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Friday, May 10, 2013

Cheap Frills Tutorial: Trashion Earrings

As you know, I love Do It Yourself projects, and I get special happiness from making something unique for little or no cost. Sometimes the most creative results come from the challenge of making an accessory from something you already have. Recently I decided that my blog needs a tutorial section, with instructions and photos in case anyone wants to try some of the things that have brought me such fun. Many times I’ve heard people say they are not creative enough to make things to brighten their world. And they’re wrong! Anyone can make things to bring a more personalized look to their house, yard, clothes, or to their life.

Welcome to my new tutorials section: “Cheap Frills.”

At first I thought I’d call this feature “Cheap Thrills,” as it gives me a thrill to make something cool yet budget-friendly. But a few hours later I decided that “Cheap Frills” was an extra-fun play on words and conveyed my mission to create or revamp things very inexpensively for fabulously memorable results.

(In this case “frills” does not refer to miles of 1980s rose-printed fabric, gathered and bunched into puffy drapes. No, for my purposes, frills will refer to any embellishment that makes a house, garden, wall, clothing item, earring, mirror, shoes (ETC!) more fantastic.)

Let the frilling begin!

My first Cheap Frills Tutorial is a fun pair of DIY earrings. (You can’t have too many pairs of DIY earrings. It is not possible!)

This is a trashion project. Trashion is exactly what it sounds like: taking materials that some might consider trash or recycling and turning them into creative, wearable conversation-pieces. (I know. I’m excited, too!)

Supplies Needed:

·         Junk mail or other glossy pieces of paper (magazines, etc)

·         Scissors

·         Glue sticks

·         1 post-it (3” x 3”)

·         1 sheet of paper

·         Clear packing tape

·         Ear wires (craft stores like Michael’s carry them for less than $1/pair)

·         Needle-nosed pliers

·         Standard sewing needle and thread (color of your choice)

How to make your own fabulous junk mail earrings:

1.       Cut up your junk mail. (I keep only the pieces that have colors or patterns I like.)

2.       Choose pieces for your first pair of earrings. (I chose a rainbow theme this time but you could do absolutely anything that speaks to you. I like pieces with some text on them because it adds more visual texture. For fun, I sometimes use only part of a word (or turn it upside down).

3.       (This step involves a post-it, and can be skipped if you prefer to glue your junk mail directly to a piece of paper.) Stick your post it to a piece of paper. The post-it becomes the back of your earrings. (I used a turquoise post-it because I wanted my earrings to be colorful on the backside.)

4.       Glue pieces of your junk mail to the post-it (or directly to your piece of paper).

5.       When the post-it is covered with junk mail, peel it off the sheet of paper. Cut the post-it into two pieces. They can be exactly the same shape or slightly different shapes.


6.       Get your clear packing tape and cut a small piece (half an inch by one inch). Repeat.

7.       Fold one piece of packing tape over the top edge of your earring and secure to the back of the paper earring. This tape won’t be seen but it reinforces the top of the earring. Repeat for other paper earring.

8.     Get your ear wires. If the loop at the bottom of each wire is not completely closed, use needle-nosed pliers to close the loops. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, find a friend or neighbor who owns tools and who can help you. It will take a minute or less—literally!)

9.       Thread your needle and tie a small knot in the end of your thread. Starting from the back of your paper earring, push your needle through the top of your paper earring, where it is reinforced with tape. Pull it all the way through until the knot touches the back of your paper earring. Put your needle through the loop of your ear wire, and then back through the front of your paper earring. Pull the needle and thread until the ear wire is roughly 1/8 of an inch above the earring paper. Repeat several times until you think the ear wire and the paper earring are securely attached to each other. Tie a double knot in your thread and snip away extra thread. Repeat for the second earring.

10.   Wear your fabulous custom earrings out and be prepared for ooohs and ahhhs.


Trashion Earrings from Junk Mail. I already had ear wires, supplies and junk mail so my total cost: zero! Total fun: HUGE!

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