Belt Bracelets Thrift Score Tutorial

May 23, 2014Allison Murray

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

Maybe it’s just Oklahoma but I see these darn metal belts all over the place at thrift stores and garage sales and I always think “egads that’s tacky”.

But then one day I was driving home when I saw a few garage sales around and decided that I needed somebody else junk in my trunk. There were a lot of great things to be had and the weather was as fine as you can hope for. My second stop I hit a HUGE sale where this older lady had tons and tons of stuff in tubs and totes and just lying on the ground. And I decided that it was so nice out that I’d dig around.

I found a hideous poodle statue that I adore and cost my only fifty cents, then there was an amazing and only a dollar wooden sorting tray that I’ll be sharing with you next week and finally this tacky, tacky gold belt for another buck.

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

There it is. The tackiness in question. Now if you wear these, I do not mean to offend but this just isn’t my cup of  tea.

And now I’m about to tell you how I got really, really mad at an old lady over hardly anything. It’s not like me to get angry. I’m just kind of aloof about a lot of things and if someone overcharges me at the grocery store, well, it happens. My dad will go and point out that he was overcharged 3 cents on avocados but not me.

So I take my $1 belt, my $1 bowl and my $0.50 statue to this seemingly kind elder in an equally ancient looking lawn chair. She quotes me $2 even. But that’s not right. I owe her $2.50 and so I say, “I think I might owe you $2.50, right?” and I get an “oh, you’re right!” And then I hand her $3.00 and wait for my $.50 in change and she stares at me. I smile and she says “I guess you’ll be wanting some change” to which I say something like “that would be nice” and then she tells me to get off of her property. Um, what?

In the car I’m fuming. Not because I was accused of trying to steal from an older lady or because I was kicked off of the property, but because she ripped me off to the tune of $.50.  Isnt’ the whole thing silly? But in the end I got two bracelets out of the deal so whatever lady. I still won.

For this project you will need:

  • Metal chain style belt
  • Clasps
  • Pliers

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

If your belt has curb chain it’s pretty easy to open and you can use just your fingers. Fix the chain to be the proper length for a bracelet. My belt went plain chain, curb chain, plain chain, curb chain so I had to take the two sections of curb and put them together to be long enough for one bracelet. Work it how you have to.

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

Add on your clasp with jump rings. For very large chain you may need 9 or 10mm jump rings to make it work.

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

And there is that one all fixed up. You may notice that there are areas where the gold plate stuff is flaking off. It’s far more noticeable in pictures than real life but it is something to consider as it will probably happen when you open the links. Keep your opening and closing to a minimum to minimize the damage.

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

This bracelet turned out to be lots of fun and it’s really pretty and kind of big and chunky. I like that about it. Now I’m not as keen on the clasp as I was at first (the golds are just too different for my liking) but I can easily change that out at some point.

Oh, and can you guess what color shirt I was wearing while working on this? Ding, ding, ding! The answer is turquoise! But let’s get on to the next type of chain you might find on your belt.

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

For sturdier chain, like the ones shown above you’ll need to get some pliers from your garage. Try using jewelry pliers and you’ll be buying some more jewelry tools soon… Get down to the proper length and add your clasp with jump rings.

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

I was wanting this one to be more like a bangle, so I simply connected with a couple of jump rings. I could have also just opened links on one end and closed them on the other end (like a snake eating its tail) and had a much sturdier bracelet but hindsight is what it is…

I actually prefer this bracelet so much more because I love the way it fits. You just roll it on like you would a normal bangle.

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

And there it is on. I LOVE it!

So smart, get fancy chain by thrifting old metal belts!

Because I limited myself to only using things I already have in the jewelry making stash this project cost me a cool buck. Not bad! Plus I have enough of the chain on the right to make two more belt bracelets if I please!

So get out there to those garage sales and thrift shops and get yourself some metal chain belts. Because there is NO way you could ever buy this much chain for a buck or two!


Comments (5)

  • Stephanie

    May 23, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    OH my gosh this is so cute!!! I have got to see if I can find a belt like these at my thrift store!

  • Pat Schwab

    May 23, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Wow, I would have been fuming too by the rudeness. But in the end you still got great deals. Some people are just strange. Pat S

  • Julie

    May 25, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Ah, we have a saying here in the UK “There’s nowt so strange as folk” (you have to say that with a northern accent) I think it applies here! I don’t know if you watch Modern Family but your story reminded me of the episode when they had a garage sale & Jay was pretty rude to pretty much everyone!
    Love your bracelets and please share a little pic of the Poodle (perhaps he/she could make an appearance in the background somewhere)

  • Dee

    May 26, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Love the bracelets. I’m going to be hitting the garage sales this weekend. Enough chains left from the belt to make matching earrings and necklace too. I had to laugh when reading about what happened to you at the garage sale with the older lady. Something similar happened to me a couple years ago. At the time I was really pissed at the attitude the lady had, but later I couldn’t help but laugh at how hilarious it really was. Lol

  • Linda C

    May 26, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Love your bracelets!! I have a pair of long nose pliers that I wrap the grips (the metal parts that you use, (not the handles) what the heck are they called?? lol) with masking tape so they make less marks on the metal links. That might be something you might want to try. Also, always be sure to separate the links pulling from front to back (one side goes forward, the other back), not side to side (not right away from left) so it puts less stress on the metal. Happy Crafting!

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