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How to Use Old Earrings: Ways to Reuse Orphaned/Single Earrings

photo by porah

photo by porah

New Uses for Old Earrings

If you have pierced ears, chances are there is at least one earring at the bottom of your jewelry box whose mate is missing. Earrings come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but when one is lost, the other may seem useless. Rather than throwing out your earrings that are no longer in pairs, use these ideas to give new life to your old jewelry.

Do you have another idea for using old earring that isn't listed here?  Leave a comment below and tell us all about it!

Recycled Earring Charm Bracelet

Turn old earrings into charms to create a unique bracelet. Cut a piece of chain to the desired length and add a closure, such as a lobster clasp or toggle, to the ends to create the base for the bracelet.

For earrings that are hook-style, use jewelry pliers to remove the hooks. There should be a hold in the earring where the hook was attached; thread a jump ring through this hole and use jewelry pliers to attach the jump ring to a link of the chain.

For post-style earrings, you will need to create a loop for attaching a jump ring. Use a pair of round-nose jewelry pliers to twist the post into a circular shape, making sure the loop is tight enough that it will stay attached to a jump ring. Thread a jump ring through the loop you just made on the back of the earring, then attach the jump ring to the bracelet chain.

Continue adding earrings until the chain has the desired number of charms. You can add just a few charms, or go crazy and add more depending on the look you want.

photo by Rhonda Rowley

photo by Rhonda Rowley

Salvaging Parts from Old Earrings

If you create your own jewelry, breaking down old earrings into individual parts allows you to reuse things like beads and findings in new projects.  Use jewelry pliers to take old earrings apart and organize the pieces in small containers.  Baby food jars, embroidery floss boxes, and tiny zippered bags are a few ideas for holding your sorted parts.

The steampunk necklace shown here uses a reycled earring.  The rose in the necklace was a post-style earring; the post was removed using a pair of pliers.  (This piece also uses several other parts recycled from old jewelry, including the case from a broken watch and pearly beads from a different orphaned earring.)

Earrings as Decorative Thumb Tacks

When post-style earrings are missing a match, one of the best and most obvious uses for the remaining earrings is as decorative thumb tacks.  Dress up a plain bulletin board by holding notes, photos, and other paper items in place with your old post earrings.  Simply remove the earring backs and press into cork board.

Earrings as Knit/Crochet Stitch Markers

If you or someone you know is a knitter or crocheter, hook or loop style earrings make great stitch markers.  Crafters use stitch markers to make counting stitches easier, especially when working on larger projects or projects worked in the round.  Just hook the earring through the stitch you wish to mark.


Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on May 22, 2018:

Good morning miss Greene. I like your idea. I am already using beads that are no longer in pairs. You hub is great. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I only used single jewelry. You never know when you can used a good pair of earrings that matches the clothes . I wish you a fantastic day.

AnnaStephens on January 25, 2011:

Nice ideas!

IdeaMorphist from Chicagoland on December 31, 2010:

So many great ideas, I ? it! No wonder it was a winner :)

pmccray on August 18, 2010:

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Excellent hub. I have several earrings that are no longer wearable. These ideas are great, I'm glad I hung on to them. Voted up, marked useful/beautiful, shared and bookmarked.

CathyWebber on August 09, 2010:

very lovely ideas.

My friend and I used to create a necklace from my old house keys and broken stuff. Very fun.

love you hub.

Vibhavari from India on August 05, 2010:

Loved the hub, lovely ideas and very creative too..I have some earrings that have lost their partner..shall put them to good use.

thanks for sharing these ideas.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on August 05, 2010:

Love these ideas and congrats on the win. I'm a big proponent of recycling and upcycling.

Joni Douglas on August 05, 2010:

Great creative ideas. Congrats to you on the hubnugget win.

PWalker281 on August 05, 2010:

Great ideas, Rhonda! I'm going to pass this one along to my daughter who has a creative bent and enjoys "tinkering." Congrats on your nomination, and welcome to Hubpages!

Earth Angel on August 05, 2010:

Blessings to you Rhonda!!

GREAT Hub!! Congratulations on your HubNugget win!!

I love some of your Ideas for Orphaned Earrings!!

A single post/stud is perfect for securing a blouse that opens too low!! Especially blouses with soft material that criss cross your body!!

A single earring also ads a bit of unexpected surprise to shoes; Looks a little edgy on just one!!

Or attach to a purse for added detail!!

I can imagine a sexy garter with a number of little orphaned pieces!! Or a little added sparkle decorating the plunge of a special bra!!

Single earrings are wonderful additions to hairstyles!!

How about using single dangles to make a unique obeshi for candles??

A little dangle, sans the french loop, would look lovely tied on the ribbon/bow of a gift!!

Attached to ribbon for a personalized bookmark??

Hanging up under a lamp at the end of a pull chain??

Made into push pins as you mentioned above, to decorate a prayer wall?? (A wall of photos of loved ones that keep them in your heart/prayers at all times!!)

Remove the french loop and attach the lone one to a belly ring!!??

Have an extra piercing hole on just one ear!!

Consider wearing mix-matched earrings!!?? I do it when I want to make a silent rebel statement!! Both earrings match, kinda, but definitely not a matched pair!!

Have a small party with friends and have everyone put their orphans in the middle!! What one person may not know what to do with will be perfect for someone else!!

GREAT Hub Rhonda!! Keep writing!! Keep sharing!!

Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

UniqueBeauty from United States on August 05, 2010:

Love the hub! I make jewelry and sell it, so this was very informative- Great job and can't wait to try it out sometime.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on August 05, 2010:

How interesting and what cool ideas! Congratulations on your nomination! My husband is from Michigan - Marine City. Haven't been back in many years but still remember it!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 05, 2010:

Rhonda, This is a really great idea. I have a lot of jewelry I could probably work with and I think I would enjoy it. Congratulations on your Hubnugget win.

nenaargent on August 05, 2010:

Fabulous ideas! Thanks. And congrats on being a hub nugget!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on August 04, 2010:

I love this! What creative info for orphaned earrings. Saving in my favorites. congratulations for the nomination. Wonderful. I am now following you. Keep these terrific articles coming. Can't wait to read more by you.

Big thumbs up.

heathermarie628 from fresno, ca on August 04, 2010:

Thanks for your suggestions and congrats on your nomination. My grandmother has another use for old earrings. She makes them into christmas tree ornaments!! Can't you just see a miniature tree covered in cute little orphaned earrings? How cute! Best Wishes!

Linette on July 31, 2010:

I lost one of my sterling silver earrings so I had the jeweller take off the post at the back and turned it into a pendant. Great article!

Lifeallstar1 on July 31, 2010:

Congrats on your nomination. You have some great idea's. Thanks so much and my orphan earrings thank you!!

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on July 30, 2010:

Great idea - I have a few orphans lying around. Welcome to Hubpages and congrats on the nomination.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on July 30, 2010:

This is Ripplemaker dropping by to enjoy your hub as I announce your Hubnugget nomination in the Beauty & Fashion Category. Wow! Now I know what to do with the two orphaned earrings that I have. Thank you for the suggestions! Be sure to vote and enjoy the Hubnuggets Rhonda. Click this link to visit the Hubnuggets Niagara adventures:

fetty from South Jersey on July 30, 2010:

Very interesting uses for those annoying orphan earrings. Congratulations on your nomination. Welcome to HubPages.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 30, 2010:

Go Michigan! LOL (I'm a native of MI). Welcome to hubpages, Rhonda. This is a very useful hub. I haven't the heart to throw away my orphan earrings, and this has given new use to them.

You've been a busy writer, in the short time you've joined. I'm looking forward to reading more-esp the one about Lake MI Lighthouses. Cool.

Congratulations on being nominated for the hubnugget award. Good luck to you. :)

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