Pulling apart, cleaning and re-using

The past few weeks, I’ve been buying a lot of jewelry materials on sale, which of course is fine. I save money, and get new pieces to play with, thus having the opportunity to create new jewelry. After receiving one of two packages I was waiting for yesterday though, I started thinking about my goals with this hobby, and it actually made me kind of sad. Originally, I wanted to recycle old jewelry, and only buy new materials when needed. I’ve gotten off my path, and although I will of course keep buying new beads and stuff, I also want to go back to my original idea!

So I grabbed my boxes containing old jewelry I’ve been buying in second hand shops and at flea markets, and started pulling them apart, trying to get a good idea of what I actually had to work with. It took me 3 hours to pull an old necklace apart, and clean every piece afterwards. But it was worth it! My fingers and arms hurt from pulling and cleaning, but the beads and metal pieces look almost like new, and I can use many of them in new projects.

Today, my other package came, which was mainly waxed cord in various colors, which I need anyway, no matter whether I buy new beads or not. But after being happy about my new stuff, I went back to my boxes of old bling. A lot of chains were repaired today, more pieces pulled apart, and of course everything has been cleaned. I also cleaned out some old and broken stuff, which I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to use. Cleaning up feels so good, and now I know exactly what I have lying around, and everything is sparkling and ready to use.

To be honest, I think my laziness was the main factor for getting off my path. It’s so easy to walk into a second hand shop, look at their old jewelry, and decide what can be used. But coming home, all tired from the day, not having the energy to pull apart and clean what has been bought, lead me to just put it in a box, and partly forget about it. It’s a pity though, as many of the pieces are prettier than what can be bought new, after spending some time repairing and cleaning them.

Back to the idea of recycling though. My main reason to do it is not because parts are cheaper to buy, as the time I spend disassembling, repairing and cleaning them kind of outweighs it. No, I simply want what nobody else can get, and thus create unique jewelry. That old necklace I pulled apart yesterday can’t be bought in the store anymore, and therefore the pieces are rare and exclusive. Everyone can go to the nearest hobby store and buy new materials, resulting in many people creating jewelry that looks similar. It’s true, just try looking around Etsy. Where is the fun in that?

I want to leave a fingerprint on my work though, something that shows the buyer, that this piece is unique, and that I put my heart into creating it. I spend a lot of time in second hand shops and on flea markets looking for the perfect pieces, as well as pulling apart, repairing and cleaning them. That’s what I like doing, and that’s what I want a potential customer to see in my work.

Recycling is also very good for the environment, but that’s something I’d like to write about next week, so keep an eye out for my next post, which will be about upcycling, recycling and downcycling in general 🙂