Handmade Jewelry Using Hardware: Nuts, Bolts, Washers and Found Objects

yellow flower encased in resin necklace

Handmade Jewelry Using Hardware: Nuts, Bolts, Washers and Found Objects


Looking for an edgy way to make your handmade jewelry designs stand out? Incorporating hardware like nuts, bolts, screws, and washers allows you to transform industrial components into chic mixed media jewelry. Taking inspiration from found objects offers endless possibilities too.

This guide explores ways to repurpose hardware supplies, found items, and other non-traditional materials into innovative pendants, charms, bead caps, and focal elements for necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Learn how to mount and modify pieces to bring out their inner jewelry potential!

Benefits of Hardware and Found Items for Jewelry

Why integrate hardware and found objects into jewelry designs? Here are some key perks:

Unique Style

Repurposed items bring uncommon shapes, colors, and textures you won’t find in traditional jewelry materials.

Built-In Variety

The range of possible components from hardware stores and the world around you is endless. Constantly refresh your inspiration!

Rustic, Industrial Look

Hardware and found items fit perfectly with popular vintage, steampunk, and boho fashion styles.

Conversation Pieces

Jewelry with meaningful repurposed bits fosters social connections as people ask about the unique stories behind them.

Eco-Friendly Reuse

Making jewelry from existing supplies is the ultimate environmentally friendly upcycling.

Budget Friendly

Small hardware bits and found objects are often quite affordable or free. Old jewelry can provide parts as well.

Helpful Tools and Materials for Upcycled Jewelry Making

While it’s an improvisational craft, a few basic supplies provide helpful assistance:


Needle nose and flat nose pliers help shape metal hardware components like wire, washers, and nuts.

Jewelry Findings

Essential metal items like headpins, eyepins, and jump rings connect elements into wearable jewelry designs.


Epoxy or strong glues secure stacked washers, nuts, and items like coins or tiles onto each other or jewelry bases.


Assortments of nuts, bolts, screws, washers, rivets, nails, spacers, and other hardware offer raw material options.

Found Objects

Keep an eye out for interesting components like old keys, typewriters keys, game pieces, coins, etc.

Jewelry Tools

Basic tools like wire cutters, files, hammers, and a bench block assist in working hardware into jewelry.

Techniques for Transforming Hardware Into Jewelry

With some metal-working skills and creativity, you can modify basic hardware into custom jewelry pieces. Try out these techniques:


Use metal hammers against a steel bench block to alter the shape and texture of washers, metal blanks, findings, etc.


Set metal eyelet rivets into leather, wood, or plastic blanks to create decorative focal spots on pendants and charms.

Wire Wrapping

Wrap copper wire around components to attach them together or onto headpins and eyepins for dangles or focal beads.


Use pliers to bend metal pieces like large washers into new forms like hearts or curved accent shapes.


Add antique, vintage colors using oxidizing chemicals, paints, or heat to patina over metal elements.


Drill holes into coins, tiles, or sea glass to attach findings and hang as pendants or earrings.


Layer washers and spacers with nuts and rivets into interesting dimensional groupings. Varying sizes, colors, and textures looks cool!

Incorporating Found Objects Into Jewelry Designs

Everyday items gain new life as charms, focal points, and embellishments on jewelry. Get creative with these approaches:


Cut button loops off the back to transform shirts or coat buttons into pendants, focal beads, or charm accents.

Sea Glass

Shape frosted sea glass shards into pendants using wire wrapping, bead frames, or by drilling holes to add hooks.


Display special years or mint marks by framing coins in bezels or wire wrapping as pendants. Add patina for an aged look.

LEGO® Bricks

Build micro mosaics or stacks with LEGOs. Attach studs to jewelry blanks using hot glue or epoxy.

Game Pieces

Game parts like miniature Monopoly houses or Scrabble letter tiles get a second life as eclectic charms.

Typewriter Keys

Adhere old typewriter keys using epoxy onto bars or bead caps to spell out names or words.

Vintage Keys

Transform old skeleton keys into statement necklace pendants symbolizing unlocking the past.

Jewelry Design Inspiration With Hardware and Found Items

Need ideas to get your creative juices flowing? Take inspiration from these ways to repurpose hardware and found materials into jewelry:

Washer bracelets

Rivet colorful washers together to form funky wide cuff bracelets. Layer with leather cord bracelets for contrast.

Fork pendants

Use patina paints to age fork tines arranged into letters or designs in wire-wrapped pendants.

Game board earrings

Adhere sliced game board sections printed with bold graphics onto statement drop earrings using epoxy resin.

Scrabble jewelry

Glue letter tiles to spell out names, words, or phrases on necklace blanks, cuff bracelets, or charm dangles.

Hardware beads

Group nuts, bolts, and washers into funky focal beads for stringing. Combine with glass beads for an industrial style.

Watch part jewelry

Transform pieces from broken watches like gears, faces, and minute hands into steampunk-inspired pendants and embellishments.

Footprint jewelry

Impress loved one’s footprints onto metal clay to capture baby’s first steps or dance recital memories in a pendant.

Tips for Elevating Your Repurposed Jewelry Creations

Follow these handy tips to bring your jewelry making with non-traditional materials up a level:

  • Look for items with personal meaning or significance to give designs sentimental value.
  • Ensure items are clean before adhering into place permanently to prevent trapped dirt.
  • Use strong two-part epoxy adhesives like E6000 that bond well and dry clear.
  • Seal porous found objects like wood or sea glass to prevent damage from moisture.
  • Sand rough edges on hardware or use jewelry pliers to reshape into soft curves for comfort.
  • Add patina paints and chemical solutions to age metal elements like coins, gears, keys, etc. for vintage flair.
  • Group like elements into collections for unified looks rather than a hodgepodge of random pieces.


With some vision and skill, hardware supplies and found objects gain new life as extraordinary jewelry. Nuts, bolts, game pieces, buttons, and keepsakes become the basis for creating sentimental and edgy designs.

Take inspiration from the shapes, textures, and colors of everyday materials in new ways. A basic understanding of jewelry making techniques allows you to modify and incorporate elements into functional finished pieces.

Challenge yourself to see the artistic potential in mundane objects. Choose items reflecting your style, interests, and memories. Upcycling provides affordable options to handcraft jewelry as unique as you are.

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