Sunday, July 1, 2012

Vintage Jewelry Cabinet Hardware

If you're like me, you have memories of playing dress up while wearing your grandma's jewelry and feeling oh-so-fancy.  I love watching my own girls play like this now.  Anything sparkly or glittery catches their eye and instantly becomes a treasure.  Our three girls (5 year old twins and a 3 year old) share a bedroom and bathroom in our house.  Their bathroom has been without cabinet hardware since we moved in December.  Since room is for three little girls, I figured there was no better place to experiment with some sparkly, vintage goodness for the hardware.

I started by collecting lots of vintage jewelry.  I had this project in mind for quite a while, so I've kept my eyes open for the right pieces.  I've bought some in lots on ebay and at garage sales.  When I was lucky enough to find it, the prices were generally much better at garage sales.  I used mostly brooches, but also some earrings and old rhinestone buttons.  I also purchased some reproductions from the Etsy seller Simply Sassy Source.  I chose to mainly use pieces that had clear stones and silver metal, but you would have a lot more choices if you used colored stones.

I used sharp pliers to cut the pinbacks and any extra hardware off the backs of the jewelry.  Watch out, they fly off!

You really want to get anything off that prevents you from having a semi-flat surface to attach the post.
After a lot of trial and error, I decided on using these threaded posts to create the actual handle of the hardware.  I got these at Lowe's in the pull out drawers in the hardware aisle.  They come in a wide variety of lengths.  I used 3/4" for mine.

Each little package comes with a threaded post and a small screw.  The screw will most likely not be long enough to use for this project.  Save those for another project. Each one of these cost $1.04 at my local Lowe's.

After experimenting with different types of "industrial" strength glue, I decided that epoxy was the way to go.  I wanted something that would give me as strong of a hold as possible.  I realize that three little girls will be putting some wear and tear on this hardware, so I won't be surprised if I have to make repairs in the future.

After mixing the epoxy, I loaded up the end of the threaded post with a dollop of epoxy.

I held each post in place for about a minute to let it set up a bit.  Then, I set them inside a shoebox lid to dry undisturbed.  The package instructions said to let the epoxy cure for an hour, but I went ahead and let them dry overnight, just to make sure.

Have you seen these nifty templates?  I picked mine up at Lowe's and it makes marking your holes for hardware a breeze.  I felt much more confident that my marks were lined up evenly when I used this guide.
I used an 11/64" drill bit to drill my holes in the drawer fronts and cabinet doors.

 I picked up these machine screws to fit into the threaded post and hold the hardware in place.  I used 2" long screws on the drawers and 1 1/4" long screws on the doors.

Most drawer fronts are thicker than cabinet doors due to the decorative front being applied to the drawer.
When you screw the threaded post onto the screw, you want to try to be careful that you're turning the post, not the jewelry piece.  I popped one loose by holding on to the jewelry instead of the threaded post when screwing it on.

 Now, these kinda boring cream cabinets have some pretty bling!

I used all different shapes and sizes in the girls' bathroom.  I wanted it to feel a little funky and mismatched.  Some are even broken and missing stones, but I think it adds to their charm.  Besides, I wouldn't want them to be too perfect.  I want little hands to be able to touch and admire the sparkles.

 My girls love them and each picked out a favorite for her own drawer.

If you end up making your own set of upcycled jewelry hardware, I'd love to see them!

If you're interested in having your own set of hardware, but don't want to take the time to make your own, head on over to I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar where you'll find this set of 8 drawer pulls/knobs that's up for auction. Cheri is hosting a charity auction series, For The Love, every Monday to raise money for a sweet little boy named Owen. Be sure to pay her a visit each Monday to see what's on the auction block!


  1. These are amazing! I found your blog from I am momma tonight. I am so excited to snoop around and look at all of your stuff! I have an armoire in my daughter's room that could use just 2 of these. I am going to hunt for a matching pair of vintage earrings this week. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Ooohh, that sounds fab! I bet you could even use some dangly earrings in that situation. Send me a pic if you do it!

  2. These are wonderful. What a great way to add some personality and uniqueness to the their space! Great job!

  3. Oh, my goodness! These are so, so cute! I have some vintage jewelry that I could use to make these for my craft desk. What a great idea! :)

  4. Jamie, thanks for this amazing idea. I got the threaded posts but they go right through the hole in my drawer. I looked and Lowe's doesn't carry a larger post (only longer or shorter posts). Any ideas on how I can get it to stay? Thanks! Alicia

    1. Hmmm, what about a small washer? The inner diameter would have to be smaller than the threaded post and the outer diameter would have to be large enough that it would keep the threaded post from going through the hole.

    2. Jamie, I found my answer at True Value. They have all different sizes of posts. I too thought about a washer.... great minds think alike. ;o) My project is all done and I thank you for your brilliant idea!!

    3. Hey! These handmade knobs are amazing! We actually carry a whole line of knob bases for making your own hardware if you wanna check us out sometime!

      Also, I'd love to hook you up with some hardware for a future project Jamie!

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