Can You Believe This Necklace is Made From Plastic Bottles? DIY Eco-Dazzlers

necklace ribbon

This bold, oversized necklace, made by Nancy Minsky, sparks the scene for the kind of fashion surprises and creativity that are bound to happen as we enter the new year.

Fabulously hip, it’s deceptively an easy to make, recycled design. She simply cut a bunch of oval shapes out of discarded plastic containers, slipped them onto a carabiner and then tied it around her neck with a lush violet ribbon. She wore it dressed to the nines to a super posh party. And even though the crowd sported serious jewels and clothes, her DIY necklace was a stunning success drawing many comments.

When she explained what it was, and how she made it, their mouths dropped open in disbelief. Isn’t it fashion fun to trump the green card!

Nancy’s designs are fashion driven and her social consciousness pushes her to find ways to incorporate the green element, but the green becomes a sense of discovery and surprise, not a label in itself. Nancy wants to wear glamorous and camp fashion and even though she is always searching for more eco-driven lifestyle habits, when it comes to her clothing she does not want to look like she is wearing ‘green’ but is just plain chic.

Plastic containers offer a superb material to recycle into accessories because it is easy to cut, freely available, and is so light you can pile it on in oversized proportions. Plastics come in a wide range of colors and patterns from fun candy colors, to shocking pinks to transparencies. The range of colors, plus any textures, patterns and printed information on them adds to the eclectic quality when converted into necklaces, charms or earrings.

You can make a necklace just like Nancy’s, by following the easy instructions on her blog. Or make your own variation. Slip a chain through the carabiner, or wear it like a choker, attach it to a headband or slip on a snap bolt and clip it to your belt loop, mobile phone or backpack. Make yourself small charms for a bracelet, in all kinds of fun plastics, or create oversized earrings with contemporary, modern shapes. Play with color — make one earring black and white and the other transparent. Experiment with shapes, paint, add other found materials, and, if you don’t like the results, simply chuck them back in the recycle bin!

Packaging that has been so common is going to become more and more rare for the obvious ecological reasons (we hope!!), so seize the moment and stash away your favorite wrappings, bags and plastic containers for future crafting fun and fashionable whims.

Nancy is also influenced by Michele Obama’s adventurous and bold style, and most of all by her courage to express her individual taste.

MO is breaking the rules and it comes from her sincere, personal confidence, so it is very real and contagious! She inspired me to be more open and aware of what I am expressing through my dress, as that reflects on others and then bounces back. If MO dares to take chances in the public eye, then why shouldn’t I? Color and a fashionable playfulness, especially in accessories, can be a delightful fresh breeze of energy. That coupled with the financial crisis and my desire to be more eco-imaginative, led me to make this knock-out plastic charm and wear it for a big night out.

Denim Revolution covermini

Love DIY projects? Get Nancy’s book, Denim Revolution, and do something useful with those old jeans!

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.