Living necklace made from recycled eyeglasses

Published on January 23rd, 2012 | by Ann Smarty


Cool Ways to Recycle Old Eyeglasses

I am always looking for new and interesting examples of people upcycling. As a big proponent of responsible consumerism, I don’t like to throw away anything that can be donated. But what about those items no one is likely to have use for, or that might be broken beyond repair? That is where upcyling comes in.

These examples of old eyeglass use show how either a small part of the pair, or the entire pair, can be re-appropriated in a simple way that can be done at home. There are even two examples of complex projects that were done completely from upcycled materials.

Rhinestone Necklace

Rhinestone Necklace

Using a pair of cat eye glasses with rhinestones, the sides and hooks were both removed to allow them to lay flat. Then, two great looking chains were popped on the sides to make a unique necklace that is actually pretty trendy. The glasses are vintage 1950′s, and so not good for modern day lenses. Very cool, and perfect for a fashion statement.

Italy Map Necklace

Italy Map Necklace

Made by the Etsy store ZanneAvenue, these are one of many necklaces that have been created by taking one lens and carefully printing an image onto it. The backing is lined with fabric to help protect the image and make it more comfortable to wear. Every necklace from them is handmade to make them completely unique.

Dorothy Necklace

Dorthy Necklace

Another great piece by Zanne Avenue, this one has an image of Dorthy from The Wizard of Oz, as played by Judy Garland. It features a classic picture anyone will recognize, of her holding her dog Toto. You can customize it by selecting the leather cord color, the length, the size of the lens and a silver or gold rim.

Specs Appeal Necklaces

Specs Appeal Necklaces

If you want to know how to make the kinds of necklaces that Zanne Avenue sells for yourself, this tutorial from Naughty Secretary Club will show you how. The process is simple enough that even a child (with supervision, of course) could probably make their own. It is also nice and cheap, using materials that a lot of avid crafters will probably have on hand.

Eyeglass Chandalier

Eyeglass Chandalier

Stuart Haygarth is well known as both a scavenger of used materials, and an amazing artist and designer. This piece is a gorgeous, cascading chandelier that takes an amazing 1,020 pairs of eyeglasses to create a masterpiece. Without a close look, you wouldn’t even know what you were seeing, as the light from within reflects off of the many pairs and creates a sparkling effect that blurs the line of the glasses themselves.

Eyeglass Chandalier 2

Eyeglass Chandalier 2

If you thought that first one was impressive, check this out. This bubble chandelier creates a kind of disco ball effect using 3,000 lenses alone, stringing each one separately into the right shape. The white light shines through and make a large, glowing orb. It is absolutely stunning to look at.


Impressed? I am, too. What are some of your ideas for upcycling old lenses? Let us know in the comments.

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7 Responses to Cool Ways to Recycle Old Eyeglasses

  1. Volunteer says:

    While I too am an artist of sorts and love getting crafty, there is a much better way to recycle your old glasses. DONATE THEM. The lions club organization ( takes old glasses and then preps them for people to go where people don’t have access to eyecare. Those people then have an opportunity to see because of donated glasses. Its the only way to make programs like that work. Check out the Volunteers for Optometric Services to Humanity and see for yourself the kind of amazing work people can do with donated glasses. I personally have been on many eyecare trips and there is always a need for more glasses. So while crafting something new is always fun, think what kind of impact your donated glasses can have on an individuals quality of life.

  2. Pingback: The Need for Recycled Eyeglasses (Infographic) | Sustainablog

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