No-waste jewelry: is it possible? | Interview with Nina Mučibabić

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I haven’t done a lengthy presentation in a while (not counting the post about my three absolute favourite foreign bloggers/vloggers – go check it out!). But joining me on this Tuesday, is a jewelry designer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nina Mučibabič (NiNakit by Nina Mučibabić). I met Nina at the Let’s Waste No More youth exchange. With her help, I learned to make a ring from almost only repurposed materials – Nina was kind enough to prepare a short tutorial, which you can read below. She says she is fascinated by waste-free living and that she wants to transfer that philosophy into her designing. She has already done something similar some years ago – in primary school she created a  necklace for herself out of coloured pencil stubs.

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Nina, how long have you been creating jewelry?

I have been creating jewelry more than 8 years.

Which materials do you like using the most?

I started with polymer clay and during the years I was making many experiments with a lot of different materials, but at the moment my favourite material is crystal resin.

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You were part of a exchange where the main topic was living zero waste. Do you make an effort to produce as little waste as possible?

The concept is pretty new for me but I like it so much. During the youth exchange I heard a lot of great real life stories regarding zero waste which motivated me. When I returned back home I started my journey towards zero waste and the first thing was buying glass bottles instead of plastic ones.

We did a workshop during the Let’s Waste No More exchange where we made rings out of bottlecaps and fabric/paper scraps. Do you think you can make beautiful, wearable jewelry out of recycled/natural materials?

Absoulutely yes! Every material can be recycled and great things could be made out of it.

Will you consider using more recycled materials for your jewelry in the future? If yes, what materials?

I have many plans regarding that. The first is  to recycle little wood crayons  and second is about using plastic bottles in order to make pendants.

Can you share the tutorial for the rings?

First, you need to prepare these things:

  • glue for paper
  • glue for metal
  • nail polish (transparent and colored)
  • scissors
  • old paper (newspapers/magazines) and/or old fabric
  • metal bottle cap
  • metal ring base

The fabric and paper should be cut into strips – you should decide about length and width of the strips. You will roll them into coils – the length of the strip will determine the size of your coil and the width will determine its height. The coils then should be placed inside the metal bottle cap. Of course you can experiment and put them in in any order you think will look nice. When you position them you may find that they don’t quite all fit, or maybe you have extra space. If that is the case, make more pieces to fit just the way you want them to or, instead of many small pieces, you can make one big one.

You can combine fabric and paper, or use just one of the materials. If you used the paper to make your coils, you will need to protect it with a few layers of the transparent nail polish. Now is the time to attach the metal base of the ring onto the bottlecap. Make sure you use enough glue and once glued in place, let it dry for several hours. After that you can use colored nail polish to cover the bottle cap if you don’t like the original color. That is the last step and after that you will have an unique, handmade and zero waste ring.

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Cool, right? Nina also incorporates many natural materials (like fresh flowers and coffee beans) into her designs. Her work is popular among bloggers and even the Bosnian Eurovision singer has a few pieces.

All photos in this post, save the last three, are property of Nina Mučibabić, published with permission.