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Patience and Persistence = SUCCESS

How to make a necklace by repurposing glass lenses from old eyeglasses.

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Were you beginning to wonder what I was up to?  Thanks for being so patient with me, but I knew I was close to coming up with a hip and trendy idea that stemmed from an old time craft.

I couldn’t give up.  I just ran out of time.  Today, I finally got the necklace I was working on to come out right.

I simply wanted to re-purpose a few pairs of eyeglasses to make a few pieces of eye glass jewelry.

I wanted to re-live a craft I did when I was a kid in Girl Scouts. I remember when my troop made our mothers pins for Mother’s Day out of old eyeglasses, scraps of decorative paper, glue, and a pin back. Prest-O Change-O  a pretty pin for our moms.

Total time to complete was half an hour, so when I decided to make a necklace using the same technique, I thought it wouldn’t take too long.

I was wrong!!!

 The problem all stemmed from the glue.  It just wasn’t making a permanent bond, I tried 6 glues and Mod Podge too.

I was perplexed to say the least until it dawned on me as I was standing over the sink washing my 8th failure off the lens – that I realized what was wrong.  When I was a kid, eyeglasses were made of glass.

Today they are  made of lightweight plastic with a variety of coatings.  I needed to get some plastic glue which I found at Lowe’s.   Today I had success. Patience and Persistence = Success.   I love how they turned out.

If you don’t have any glasses you can buy a pair of  readers at the Dollar Store.  The less curve/concave to the lens the better.

supplies needed:

  • A pair of Eyeglasses
  • Loctite Stik n’ Seal Ultra Glue (Lowes)
  • Printed out Monogram or Letter printed on regular printer paper
  • Nail or tiny scissors
  • Dremel drill and fine bit
  • Jump ring, Necklace chain or Leather, Pearl and or Beads, End pin

I used my computer to make a monogram in a size that would fit the lens I had.

How to make a monogram on a computer

But you can use a book with decorative letters for a unique look.

Printed monogram book to use to create jewelry

Snap the lens out of the glasses.  One pair was easy to get out, the other I had to use scissors to snip the frame to get the lens out.

Eyeglass lenses to make jewelry

Cut out monogram a little bit larger than the lens.

Computer generated monogram

This is the glue that finally worked for me, but do a test first on your paper and printer ink to make sure the glue doesn’t bleed through the paper.  Also make sure that once the paper is dry that it is bonded to the lens.

Stik' n /Seal Glue

Place a generous dab of glue on to the side of the lens that would be closet to your face and then rub it over the entire area .  Make sure you don’t miss any spots.

Step-1-Glue

 Center the monogram face down onto the glue and gently burnish the back with your finger to smooth and removing all air bubbles.   Be careful not to pull the paper.  Let dry for a few hours.

Step-rub-on-back

Using a Dremel drill, drill a hole in the center top of the lens.  Trim the excess paper using a pair of small scissors.

 The letter on this lens was one of my failures.  When it dried the paper came off when I picked it up..

How to use a Dremel Drill
Step-drill-hole

Thread a jump ring through the hole and then hang on a few strands of leather.

 To seal the back , the best way I found was to spray a light coat of spray adhesive on a piece of felt.  Attach to the back and then trim.  I tried using self-laminiating paper but that was too stiff and didn’t follow the curve of the lens.

Monorgrammed necklace to craft from a pair of eyeglasses

Or, you can add the jump ring and add a pearl dangle and then string onto a silver ball chain.   See  my post about making dangles, here.

Monogrammed jewelry made using eyeglasses
How to make monogrammed eyeglass jewelry
How to make eyeglass jewelry

For a trip down memory lane, I had to make a pin.  To update the look, I photocopied a vintage hankie and used that behind the lens.

I then drilled 3 holes along the bottom to hang 3 decorative dangles.

Hot glue a pin back to the back.

Eyeglass pin
Jewelry making basics
How to make a necklace of of a pair of eyeglasses
DIY Mother's Day Monogrammed necklace or pin.

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45 Comments

  1. Sorry to be the bearer of ‘bad news,’ but I have the feeling that such a modern style of glasses could have been recycled to someone in need. I also wonder if the cheapo readers/ Claire’s fashion glasses you can get by the dozen would have the same effect for this project.

  2. This is SUCH a Great idea!!! Love it. The other thing that drew me in was that dress form, did you make that too? I tried making a paper butcher tape one once but it didn’t look nearly that nice.

    1. Hi Madelene-

      Thanks for leaving the comment about the eyeglass necklace and dress form. I didn’t make the dress form – it is a Styrofoam one that I got where I used to work. I work in display and the store was throwing them out. I got 3 of them. I gave one away on my blog about a year ago. If you type in a search on Google for Styrofoam Dress Form you may be able to find one. Some are pricey, but you can still find these inexpensively every now and then on Ebay and Etsy, too.

  3. this is so cute – these would make great tags to put on your purse strap, luggage, whatever. this would also go on the list of ways to make tags for binders, etc. I am definitely going to make some.

  4. hiya , this really is one of those tuts that makes you go doh ! why did i not think of that , and i will be “stealing” this idea and will soooooo be coming back to visit you too x
    xmaggiex

  5. I can’t wait to try this…so glad that I love reading your posts and not just skim them or I would have been doing the same thing with the glue. I love how you added the bead…really put the finishing touch to it.

    1. Hi Dianne with 2 “n”s-

      I love the necklace and wear it lots. I always get compliments on it. The glue was tricky with the coated plastic lenses. If you can find real glass lenses you won’t have any problems with the glue. I could not find any. Flea markets probably.

  6. This idea is SO cool. However, I’m having difficulty creating the initials. What program do you use ?

    1. Hi Gina-

      Thanks for connecting with me. I used to use Microsoft Publisher, but I recently got Photoshop Elements and have been using that to create monograms with. Publisher is an old program that came on my computer and I became pretty proficient. It used to be bundled with Microsoft Office. The key is to open a new document and create each letter seperately in its own text box on the page. The center letter being a larger size font. Once you have each letter in its own text box – then move them to fit together to create a monogram. You can then print it.

      I have a PC. Do you have Publisher or another drawing program – Paint or a Mac program.

      I hope this helps you out.

  7. I am just loving your blog. Obviously being thrifty has done nothing to lessen your creativity. I can’t wait to see the rest of our stuff. And I definitely will because I just became your newest Stylist Follower. Please drop by my site when you get a chance.
    Traci

  8. This is an eye popping project. I just love how these beauties turned out! I am going to try this. I think the monogram looks so pretty! So creative and easy. Thanks for doing all the hard work- thinking it through!
    Yvonne

  9. ok – i’m playing today and managed to drill a hole after only breaking one lens! now i’m digging around looking for old glasses. found my son’s old pair – it’s scratched, so i was worried it wouldn’t look good, but i’m painting the back of the lens and you can’t even see the scratches! thanks again for a fab idea!

  10. Man! This is so clever! I used to work in the Optometry field and wished I would have kept all the lenses we tossed! I will be on the lookout now for lenses! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hi all you wonderful commenters. Thanks so much for sending them my way. xo

    Brooke- thanks for the great tip about heating the frames with a blow dryer to easily remove the lenses. I really hated cutting the frames, all the time thinking I could maybe use them for another craft project someday. Now I know a better way. Thanks

  12. as a former optician I am giving a hint. With the plastic frames just heat them up with a blow dryer for a few seconds maybe longer and they will pop right out. Love this idea am going to have to visit the old office to see if I can get some lenses. Thanks for the idea

    http://makinitdomestic.blogspot.com

  13. So great that you remembered this great project from when you made Girl Scout gifts!
    Your designs are adorable~
    Thank you for sharing!
    Michelle

  14. love this idea!! but since i’m super cheap, i’m wondering if i could paint the back side and put a vinyl letter on the front? hmmm

    and what type of drill did you use for the hole? that’s the part that scares me – i’m not good at drilling!!