Recycled Paper Jewelry


Re-Use is the New Recycle!  That is the motto of Next Step Recycling, a leader in the reuse movement in Eugene, and the motivation behind their second annual Eugene ReArt Festival , coming up August 6.  The ReArt Festival is an awesome arts and crafts festival devoted entirely to recycled art.  Everything at the festival needs to be at least 75% made of recycled materials.  And by recycled, they mean, actually destined for the trash heap.

Since the Paper Demon is going to have a booth there, she needs to get her act together and start pumping out recycled jewelry!

She had a plan but needed materials.  So, today wonderful partner and I took a trip to MECCA (where else), and I got everything I needed.  I came home and created a beautiful piece of jewelry in almost no time at all.

100% Recycled Paper Art Pendant

I don’t have time to post a tutorial right now, because I also need to create 75 of these for swag bags at a Green Beauty event in San Diego next month.  But I’m going to share my photos of the process in the hopes they inspire someone else to grab something really really old and ugly, cut it apart, repurpose it, and transform it into something beautiful.

A skanky cable bundle and a bread bag full of paper scraps

Noticing the nice soft wire inside the skanky cable bundle

Use a mat knife to cut open and remove the rubber cable cover

unwinding some of the wire

shape and hammer flat a beautiful shape. For me, it's spirals. I burnished for shine.

Attach paper scraps

coat with gel medium. let it dry. Appreciate.

hang on recycled cord. Voila!

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It’s all about the colors.   At Paper Demon Jewelry, we HAVE THE ABILITY!  The ability, that is, to make jewelry in the most eye-popping, mind-blowing colors on the planet.  Sure there are beads out there, and crystals, and felt, and resin, and many fine and colorful products.  But really, in the end, there is nothing that makes jewelry as SATURATED with color as paper.

And the funny thing is, it doesn’t have to be special handmade Japanese washi paper to do that.  Good old American crepe paper produces some of the richest, most saturated color tones possible, as long as it is treated right.  The trick with crepe paper is treating it right. It is a tempermental little beastie.

The Paper Demon scored a box of recycled crepe paper at MECCA awhile back, and I’ve been experimenting with it.  Here is my favorite item to date, just listed today in the Etsy store:  REDCOSMOS Spinning Sphere REcycled Paper Sculpture and Pearl Choker.

I love this piece.  I love the way the red is a fiery red. I love the organic shape of the spiral.  I love the freshwater pearls and how their lopsidedness mirrors the bead, and vice versa.  I love that it looks super cool on.

And I love the inspiration of this piece:  The Team Challenge of the Crafting in Color Team on Etsy, of which Paper Demon Jewelry is now a proud member!  This is, you know, kind of a big thing.    You see, jewelry makers can’t get onto the Crafting in Color Team, unless they request “special consideration” and prove to be, in the eyes of the administrators, “truly extraordinary.”  Well, who’s truly extraordinary now?  Hmm?  Oh yeah.  That’s right.

Crafting in Color is all about finding the most colorful, most color-forward, color-innovative, color-inspired artists on Etsy.   I like the sound of that.  Because at Paper Demon Jewelry, it’s all about the color.

Obviously, I love Japanese handmade paper!  At this point, you probably know that!  But, I also really care about the world.  And if I recycle paper in my office, then why shouldn’t I recycle paper in my jewelry?   A lot of artists and makers are rethinking their materials (you can find some of them at Scoutiegirl.com), and more and more trying to work in green, eco-friendly materials.

I haven’t found any sources for recycled washi yet (!!) but I recently scored a huge box of paper twist from our local Eugene craft exchange center, for a donation of a couple bucks.  I brought it home and gave it a Paper Demon makeover!  It makes the most gorgeous jewelry!

"SweetLife"--My Recycled Paper Jewelry Lariat Necklace

The flowers are accented with scraps of sparkly Japanese mizuhiki cord (as the flower stamens) from the studio, and hang on a cool crinkly pleather cord!  Vegan Jewelry rocks!  Hemp cord looks good too.

SweetLife can be tied or draped in a myriad of different ways

UPDATE:  SweetLife made it to Etsy Front Page on June 12!!!

Find SweetLife at http://www.paperdemonjewelry.etsy.com/listing/48934756/sweetlife-recycled-paper-flower-lariat

Now it’s got matching earrings and cocktail rings as well!

What I love most about this recycled paper twist material is that age has faded the paper in parts, giving the finished product the most wonderful subtle variations in color tone.  And of course, that I’m giving neglected old paper a lovely new lease on life!