By Calli Green
As seen in the fall 2012 issue of VintageKC magazine.

Although I am a sucker for vintage jewelry, I have to face the facts that by the time pieces within my budget get to me they are usually worn out, broken, discolored by age and time, or in colors that just shouldn’t make another appearance on the second go around. Because more times than not I swear by restoration with a twist, and my inner “made in the 1980s child” loves all things neon, a project idea was born.

Creative and fashionable are two nice words describing myself, but patient, I am not. The thought of researching how to make my jewelry neon, and actually taking the time to hand paint it seemed a little trying and toilsome. After looking for a few minutes I came across fluorescent spray paint, all of which were not more than $7 per can, and one can can cover many pieces. Because it said it was special purpose, and said it was ideal for signs, sports and recreational equipment, I didn’t think it would have too much trouble staying on metal and plastic jewelry, so I got to work! It was pretty easy and I got the results I was hoping for; next time I think I’ll go even brighter and try yellow. Your jewelry does not have to be vintage, it can be something you don’t wear anymore or you’d like to give second life to. I chose vintage because I picked it up at an antique store for $1 a bag, and, of course, I’m partial to vintage. Here’s how to do your own:

1. Find the piece you want to paint: Personally, I would try to find something metal—it seemed to work the best, dry the quickest and was easier to work with because it is flat. I picked up an old metal and chain belt and made sure it would look OK transformed into a necklace, and then fell in love with the idea even more.

2. (optional) Spray your piece with white primer: If you choose to go this route and spend the extra $5, it could come out brighter, but because two of my pieces were white and the other gold, I just jumped right in with the fluorescent.

3. Spray the jewelry with the neon color of your choice: I decided on pink because most of the neon clothes I have are yellow and green and I wanted to mix it up, but they do have a few different color choices like yellow and orange. It is important to spray your jewelry with several light coats of paint, allowing drying time between coats. Do not get frustrated if you do not see the color you desire after the first or second coat, this part may take a few coats because you want to spray light to avoid drips and imperfections.

4. (optional) Spray on finishing gloss: This step is optional. If you prefer the look of matte neon jewelry, you can leave it as is. I thought an extra finishing coat may help keep the jewelry from getting scratched and I had some specialty spray lacquer left over from another project, so I finished with the spray lacquer and eureka, like new! To be sure it was dry, I waited 24 hours before I wore the jewelry.

Have fun, and make sure to follow the spray can directions for the correct areas to spray in, and how to get the best results for your finished project!