Thrifting Thursday ~ Assemblage

Hello Friends~ Welcome to today's Thrifting Thursday post.
I thought I would try to explain a little about my process when I take those orphan earrings and bits and baubles and combine them into a unique, truly, absolutely 'one of a kind' piece.
This is the first piece I did. 
It's really quite simple. The base was a polymer clay rectangle. I treated that part plus a re purposed shank button and a thrifted metal tear drop bead with Swellegant in copper and then patina. I layered on a filigree chocolate ox cross stamping from B'Sue Boutique and on top of that the shank button. All adhered using E6000. 

From there I moved onto more elaborate pieces and that lead to other avenues like resin filled bezels and re purposed belt buckles.

So I wondered if people would be interested to see some of my process.  The 'how-to' if you will.
I am not one to do puzzles, those 1000+ piece numbers give me a headache, but I would say that making one of these is akin to doing a puzzle. Looking at each piece and trying to determine if it's the right fit. If it's not, then where might it work in the assemblage.

I start with several trays of parts, bits and pieces and baubles.... all spread out before me on my work bench.  I do keep them slightly separated by size and the newest parts, get priority. 

Here you can see the large gunmetal piece on the left that I used as a base and several of the rhinestone parts.

 These are my little drawer cabinets. This is where I keep all the little pieces in between creating. It also houses, my metal stampings from B'Sue Boutique , vintage bits, rhinestones, buttons, charms and everything else.

 Then I sorting... like with like, or color by color, shape with shape or theme by theme depending on my mood and what is on the trays. Here is a pile of rhinestone-y, crystal bits.

  I always use some type of base, whether polymer clay, a metal disc, or in this case the huge, flat, gunmetal gray, filigree, orphan earring.

 Then, it's a matter of moving the pieces all around till I am pleased with the look. Sometimes it falls together quickly and other times it takes a few try's on multiple days. Once I am satisfied,  I usually snap a quick photo for reference if I have to stop mid way since glueing is a step by step process.
Then I start from the bottom up, layering and glueing. I clamp with old school clothes pins to make sure the glue sets where I want it to, because the layers are uneven, it can sometimes be a challenge to get the parts to lay right and stay put.

I generally use E6000 for gluing. I think it works best.  I do also occasionally use tacky glue for some faux rhinestones because the E6000 can affect the backing.

Here is the final incarnation of the rhinestone piece. As is often the case when I make assemblages~ I had no idea when I started that it would end like this....I was so sure I would use that curved rhinestone bar and had no idea that I would add the orphan earring that became the center dangle. It's always a happy accident when these are in production. I think that is one of the things I like most about it.
I am pleased with the result and I think this will make a very cool statement pendant.
Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your time.
I hope this showed a bit of my crazy creative process for turning one person's thrift into a real treasure.


  1. Thank you for this blog, I found it to be very helpful. I've been collecting bits and bobs for years and I'm never sure how to approach using them.

  2. Tammie,
    You make me want to run out to the thrift store and buy old jewelry. It is so interesting to see your process and the pieces that you make are beautiful.

  3. I have a hereditary pack rat tendency, Tammie, so I'm afraid if I started buying this kind of bling I might end up on one of those hoarding shows LOL. It sounds like you have the right kind of discipline to work with these bits and pieces!

  4. Thanks for sharing your creative process with us! I'm a member of B'Sue's creative group....

  5. Love your creative process as you make your gorgeous pieces plus you seem to find such great treasures. I like how you shared how your store them too, I have some of those little drawer things that need to be repurposed for jewelry parts.

  6. Tammie I have not been thrifting since the last thrift shop blog hop and that was last year I believe.. This makes me wanna go out and shop.. LOL I also love how you shared your process with us.


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