Handmade Jewelry Using Hardware Parts: Nuts, Bolts and Watch Parts

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Handmade Jewelry Using Hardware Parts: Nuts, Bolts and Watch Parts


Nuts, bolts, gears, and other hardware components become unexpected jewelry materials with a bit of vision. By repurposing hardware and mechanical parts in creative ways, you can make edgy, steampunk-inspired jewelry designs.

This guide covers how to transform humble hardware into amazing pendants, charms, rings, and more. Learn techniques like drilling, coloring, resizing, and reshaping small parts. Discover inspiring DIY jewelry ideas featuring salvaged hardware components.

Benefits of Using Hardware in Jewelry Making

Integrating hardware offers many creative advantages:

  • Provides a vast range of readily available, inexpensive components to repurpose
  • Allows very unique steampunk, industrial, and machine-age inspired looks
  • Offers great versatility mixing with other materials like gems, resin, and leather
  • Achieves polished metallic finishes without specialized metalworking equipment
  • Creates conversation piece jewelry with unusual shapes and textures
  • Enables making strong, durable designs suited for daily wear
  • Allows following eco-conscious principles by salvaging and upcycling discarded materials

Must-Have Tools for Working with Hardware

The right basics tools assist modifying and incorporating hardware:

  • Pliers – Grip and reshape hardware pieces that may be slippery or tiny
  • Wire cutters – Cut lengths of wire cleanly for wrapping and connecting
  • Power Drill – Drill holes into flat surfaces of washers, metal blanks, and components
  • Jeweler’s saw – Cut notches, slits, and custom shapes with precision blade control
  • Bench vise – Holds hardware securely on a worktable while you alter it with both hands free
  • Riveting hammer – Used with rivet backing plates to attach hardware pieces together without welding
  • Dremel rotary tool – Sands and abrades rough edges smooth for comfort against skin
  • Permanent marker – Marks drilling locations and design plans directly onto metal pieces

Must-Have Hardware for DIY Jewelry

Browse hardware aisles to find ideal components ripe for transforming into jewelry:

  • Washers – Ring shapes in diverse metals, sizes, and colors
  • Nuts and bolts – Metallic spheres, cubes, tubes with built-in shanks
  • Screws – Intricate threads and ridged shafts add detail
  • Nails – Cut and hammer flattened for edgy visible shanks
  • Rivets – Permanent alternatives to solder for joining metal
  • Spacers – Tiny shapes fit together like puzzles between larger pieces
  • Cogs – Cut gears down for steampunk charms and focal elements
  • Springs – Coil into rings or cut into segments for moveable parts jewelry
  • Hinges – Attach mechanisms to lockets, boxes, and articulated jewelry
  • Turnbuckles – Ornate antique-looking connectors mimic filigree

Techniques for Altering Hardware into Jewelry

Follow these tips to modify utilitarian hardware into decorative jewelry:

  • Use pliers to reshape circular washers into curved heart, teardrop, or oval shapes
  • File or sand flat sides of nuts and bolt heads to round off edges for comfort
  • Cut pieces like screws and nails to desired lengths for visible shanks
  • Hammer flat any bulky or uncomfortable protrusions and sharp points
  • Drill pilot holes in center of flat washers and metal blanks to attach findings
  • Use patina solutions to antique and oxidize hardware for vintage flair
  • Paint hardware with nail polish or enamel to add bright color
  • Soak hardware in vinegar overnight then brush with steel wool to achieve a rusted patina
  • Wrap stripped wire around components like washers, beads, and springs to attach them together
  • Rivet layered hardware pieces together permanently by using a backing plate on the reverse side

Unique Jewelry Designs Using Repurposed Hardware

Looking for inspiration? Here are beautiful ways to give nuts, bolts, and other hardware new life as handmade jewelry:

Repurposing Watch Parts into Jewelry

Vintage and broken watch components gain new purpose when upcycled into jewelry. Try these methods:

  • Remove inner workings to use tiny cogs as eclectic stud earrings
  • Cut apart leather watch bands to use strips in braided friendship bracelets
  • Transform round watch faces into engraved pendants by adding a drilled bail
  • Use power drill mini bits to pierce watch faces then string onto bracelets or necklaces
  • Glue slender watch hands pointing to meaningful times and dates onto pendants
  • Incorporate sectioned watch gears between glass domes as necklace pendants
  • Frame and display intact watch faces under glass in ornate rounding as statement rings
  • Add jeweled bezels around salvaged watch faces to create elegant vintage-look rings
  • Etch roman numerals or designs into metal watch backs to make personalized bracelets

Tips for Elevating Your Hardware Jewelry Making

Use these tips to take your hardware jewelry designs up a level:

  • Source unique recycled elements at antique shops, flea markets, garage sales, and Etsy
  • Curate cohesive themed collections using similar hardware pieces like all watch parts or all silver nuts and bolts
  • Mix metals like brass, copper, and silver for eclectic mismatched steampunk appeal
  • Integrate hardware with complementary natural materials like leather, wood beads, and stone
  • Opt for matte black finish hardware to embody sleek modern minimalist styles
  • Look for parts with ornate etching, knurling, or existing patinas full of character
  • Pair masculine bold shapes with feminine touches like crystals, tassels, and velvet ribbon
  • Display jewelry busts and stands with hardware jewelry to showcase all angles and layers
  • Capture styled jewelry photos on interesting surfaces like woodgrain and blueprint paper


With creative vision, humble hardware components transform into jewelry brimming with personality. Nuts, bolts, screws, and watch parts provide no shortage of materials to upcycle into innovative wearable art designs.

Take inspiration from machine age aesthetics to make cogs, springs, and gears into mechanisms for imaginary devices. For edgy elegant styles, reshape industrial metal pieces with patinas and paint. Or create DIY charm bracelets from colorful stacks of common hardware store finds.

Give overlooked items new purpose. Follow principles of sustainable jewelry making by salvaging and repurposing humble metal parts into one-of-a-kind modern heirlooms. Let your imagination guide you to see the hidden potential all around.

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