DIY style: Hardware you can wear

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. 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 connectorsYou 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 chainsTry 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.

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 clipsFrom 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.