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Gem of a Gift: Potato Jewelry

December 3, 2010
By Donna Erickson

If you are looking for some inexpensive but fantastic gifts you and your kids can make and give this holiday season, here's my favorite and one many readers have requested this fall. It's snazzy-looking jewelry made from real potatoes. It's the answer for anyone dealing with a budget crunch! I call it a gem of an idea because whenever I wear my bracelet in bright primary colors or my turquoise-look necklace, people ask where I got it. I happily reply: "My kids and I made it! Out of potatoes!"

Even if the your potatoes are soft, wrinkled and maybe even sprouted a bit, don't throw them away. They'll be your original gems. Get your kids going and craft all kinds of bracelets and necklaces.

Here's what you'll need:

Article Photos


Potato peeler

Sharp knife

Wooden skewers

Floral foam bricks

Craft paint brushes


Acrylic paints

String, ribbon or elastic

Small craft beads

Here's the fun:

Your school-age child should use a peeler to remove the skin from one large potato, which will be enough for one necklace. Cut it into 1/2-inch chunks, and poke them onto a couple of wooden skewers. You'll want to help your younger kids so that they don't poke themselves. Also, do make sure the chunks are well-spaced so there's room to paint them on all sides while still skewered.

Poke skewers into a florist-foam brick so they're standing upright.

After about 24 hours, these little spud chunks are going to turn a funny gray-black color, which is fine. Twist them on the skewer once in a while as they dry and become beads with holes through the center. They'll be rock-hard in about a week or 10 days if you keep them in a dry place.

During this time, check online or take a book out of the library on the subject of stones and gems. Suggest to your children that they pick a stone they'd most like to create. I like turquoise, so that's what I'll describe here.

Spread out newspaper on your work surface. Hold the bottom of each skewer like a handle, dip a foam brush into turquoise acrylic paint and paint the beads. There are so many little nooks and crannies on the chunk that it actually will resemble a stone. Replace the skewer in the floral foam to let dry.

Remove the beads from the skewer, and string them on ribbon or elastic through their holes. To fashion an interesting pattern, alternate with smaller silver beads from a craft store or even from another old necklace you find at a garage sale. When you're done, you'll have a beautiful faux-turquoise necklace!

Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."



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