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Video: The ‘nuts and bolts’ of jewelry making

  1. Transcript of: The ‘nuts and bolts’ of jewelry making

    ANN CURRY, anchor: This morning on BOBBIE'S STYLE BUZZ , do-it-yourself accessories. Apparently, the latest jewelry trends can be found at your local hardware store. TODAY's crafty style editor Bobbie Thomas is here to show us how it's done. Hey, Bobbie. Good morning.

    Ms. BOBBIE THOMAS: Hello. Yes.

    CURRY: We're talking about heavy metal here.

    Ms. THOMAS: We're seeing it everywhere.

    CURRY: And nuts and bolts first. But let -- before we get to that, why do you think this is a trend?

    Ms. THOMAS: I think for years we used jewelry to dress up our outfits, now jewelry is helping to dress a modern woman down.

    CURRY: Mm.

    Ms. THOMAS: And I definitely think this is an affordable accessible way to re-invent your look.

    CURRY: Mm.

    Ms. THOMAS: And I will prove it to you in this first category because it just costs pennies.

    CURRY: And you've got these necklaces and you've got earrings. You know, our cameraman Rope around here said that if he gave his wife one of these, he -- she would think he was nuts.

    Ms. THOMAS: I know.

    CURRY: But...

    Ms. THOMAS: Well, some designers are, you know, charging big bucks . I love Giles Brother , they're a beautiful design team, brother and sister, that make amazing jewelry, all inspired by hardware. But you can do this yourself. I made the small necklaces for about two dollars and two minutes of my time and about four dollars for this big necklace and two minutes of my time again. You just slice them on, knot the washers in place, and be creative. You can even slip them onto earrings, that takes seconds and it's pennies again. You can find this in probably the junk drawer of your house.

    CURRY: Very edgy. Very edgy. OK.

    Ms. THOMAS: Another big trend...

    CURRY: Clamps and connectors.

    Ms. THOMAS: ...with clamps and connectors. This is sort of that bold collar necklace we're seeing on the runway. This is a faucet -- flexible faucet connector. I'm going to earn points with the guys. This actually can help with just ribbon tied around the edges. It's instantly a collar necklace. And this, believe it or not , you don't even need to do anything, these are hose clamps.

    CURRY: Uh-huh .

    Ms. THOMAS: You can slide these on to be bangles. And you could even get crafty and connect them more. But these can also be rings. One of the guys here said that they went and got some of these last week, and if the sink was leaking that I could come in handy on a day...

    CURRY: Right, you always -- I know, I know. But, you know, they are -- they have a coolness to them, I could see teenagers especially liking these.

    Ms. THOMAS: Yeah. And those are like penny -- again, very inexpensive.

    CURRY: All right. Now we have wires and chains.

    Ms. THOMAS: Yes. Last week you saw this necklace I wore...

    CURRY: Yeah.

    Ms. THOMAS: ...by Dame Adornment on the show. I was in love with it and I was inspired to really see what I could do with chains. Literally, again, about probably four dollars to make some of this, you know, I guess avant-garde jewelry. You just slip the wire...

    CURRY: I would like to wear this just as a -- as a bracelet itself, it's so sweet.

    Ms. THOMAS: Really pretty. This is one of my favorite ideas, just cut -- you know, you can buy a chain on the roll or in a pack, it's about eight dollars for 10 feet, so you can make a lot of this. But you just slip a ribbon through the chain and you can get a double-wrap bracelet and you can make a little bit of a longer one. And this can actually be worn as a headband...

    CURRY: Mm.

    Ms. THOMAS: ...as a belt. And this costs a dollar and took about five minutes.

    CURRY: So this is a great way to make gifts, especially since people are trying to save money. I know you're doing the DIY for that reason in part...

    Ms. THOMAS: Yeah.

    CURRY: ...you really want to help people not spend a lot of money.

    Ms. THOMAS: But I also love DIY . I think you should be proud of something you made. I saw a pair of shoes that I was swooning over. I love you, Brian Atwood , but I didn't want to break down for the shoes that day, and I got inspired to make this for just 50 cents.

    CURRY: All right.

    Ms. THOMAS: And you can cover a nick or a scuff.

    CURRY: And lastly we've got hooks and clips.

    Ms. THOMAS: Yes. You can use what they call a snap hook, a double-ended snap hook. I really sound like I know my hardware stuff.

    CURRY: I'm impressed with you.

    Ms. THOMAS: To make any kind of belt. You just slip your fabric through and you can create the color belt you need in seconds. How many time have you -- how many times have you said, 'I need that'?

    CURRY: And Melanie is wearing one of your creations.

    Ms. THOMAS: Melanie 's wearing one made out of a pulley, a pulley and rope, so.

    CURRY: Bobbie Thomas always trying to save us money and inspire us. Thank you so much .

TODAY contributor
updated 9/9/2010 8:47:20 AM ET 2010-09-09T12:47:20

For years, we have used jewelry to dress things up, but a modern girl likes to also dress things down with more unfinished, raw accents. And recently, these “rough” materials have been inspiring designers to create casual accessories to wear with everything from day to night. In fact, you can find many of the same elements at your local hardware supply. Here are my tips on how to put together your own “heavy metal” pieces.

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Nuts and washers
Odds are, even if you don’t know it, you already have a few nuts and washers lying around your home at the bottom of a toolbox or drawer (if not, you can find these fasteners for pennies). Until now, you’ve probably had no use for these small nuggets, but they can temporarily transform jewelry you already own. You can quickly create necklaces, earrings or bracelets by using them as charms or pendants. You’ll need: washers, nuts and the necklaces or earrings you plan to adorn. Simply string on and/or loop and knot the washers and nuts to chains and earrings.

Clamps and connectors
You may be surprised that some supplies can be slipped on and worn instantly — no extra time needed. By giving the same form a new function, an overlooked item from a plumber’s kit can become your new conversation piece. Who knew that clamps and faucet connectors could double as chunky, chic accessories? If you want to get creative, you can attach more clamps together to make a cuff instead of a bangle. Look for hose clamps (which come in a variety of sizes and cost approximately 30¢-60¢), and/or flexible faucet connectors (approx. $6.50). You will also want some ribbon and/or tulle to make the same necklaces, bracelets and rings as seen on TODAY. You can wear the hose clamps as rings or bangles, depending on size, and adjust screws to make them bigger or smaller. To make a collar necklace with a flex faucet connector, tie equal-length pieces of ribbon or tulle to each end and use to secure by tying a bow.

Wire and chains
Try your own take on a trend that has been “hanging around” for a while by using wires and chains to create custom embellishments or convertible wrap pieces that can be worn as headbands, necklaces, bracelets and more. It's an easy way to add edge to your accessories and instantly make a sweet outfit more sophisticated. You’ll need some wire, pliers, scissors and chains — I used #200 Twist chain (approx. $8 for 10 feet), and ball/beaded chain (approx. $5 for 12 feet). You'll also want to gather fabric scraps or ribbons and all-purpose glue to help adhere embellishment.

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To make a wire collar necklace, use steel wire to measure neck circumference, cut to desired length with pliers. (For an added design element, try sliding steel wire collar through a utility chain.) Secure ends by bending wire into a loop, then wrap ends with metal wire. Wrap and drape light fixture chains around steel wire collar, use metal wire to secure and create design. To make bracelets and headbands, cut utility chains to desired length with pliers. Weave fabric and/or ribbon through chain, wrap where desired, and secure at ends with a knot in the fabric. To decorate footwear, measure how much utility chain you will need from the top back of the heel to the bottom of the stiletto. Cut chain with pliers, adhere with glue.

Hooks and clips
From fun belts to functional bag pulls, you can customize and personalize your style using spring clips, pulleys or chain collectors (approx 99¢-$3.99). How many times have you needed to find a specific colored or textured belt? Take advantage of the hardware needed and just add your own fabric for a one-of-a-kind simple solution. Or add a bit of your personality and transform your tote by clipping on a decorative tassel, ribbon or charm. You’ll need small pulleys, chain connectors, utility rope and/or ribbons, scissors and metal wire for these items.

To make a belt, select two pulleys of equal size to use for the buckle, and set aside. Measure the length of your waist with a rope, then double that length, and cut with scissors. Take the two pulleys and loop a rope through both. To keep pulleys in place and secure ends of rope, tighten and wrap rope with metal wire at the ends of each pulley and middle of the belt. Use chain connector to attach pulleys. You can also make a simple belt by using just the chain connectors and rope and/or ribbons, then cut rope to desired length and knot onto chain connector.

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