Introduction: PET Bottle Jewellery Elements
This is a project that doesn't require any special tools. This instructable will give you an introduction to the basics of repurposing a pet bottle to create beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry elements that can be attached to jewelry findings.
I was working with many pieces of jewelry at the same time so my pictures might seem unrelated. The pictures are to explain the step in general. They are more to give you an idea of how to go about the process. The possibilities are many.
You will need
PET bottle (1.5 or 2litre)
a pair of scissors
candle and lighter/matchsticks
earing hoops/ sticks, necklace chord or ring or any jewelry findings you may want to attach the item you create
Pointed object to pierce holes (like a divider)
Mask or cloth to cover you face
Epoxy Adhesive (Optional)
Step 1: Cutting the Bottle
I prefer the big size bottles, though you can work with smaller ones as well. You will need to first wash and dry the bottle(s). Then you can begin.
First pierce the bottle with a cutter. Simply poke the cutter into the bottle. Then using a scissor through the hole cut around the bottle. Do this on the top and bottom so as to get a fairly flat amount of plastic from the middle of the bottle.
You will get three part of the bottle to work with on various projects. The top mouth of the bottle can be used and so can the bottom.
Step 2: Draw Shapes
Cut the one side of the middle ring (flat portion of the bottle) to get a flat rectangle. It will curl but don't worry about it.
Keep it pressed by your hand, take a felt pen and roughly draw out the shape you wish to cut. you can skip this step if you are confident to cut a shape without a drawing.
I use a felt pen because it s not permanent and can be easily wiped off after cutting.
One bottle can give you enough plastic for more than one piece (depending on the size and complexity) so make sure you draw your shapes as close as possible to avoid wastage.
You can use a simple shape like a circle to create many variations and interesting jewelry pieces.
A simple 5 petal flower in 3 sizes can be layered to create dimension. Make sure that the petals are cut deep (long) so that you can get a better chance at molding to create wave forms.
Also remember the size of what you cut and what your final product is will vary with melting. So draw a little bigger than you want the final piece to be.
Step 3: Cut Shapes
Once you have drawn out the shapes you can cut them with a regular scissor.
You can also draw out a single shape and then use it as a stencil for drawing more.
Don't worry too much if your cutting is not perfect. The best thing about this project is that there is no perfect shape or size to work with and that makes it a good media to explore. Also the edges need not be perfectly cut and can have slightly jaggered edges.
Step 4: Smoothen Edges by Melting
This step involves fire and burning the plastic which means you'd be better off using a mask or a cloth over your mouth and nose and working in a well ventilated area to avoid breathing the fumes.
Light the candle. Then take one of the shapes and move it close to the flame such that the edges get slightly melted and the edge gets smoothened. If some part gets melted a little extra don't worry too much about it.
Tip: Don't let the flame be too big. Cut the wick a bit if the flame is too big. A small flame gives you more control.
You might want to use the lower part of the flame because it is cooler and the plastic doesn't melt as fast as if the plastic is held above the flame.
You could use a plier/ tweezer or to hold the pieces if you cant handle the heat of the flame.
Now that the edges are smooth you can decide how you wish to shape the pieces further. Or you could use them as they are.
Step 5: Pierce Holes
Heat up the pointed tool but placing it in the flame. Then poke it with a little force in the middle or the side of the shape and there! with a little push it will pierce through. Pierce holes wherever you wish to joing one piece to another or to jewelry findings.
Step 6: Melt Again
This step is to allow the shapes to get a more three dimensional form making it look prettier and cooler.
You will need to hold the shape over the fire, such that the flame is just a little away (a few centimeters) from the plastic and yet close enough to provide heat so it melts. Be careful because the plastic melts very fast and before you know it the shape might be not what you had in mind.
If you are working with petal shapes, you can hold the flame at the bottom but a little away from the tip. The tip will curl. Don't hold it too long,. You could even move the petal away from flame, in the tip to the center direction, a couple of times to get the desired effect.
At this stage you are bound to look and marvel at how the plastic forms waving surfaces and melts to form a beautifully curved piece.
It might seem tough and tricky, but it isn't very. Just go for it!
Step 7: Assemble
This step is fairly easy. Determine how you would like to use the forms. I simple use a wire and a bead as a stopper. Then thread the forms through the wire. Twist the wire at the end/ bottom to hold them tightly together like you'd do for any other jewelry assembly.
Your elements are now ready.
Step 8: Done!
You can attach them with epoxy adhesive or wind them with wire or string them.
For the flower earrings , assembled three sizes of petal shapes together with a wire and bead and then hooped it to earing hoops. For the long earing I attached the elements, (assembled as in previous step), to a chain with a jump ring.The ring I had, had a flat piece on the top. I attached the round plastic element with epoxy adhesive. For the leaf earrings I simple passed a jump ring through the holes and attached it to the earing hook.
And there you have it, your very own plastic pet bottle jewelry. Flaunt it in style.