diy project: heirloom gem spiders

Inspired by vintage spider brooches that were commonly worn on woman’s business suits in the 1930s and 1940s, I have come up with this fun project to re-purpose old costume jewelry into fun and useful little spiders. These creepy crawlers won’t scare anyone; instead, they’ll attract lots of attention with their glitz. As place-card and picture holders, cupcake toppers or decorative picks, these spiders are perfect for spring garden parties and fall Halloween decorations alike. — Haylie

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

Materials & Tools

  • Old or broken jewelry parts (clip-on earrings are perfect for this project)
  • 20-gauge florist wire or other armature wire
  • Gold spray paint
  • Metal and jewelry glue
  • Soldering kit (optional)
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle-nose pliers


1. Choose the jewels and gems that you want to work with, pairing “spider bodies” with “spider heads.”

2.  Using your pliers, remove any jewelry backings from the gems to make a flatter surface.

3.  Cut four wire pieces, approximately 3.5″ to 4″, and one 7.5″ piece for each spider. There should be five pieces total.

4. Using your needle-nose pliers, curl each end of the four shorter pieces, making a loop at both ends. Then, with a wire in one hand and your finger at the base of a loop with pliers in your opposite hand, bend each loop over at a 90-degree angle — use your finger as a guide for a precise bend and repeat on the opposite end. Your wire should now resemble a dumbbell.

5.  Gather all 4 “dumbells” into a bundle. Lay the 7.5″ wire on top of the bundle perpendicularly with their centers crossing. Now wrap the larger wire around the center of the bundle as tightly as possible, twice. Using the needle-nose pliers, you can crimp this joint for extra security.

6. Depending on your skill level, you can either glue or solder this joint together to keep the legs from falling out of place. Glue will require a longer drying time. I would recommend at least a couple of hours or until the glue is completely hard.

7. Spread the spider legs out as evenly as possible, then decide whether you want a pick (like the spiders on the pumpkins or cupcake) or a holder. For a pick, you will bend the longer straight-wire piece at a 90-degree angle downward from the spider legs. For a holder, you must place your “gem” for the spider body on top of the armature as a guide (to guarantee enough space for it later), then lift the longer extension upward at a 90-degree angle.

8. Using the needle-nose pliers, make a spiral for the picture holder (the height of the holder is up to you; you can cut your wire accordingly, but never cut shorter than 1″).

9. To make the armature for the head, cut down the opposite wire extremity to approximately 2″, then using your needle-nose pliers, coil the wire inward, creating a loop for the “head” to rest on.

10. In a well-ventilated area, spray paint each spider armature, one side at a time. Follow spray paint instructions.

11. While holding the “body” on top of the spider with your thumb and index finger, carefully bend each leg into standing position. The height of each spider will depend on the size of its “body.”

12.  Adhere your “gems” onto the wire frame, starting with “heads” first, then the bodies. Glue them into place.

13. Decorate with these little critters. To use as a pumpkin pick, first make a hole in the pumpkin using a  spare piece of wire, then slowly push your spider pick into the pre-made hole.

  1. Natalya says:

    That looks really great! and funny Thanks.

  2. Sheila Comer says:

    I am going to the craft store RIGHT NOW! What a great idea!

  3. amy m. says:

    Haylie does it again! These are adorable.

  4. Sealicious says:

    So cute and orginal! Thank you!

  5. Neada B. says:

    I know what all my girlfriends are getting for Christmas this year!

  6. Sealicious says:

    Sorry, meant original – must not type and eat Cheez-its at same time . . .

  7. what a wonderful project! absolutely love it!

  8. Kaeli says:

    ah! I love it! My Next Project For sure!

  9. annawithlove says:

    This is an adorable craft! So cute!

  10. These are really cool. I feel a trip to the thift store to find some old brooches comming on!!

  11. Gillian says:

    I can’t believe how much I LOVE these! Yay for a new weekend project idea.

  12. sbg says:

    these are really cool!

  13. angie says:

    Cute & creepy! I am making these tonight!

  14. michelle says:

    L<3ve these! They Remind me of Andrew Bird's Imitosis music video:

  15. Afton says:

    Adorable! I love this idea, xoxo!

  16. haylie says:

    OMG! Michelle, I LOVE the A.BIRD video- I had never seen it before- so awesome!! Thank you for sharing and Thank you all for the kind comments. I forgot to mention too- this project is much easier than it looks! enjoy <3

  17. Ginny says:

    this is absolutely one of my favorite haylie b waring DIY’s! so darn clever, miss!!!!

  18. Emily says:

    Ok…this is brilliant. BRILLIANT! Perfect for fall but also great all year long! So Simple! So Brilliant!

  19. Jean Davis says:

    To. Die. For!!!!!!

  20. susie says:

    Love these so much! i think i need to make a hole troupe of these so that they can crawl up the side of my bedroom mirror.

  21. Susan says:

    I LOVE these. Just shared with all my girlfriends. This project will be great for the day when I open up that big box of broken/orphaned jewelry pieces. Reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose!

  22. OK, I don’t exactly love spiders but I adore this project. If only real spiders looked like this.

  23. elizabeth says:

    @ Michelle, yes it is just like Andrew Bird’s music video :) Thanks for the reference! I love his music!~

  24. KC says:

    Very cute! My question is whether there is a graceful way to say “Oh, by the way, I’m going to need that cupcake topper back…”

  25. Very Merry Vintage Style says:

    These are lovely… I have a stash of vintage jewelry that would work quite well for these. Thanks for sharing this idea!

  26. kimberly says:

    This is SOOOOO cool! The only kind of spiders that I want on the table…

  27. I’m not quite sure I’m crafty enough for this but what a great idea! Thanks for sharing :)

  28. O wow! I am just in love with these! They are so beautiful. I want one so bad! <3

  29. Elizabeth says:

    So sweet! (And certainly the best-looking spiders I’ve ever seen)

  30. Evita says:

    These are so very sweet, thank you so much for sharing these!

  31. Susan says:

    I love these. Might recommend napkin holders…certainly would avoid the issue that KC envisions above.

  32. durandconnie says:

    Love these spiders!!! So beautiful. Why can’t I see the first couple of pics? You did a great job…talented.

  33. Nicole says:

    Very lovely! You are so creative! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Pam says:

    I love this idea! I couldn’t see some of the pictures =( .


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