Grungy Graduation Year Jewelry Tutorial

by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved

Grungy Graduation Year Jewelry Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Grungy graduation year jewelry by Rena Klingenberg

Graduation year hand-stamped on an antiqued metal “photo turn”, layered with round grungy metal disc, and attached with a jump ring to antiqued ball chain.

These grungy graduation jewelry styles are a fun alternative to the traditional class rings and pendants.

Grungy graduation year jewelry - earrings by Rena Klingenberg

“Class of 2013” earrings – copper hardware store washers hand-stamped with graduation year, then attached to earwires with jump rings.

The start of the new school year is an ideal time to give high school students (especially seniors!) jewelry inscribed with their graduation year.

Grungy graduation year bracelet by Rena Klingenberg

Grungy graduation year bracelet: a hand-stamped antiqued metal jewelry blank is attached with a jump ring to a doubled leather cord; bracelet closes with simple hook and eye clasp.

This cool jewelry would also be a fun project for teens to make for themselves and their friends!

And wouldn’t it be a blast to give these to your former classmates at a class reunion – inscribed with your graduation year?!

Hand-stamped graduation year jewelry - necklace by Rena Klingenberg

Metal and leather graduation year necklace – stamp the year on an aluminum washer. Darken numbers as described below. Use two distressed leather cords to make a larks-head knot in the washer. Finish off cord ends with a clasp.

To make grungy graduation jewelry, you’ll need a set of number stamps (and if you’re new to metal stamping, see my easy tutorial, metal stamps – tips and techniques).

Grungy graduation year jewelry - earrings by Rena Klingenberg

Grungy graduation year earrings: hand-stamp two antiqued “photo turns”. Darken numbers as described below, and then use jump rings to attach your stampings to a pair of earwires.

For metals to stamp on, you may want to get an assortment of metal washers from a hardware store (I find that copper and aluminum washers are easiest to stamp).

You can also get an assortment of antique-finish jewelry tags, pendant blanks, etc. from a craft store or jewelry supplier.

Grungy graduation year necklace by Rena Klingenberg

Grungy graduation necklace – hand-stamp an antiqued jewelry blank, darken numbers as described below, and use a jump ring to attach the stamping to an antiqued ball chain.

You’ll probably also need a variety of jump rings, rustic chains, clasps, leather cord, ear wires, etc.

Graduation year earrings by Rena Klingenberg

After stamping the year onto a piece of metal, I recommend using the finest-tip black Sharpie marker to darken the stampings so the numbers will show up better.

Then wipe any excess Sharpie ink off of your metal, using a scrap of paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol.

Rustic graduation year necklace by Rena Klingenberg

Now have fun finding ways to combine your gorgeously rustic elements to make groovy, stylish jewelry!

I think most of these grungy graduation jewelry styles (especially necklaces and bracelets) can be worn by both guys and gals.
Easy graduation year necklace by Rena Klingenberg

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  • Vicky says:


  • Shenita says:

    These are great! Saw your post on Meet Me Monday.

  • Danni Baird says:

    These are very cool! I haven’t had much luck with metal stamping…but I haven’t practice enough yet I’m sure! Any grad would be glad to have these. Nice job!

  • must love junk says:

    I LOVE this stamped jewelry-so fun! I’ve just added you to my Google Reader!

  • Frances says:

    These are all so cool looking, you have a good eye for putting things together. Thanks for sharing.

  • diane says:

    Very cool!
    ATA Girls
    Treasuring Grace

  • zoraida says:

    What an awesome idea! I’m sure these would be a hit with younger people.

  • becolorful says:

    What a great idea. I’m going to have to bookmark this for next Spring. Thanks for sharing.

  • annie! says:

    These are AWEsome!

  • Paula says:

    These are very cool designs. Any grad would love them. What are “photo turns” and where do you find them? (Not that I’m going to copy your designs, but they make great charms, too. I already have an idea for the blanks.)

  • Thanks so much to all for your lovely comments!

    Paula, thanks for asking! Photo turns are a scrapbooking thingie (I don’t scrapbook, so I don’t know how they’re used in that realm) – and you can usually find them in packages of about a dozen at most craft suppliers; you may need to look in their scrapbooking section.

    For jewelry makers, photo turns are very cool little metal components you can use in all kinds of ways, and they tend to be very stampable! 🙂

  • Cindi says:

    I instantly fell in love with this idea so I tried it with some washers I had and it’s great. I also added a couple of glass crystals in local school colors for added impact. Can’t wait to see how they sell at my Sat. farmer’s market.

  • Christine says:

    How AMAZING!!!! I always adore your jewelry!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.

  • Cindi, I love your innovation of adding the school colors – great idea! I hope they sell well at your Farmer’s Market! 🙂

  • I love these….they are awesome…thanks for sharing your white wednesday post.

    ciao bella
    Creative Carmelina

  • Michelle says:

    Love these! Great gift ideas for graduates and teachers alike 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing at Creative Thursday this week. Have a wonderful weekend.


  • DarlaG says:

    I do this too…nice!

  • Betsy says:

    Love your fabulous personalized jewelry. They’d be great for any occasion and who wouldn’t love and appreciate them? Thanks for sharing.

  • LaVoice says:

    A wonderful idea. I am sure most seniors would love having any one of these items.

  • These are fabulous, and how great you have a tutorial too. Very clever idea.
    Happy Pink Saturday!

  • These are wonderful! Thanks for sharing at this week’s BFF Open House.

  • Robyn says:

    very clever an original idea – looks great! Hope you have a fun Pink Saturday!

  • Courtney says:

    Very cool and rustic jewelry!

  • These are awesome! I especially love the first necklace.

  • Christina says:

    I love this idea for graduation. Or even anniversary dates. They look marvelous!

  • So fun! I would have loved to receive something like this as a graduate! So creative and special! Thank for sharing!

  • Great project! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday! Been wanting some of those metal stamps myself, keep thinking about them every trip to the US….maybe next time!

  • Fabulous & fun idea. I bet grads would LOVE to get these!

  • Jordan says:

    Dig the style!! Check out our blog hop and link up if you’d like!

    xoxo, Jordan

  • Paula says:

    Beautiful! Pinned. New follower. Thanks for sharing at MM @ Call Me PMc ~ Paula

  • The perfect graduation gift! Thanks for sharing at Monday Funday!

  • These are too cute!!


  • Natasha says:

    Love all of these!!!

    Natasha @ Serenity You

  • Thanks for this idea. I also looked at your post on metal stamping. I hope to give it a try.

  • Diane says:

    Those are so cool. I have never tried metal stamping. Thanks for sharing at The Gathering Spot this week 🙂

  • Here from Thursday’s Treasures… What a great idea. Love them

  • These are all very cool!

  • Ana says:

    Love this! I recently did a post on Office Supply Jewelry. Now I’m inspired to try Hardware Store Jewelry! Making magic of of common materials. Pinned!

  • Linda says:

    OMG!!!! LOVE THIS SO MUCH!! I just bought the little metal letters to do this with also. I’m so inspired… Thanks, Rena. Love your Mom. She is so creative!! Linda

  • I have a ton of nieces and nephews that would love these. They are perfect for gifts.

  • What a great gift any one of these would be for girls and guys both — I love the washer necklace especially. Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas on Busy Monday!

  • Great ideas! I recently purchased a metal stamping set. I need to put it to use.

  • Marie says:

    Wow, these are great! I love how the stamped metal looks. 🙂

  • Rena, you are genial. These are so fun!

  • These look fantastic! Love the first necklace with the ball chain especially 🙂

  • Grace says:

    I totally love all you fun ideas and frequently share them on Pinterest. It is no surprise that those are re pinned often. Thanks for your great newsletter.

  • Pax Design says:

    Awesome! And your photos are spectacular!!

  • Katie says:

    Really cool ideas for tweens and teens who are past the cute phase!

  • I love the stamped washer. Thanks for sharing @ hope to see you again soon!

  • Kristen says:

    These are really cute! What a great way to showcase a graduation!

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