Who needs Cartier or Tiffany when you have Legos?

There’s no need to go crazy on high-end jewelry for Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries when you still play with toys!

Discarded or extra small toys can be changed into a fun jewelry gift of any occasion.

The raw materials for the toy box jeweler. All images by Lisa Kay Tate.
The raw materials for the toy box jeweler. All images by Lisa Kay Tate.

Each of these toys chosen — Legos, marbles and bouncy balls — have three things in common:

• They’re small enough for kids to work with, with some parental help.

• They can be found in large quantities.

•  There always seems to be an abundance of extras lying around or filling drawers

Everything else needed could easily be found with basic craft or sewing supplies.

Lego Charms

Hammer a small hole indentation into a plain brick of any color of basic size with a thin nail (I like the standard 2 by 4 stud brick myself). Do this gently, so not to crack the brick, and don’t go all the way through.

Screw a small “screw eye” pin, into the end with the hole. The hole will make it easier to screw in, but should be secure.

Next place a plain jewel or other embellishment close to the sizes of the stud (4 to 5 mm) over as many of the studs as you want. You can use self-adhesive embellishments or craft jewel glue as adhesive.

The result is a simple charm that can be made into necklace, bracelet or earrings.

Hint: Legos can get expensive, plus who really wants to trash one? Every Lego is a valuable building block in our home. If this is the case, there are “knock off” building bricks out there you can use. I’ve found some bags of generic bricks in party supply sections of various retailers for about $5 or less.

Lego charm steps: Make a small hole at one end, add screw eye pin, and add your embellishments.
Lego charm steps: Make a small hole at one end, add a screw eye pin, and your embellishments.

Bouncing Ball Bracelets

Using a small drill bit, gently drill a hole through the center of each ball by hand. The reason to use a drill bit, is these balls will easily split in two if you try to jam a needle big needle through them. You might have to run it though a second time to clear that rubbery residue out.

Next, string them on a piece of clear elastic bead cord, until you get a big enough bracelet. Use some plastic round beads in between the balls, if you want to fill it out a little. Tie the ends off securely, and you have a bright-colored bracelet to wear with jeans and a t-shirt, or a sun dress.

Marble Beads

This is the most difficult of the three toy crafts, because it will involve a little wire twisting around a smooth, round surface. Use anywhere from 14 to 22 gauge wire, as these are easiest to manipulate.

First, using a pair of needle nose pliers, make a small loop at one end of the wire, and wrap one wire around the other about three of four times.

Next, wrap the wire around marble carefully and securely, and back around to the original loop. Wrap it one more time around the marble so the two wires cross at the bottom. Wrap it around once the first loop a couple of times, before cutting the wire.  (See images below for reference).

The wire wrapping process, shown left to right, will take a few times to master. Have patience.
The wire wrapping process, shown left to right, will take a few times to master. Have patience.

These can look really cool if you do them right, but it will take about two or three attempts to get the hang of it.

Give any of these in small jewelry gift boxes, since they have now earned their “jewelry” status.

Next time a gift of jewelry is in order, hit the toy box. The response will be just a priceless, but much less pricey.

These fun jewelry gifts could be colorful conversation pieces.
These fun jewelry gifts could be colorful conversation pieces.

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Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.