Kate Dolack
October 07, 2013 9:00 am

Earrings are like socks: when it’s really important I find a pair, I can only find one. I swear, it happens every time-even the absolutely gorgeous Anthropologie earrings I spent a small fortune on will inevitably break up and move to different living quarters, like the lining of the purse hidden in the back of my closet and my top dresser drawer. Call me irresponsible, but I’m pretty sure it’s an earring conspiracy.

As much as I love searching for hidden treasures to transform, there are few things I despise more than being in a rush and tearing apart my room trying to find a missing accessory. It could be the tiniest, most unnoticeable part of my outfit but if I had planned on wearing it, then I believe it essential. When it goes missing, it feels like worst, most rage inducing thing to happen… ever. Especially those times when I’m not sure I like what I’m wearing. Obviously, because in my head, that earring was totally going to detract from the fact that I bought the outfit, oh, two sizes ago. Yes, especially then. These are the moments when I shame spiral wail back into a hormonal twelve year old girl, I have nothing to weaaaarrrrr!

(Occasionally it feels cathartic to lack perspective.)

There were a few months when this started to happen nearly every time I had to go out. My checking account wasn’t thrilled that I had determined it psychologically healthier to buy a new accessories for every dinner and drinks invite than deal with the inevitable frustrating hunt. While complaining to my mom, (she’s the best mom) about not being able to keep pairs together, she devised an ingenious project: why not display your accessories like artwork? After all, doesn’t it seem a crime to hide away all your own jewels in some dusty, forgotten trunk?

So today, we’re going to create a very easy DIY frame from thrift store treasures and inexpensive materials. Not only does a custom jewelry frame transform your jewelry into art that looks Smithsonian worthy, it keeps everything conveniently organized. Bonus, no more unnecessary breakdowns about the small frustrations of life, (at least, not until after a few drinks-because then it is usually totally and completely rational).

Things You Will Need

  • Thrift Store Picture Frame
  • Spray Paint or Craft Paint
  • Velvet or Velveteen (I purchased 1/2 yard)
  • Foam Board
  • Batting
  • Duct Tape or Packing Tape

The Hunt: Thrift and resale stores are often full of frames. Seriously, I will search thrift stores even before I opt for custom framing because it is amazing what you can find for under $3.00. Ignore what is in the frame, but focus on the frame itself. For this project, I look for anything with an ornate design. It is totally up to you on the size; if you plan on just displaying earrings, an 8X10 frame will suffice. If you’d also like to display necklaces and/or bracelets, go bigger! Also, wood tends to work best for painting, but certain plastic frames will work with the right paint. This frame cost me a whopping $1.99

The Transformation: First, remove the picture within the frame, as well as any glass or cardboard. All you want is the frame itself.  (Of course, before you take apart the picture, make sure you haven’t purchased a missing Picasso worth millions of dollars that you can take on “Antiques Roadshow” and become indirectly famous).

Next, you’re going to paint the frame. Typically, I prefer to use a high gloss spray paint for this because it takes only about two minutes to cover the entire frame and does so with a smooth, shiny finish. However, as a former big city dweller, I realize that it is impossible to access spray paint in certain areas. Also, if you’re doing this project, say in the winter, then you also can’t use spray paint. BECAUSE NEVER USE SPRAY PAINT INSIDE unless you want to feel like you’re in an episode of “Breaking Bad” gone horribly wrong. In this case, it’s totally cool to use any interior based paint from a hardware store. Money saving trick: if your frame isn’t too big, opt instead for a sample. The difference in price between a sample and a quart (which you won’t need) is about $13. Since I’m using black velvet inside the frame, I think bright colors really add a neat pop!

Once the spray paint is dry, cut your fabric to fit the opening in the frame, leaving at least two inches extra (you are going to wrap it around the batting later). For this project, I used black velvet. Velvet tends to get pricey, so I purchased only what I needed, with a little wiggle room, and spent about $6.

Then, place a layer of batting around the frame and cut it to size. This will provide a grip for your earrings or necklaces. Wrap the velvet around the batting for a secure fit.

Last, cut a piece of your foam board to fit right in the indent of the frame, as a piece of cardboard or frame backing might. This will hold the batting and provide a backing. Now, here’s the easiest part: use duct tape or clear packing tape to seal off the velvet and batting. If you still have the frame’s backing, add that to the foam core. If not, add some quick hardware to the back of the foam board to hang.

The Grand Reveal: Simply push your earrings into the frame. So I don’t lose the backing, I will slide smaller earrings through twice. Feel free to use any kind of decorative pin to hang necklaces and bracelets and hang just as you would a piece of art! Total cost: $16.00

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