Friday, August 28, 2009

Jewelry for the (ahem) underemployed

Tired of your current jewelry, but need some LOW-budget options? Rediscover your inner college student and pick up the spray paint.

Since waves of unemployed writers and would-be writers have clogged the freelance market, I’ve had some spare time to search out old fake gold and silver earrings at thrift stores. The beautiful retro ‘50s and ‘60s jewelry is no longer there for the taking on thrift-store counters like it once was, but you can still find hoop and dangle earrings with surprisingly nice shapes. They run a measly $1 a pair at most Goodwill Stores. (I will wear clip-ons. If you only wear earrings for pierced ears, obviously be choosy about the posts going inside your ears.)

When the earrings are extra-shiny, I scuff them with sandpaper to get some tooth. Then I spiff up my finds with the spray paint. And if I feel particularly industrious, I add a top coat in a clear satin to boost the durability.

Rust-Oleum has a hammered metal spray paint in multiple colors that I really like. Unless the earrings are fairly bulky, you don’t get a strong hammered metal effect, but the finish still provides a great depth of color that plain old spray paint can’t match. I’m going to start looking for bangles next to see if I can continue my crafty ways.

The leftover spray paint has multiple Martha Stewart-esque uses. You can freshen up outdoor furniture, lamps, candleholders, mirror and picture frames, even bathroom accessories. I took three overly ornate plastic gold-tone mirrors I found at the thrift store, spray-painted them all violet, and hung them on my unrenovated bathroom wall. They're now the most high-end-looking part of the bathroom. So if you are ready-to-scream tired of something and it’s not a collectible, see how it looks with a coat of spray paint.


  1. Re-purposing/upcycling is a wonderful idea!

    While I don't wear earrings I got the same result (creative outlet/sense of accomplishment) from recycling/re-building a piece of outdoor furniture.