How to Update Vintage Jewelry

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.


A few years ago I started to notice that every time I shopped for casual jewelry, I could not find what I wanted.  I liked some parts of new and some parts of vintage.  So I began dabbling with making my own – mixing new and vintage.

So when the opportunity came about to do a project for Martha Stewart Jewelry I jumped at the chance.

The first thing I was excited about was all the tools.  But, I will admit, I did not really get the silicone mat at first.

Now, I want to be the president of its fan club.

It keeps everything from sliding and slipping – and is a perfect surface for painting.  What painting?  Yup, that is my favorite part!


So here is the secret weapon for updating vintage jewelry into new pieces – glaze paint and enamel paint.

I would like you to meet my new best friends.


I started with some vintage pieces I had, trying to decide what to do first.


I experimented first with the glaze on the brass butterfly pin.  Don’t get me wrong, I love brass – but this was just a little too bright to work.


Now, you can still see the brass coming through, but it has a subtle change with the glaze.  The glaze is perfect for just that, subtle changes, almost a wash of color.  This is a pin, but I think it has a future as a necklace with a chain connected on each end of its top wings.


Then I moved on to the key.  I don’t know what it is about keys, but most of my jewelry has a vintage key in it.

But this one was kind of plain and dull.

So following the directions, I mixed one part enamel paint to two parts of the activator and applied it the key.  While it is still wet it self levels and fills in.  If you use it right away, you get one effect.  If you let it sit for about two hours it becomes thicker and more opaque for other applications.


The hardest part of the whole process was that at this point you have to wait.  About 24 hours.  I mean it. Leave it alone, don’t touch it, move it or any of that.

Not that I would know from the experience of being impatient.

Once it was dry, I used Martha’s jewelry glue to add some pretty small brown rhinestones for just a little bit of sparkle.


Then I dug through my vintage chains and beads and found two pieces to connect to use as the chain.  I also decided to add a small vintage chandelier crystal.


Using jump rings and pliers, I attached all of the elements together.


And now I have a one of kind piece of jewelry that I was able to customize just for me.


But best of all, now I know how to use the glaze and enamel to update vintage pieces.

All of these products and many more from the collection can be found at Michael’s Stores.

Thank so much for reading.

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10 thoughts on “How to Update Vintage Jewelry”


  1. I like this post! I just saw in Southern Living Magazine a jewelry designer who uses Vintage jewelry and was thinking I could make some knock offs….and now I see your post. IT’s a sign!! lol

    Have a great week!

  2. Looks awesome! I have quite a collection of old jewelry pieces, simply because I never throw anything away. This sounds like a really fun project – something I’ve always wanted to get started on! I also have a love affair with old keys – railroad, skeleton, vintage cars, you name it!!

  3. oh how fun! i think grace would even enjoy making something. she has been wanting to make some jewelry this summer.
    aren’t you glad it is finally here? i remember the winter snows..ugh:)

  4. Great ideas and looks like a nice tool set too. Everywhere I look I see vintage jewelry, I guess it’s time to break open mom’s little chest of vintage galore and the cleaning rag. Thank you for the motivation!

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