Sunday, September 14, 2008

Design Research for Project Object Green

So, I was brainstorming how to create a wearable and easily reproducible piece of jewelry using cans discarded for recycling. Our large recycling bin is consistently full of shiny aluminum cans. My aesthetic is to not only reclaim these discarded materials but to combine them with natural materials of and from the earth – twigs, stones, leaves, etc. I want the theme of my pieces to be in the spirit of saving the earth.

My market research via the internet revealed an overused technique of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets made from cutting the flattened can into various shapes and affixing those shapes on either ear wires, chains of various lengths, barrettes, or pinbacks, such as those at and directly below.


"To recycle a soda can, you usually just throw it away into one of those government mandated recycling bins. How about a creative way to use your empty cans? Look no further than Etsy. Available are these Dr. Pepper Earrings ($7) and the Mountain Dew Bracelet ($8), which can also double as a necklace for midgets. These would make a great gift for the caffeine lover in your life. Now all they have to do is make a Sprite version for people who don’t drink caffeine."
- Andrew Dobrow

"I cut pieces from aluminum cans, ensure there are no sharp edges, and assemble them to make these lovely little flowers. This one can take on its new life as a brooch/pin, barrette, hairpin, or magnet. I used a rhinestone brad to hold the flower together and to give the pin a bit of sparkle."
- BarkerBell Herbs and Heirlooms


Some people have added finer materials, like Swarovski crystals or sterling silver, to create earrings and cuff bracelets, as at or below.

"Delicate, sparkling and beautiful – each earring is a double-layered flower cut from recycled soda pop cans. In the center, a glittering Swarovski crystal."

"These bracelets are made with a generous dose of 100% sterling silver and real beer or soda cans (personally emptied by Dana Roth or a close friend). The aluminum is secured to the bracelet with sterling rivets and protected from damage by silver end-caps."


In the same manner, others added recycled wire and fashioned angels or people, or simply used the pop-tabs alone, as in below.

"The jewelry featured here are from the Bombulu Workshop in Mombasa, Kenya. The fun and funky earrings and pin above were made from recycled soda pop cans and wire. The choker consists of soda can tops. Their creativity and skill at making such great jewelry out of discards is amazing - just look at the angel pin."


Then, I ran across an interesting and different idea – bottle cap brooch- at below. This brooch, secured on a store-bought pin back, is made from a metal juice bottle cap. The cap is painted with acrylic paint and the concave side is filled with beads. I liked the “look” of this and wanted to incorporate this idea into my soda can brooch.

"unique brooch using a bottle cap...and variety of beads"
-Christina Panczyk


Once I had decided on my idea, I browsed the web and found something very similar to what I had in mind at (below). They incorporated the concave can bottom to create a look similar to the bottle cap brooch. However, the brooch is worn with a store-bought pin back.

I had to think of an alternate way to attach the brooch to the body. Since creating handmade pin backs would have been an inefficient use of my time, I experimented during my creative caffeine assignment with different methods of attachment. I settled on sandwiching one can top between two can bottoms, creating a smoother and more finished look. The back of the brooch then has a beveled edge which can be secured onto a shirt from behind with a simple rubber band. This method of attachment allows you to avoid poking holes in clothing and firmly secures the brooch. However, they are really only meant to be worn on thin jersey material or cotton t-shirts.

"This DIY is from the wonderful book Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects."


These are my brooches:

1 comment:

ohsherri said...

I LOVE these Katy! Your project turned out awesome! My fav is the one with grass.
I really want one of those Guinness can-bracelets. Guess I better go to the liquor store!