DIY DIY Accessories DIY Jewelry jewelry

How to Make Jewelry Look Vintage

January 20, 2014
I love rhinestone jewelry, but sometimes the stuff is so sparkly and over-the-top that you just can’t wear it anywhere. I’d seen a tutorial a while ago on how to make jewelry look vintage with Sharpies, but that tutorial didn’t quite work for me when I tried it and I came up with a new system.

How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

You need:
Necklace with rhinestones
-Wood stain
Black patina for solder
-Q tips

I got the necklace online from this store with tons of deals on necklaces, bracelets, and rings. It’s actually a bridal set of jewelry, but after I was done antiquing it up the necklace doesn’t feel weird to wear it with a denim shirt.
How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

To make the rhinestones themselves look vintage, I used wood stain and it was really simple. I just dipped a Q-tip in the stain and dabbed it all over the necklace. It’s good to get the stain to pool darker in some places stay thin in other spots. When you use wood stain to get this effect you’ll need to let the stain dry a few days so that it isn’t tacky. Here you’ll need to have a little faith because it seems like the wood stain can easily wipe off for a bit but after the stain loses loses it’s tackiness, it is hard as a rock. (I was actually pretty surprised by how well it worked!)
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To get a patina on the metal part of the necklace, just dip some Q-tips in the Novacan Black Patina for Solder and keep rubbing on the metal until it turns black. Some spots it will take a while, but just keep rubbing.
How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

I photographed this necklace in one of my favorite spots in all of NYC. There’s a spot between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges where you’ve got an incredible view of lower Manhattan, the East River, and the bay. Almost three years ago Sean, Adele, and I sat in this spot dreaming of moving to NYC and it was here that we decided to live together. Some things have a way of working out. ๐Ÿ™‚
How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

At the bottom left of Brooklyn Bridge in this picture you can see one of my other favorite things about this New York spot: a carousel. When it’s all lit up at night, it’s ridiculously adorable.
How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

I’m so tickled with how this necklace turned out that I need to try the wood stain + patina technique on a few other pieces of jewelry to make them easier to wear. ๐Ÿ™‚
How to Make a Necklace Look Vintage

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  • Reply Maria January 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Love this! How freaking clever. Also, those photos are enough to almost make me want to live in a big city ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply Debbie Bryant Rodriguez January 21, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    So smart to think of using stain, and the result is wonderful ! I will definately try this. Pure genius to photograph the "rocks" on a rock ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Giulia January 23, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    You can do a similar thing using cheap nail polish. The cheaper, the better: cheaper ones are usually more watery, which helps. Put a bit of black (or brown, or even grey – black works fine with fake silver jewellery, brown with fake golden) nail polish on a cotton ball and gently dab it on the rhinestones. It will give an irregular, darkish patina. If you realize you have put too much polish and the jewelry looks too darkened, just remove it with some acetone and start again.

  • Reply linny January 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    So, you bought piece of crap mass produced jewelry from China that was probably made by a child instead of buying actual quality USA made vintage jewelry?
    You are what is wrong with society.

  • Reply Taosena January 24, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Lovely, now people are going to be faking vintage jewelry and selling new crap as vintage. PERFECT

  • Reply StacieGrissom January 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Totally get what you're saying– and I'd actually prefer to find this stuff out in the wild while vintage shopping! ๐Ÿ™‚ In my experience, the ornate rhinestone jewelry can be pretty pricey– even in small-town thrift shops. I mostly bop around Indiana spots– the NYC vintage shops are super, super expensive. Didn't mean to offend at all– just like to make things and share tutorials! And there are many looks I go for that other folks try to avoid. ;P

  • Reply StacieGrissom January 24, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Gah. Tis not so bad, really! Even for Hoosiers like us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply StacieGrissom January 24, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Nice! I saw one tutorial a long time ago that used Sharpies and they spread the ink around with a Q-tip and acetone– yours would seem to work way better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Eva January 26, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Can we add links here to our already distressed "vintage" pieces we have for sale in other venues??

  • Reply Barbie February 2, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I love that you chose to go for the tarnished look! Looks awesome and totally makes me feel more comfortable wearing my old patinaed pieces. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Cyndi February 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I'm surprised by the haters, Stacie. I guess that people who don't take the time to phrase their disagreement with you nicely have lots more time on their hands to be nasty. Great little project, and thank you very much for sharing it!

  • Reply StacieStacieStacie February 4, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Haha Cyndi you're so sweet! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you so much!!

  • Reply Lacey Dalby February 4, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Great tutorial

  • Reply Nadine Hartman Bourne February 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Those who can do, those who can't whine about it. Just know that all those people bagging on your tutorial are probably viewing it on a computer made in china by those children they think they are saving by buying vintage. LOL Love your project by the way. Now I just need to cheap made in china jewelry to try it on. I already have the nasty chemical left from staining my table. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Mrs. Cat February 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Good lord, some of the people posting here are rude. Remember what mom always said…if you can't say something nice….

  • Reply Ren S. February 8, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Wood stain and solder patina are toxic and should never be used on something that touches skin. Please don't encourage people to use poisonous chemicals on jewelry.

  • Reply StacieStacieStacie February 8, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    You can seal the patina, but the wood stain doesn't touch your skin. Thanks for the tip! When I was doing research before, it is a bit confusing. I thought the patina was just toxic before it dried.

  • Reply AliNichole February 13, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Whoaaaa! Haha! Assumptions much? I think people who hide behind the anonymity of the internet to insult others are terribly naive people. You are talking to a real person here. Would you use this kind of language if you were face to face with the author?
    YOU are what is wrong with society.

  • Reply robin hood February 25, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is
    incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is
    overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

    Vintage Jewelry

  • Reply Kate May 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Hey! I reaaaalllly like this project and all of your necklaces! I wish I had the patience to make all of them! That said, this is totally my speed! I tried to find the necklace through the link you provided, but both didnt really lead anywhere where one might purchase a similar necklace. Can you repost the link?
    Yes I could look one up myself, but the one you found is just so perfect for this project!

  • Reply Kate May 29, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Hey where did you buy the necklace?

  • Reply July 8, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    The vintage look rocks ๐Ÿ™‚ love the pic of the necklace w the bridge!!

  • Reply Gina Johnson October 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Nice article. I love buying new jewelries. My favourite store is Greetings!

  • Reply aggrofemme May 29, 2016 at 4:38 am

    This is absolutely lovely! I stumbled across it looking for ways to antique metals as I’ve started making steampunk jewelry and not only will try yours and a couple of the commenter’s methods but I also LOVE rhinestones and have so much bling but live in , get ready for it, oklahoma, and i’m more of a punk/glam bling than cowboy bling lol. So thanks for giving me a great way to start wearing some of my own pieces that have lain around since moving back from cali!! Oh, and let the haters hate. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Reply Stacie August 16, 2016 at 3:00 am

      Hahaha thank you so much! Hope it worked well for you! ๐Ÿ˜€

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