Vanity + Wearables

Tiny DIY: Cheap ring makeover.

I’m pretty unfancy when it comes to jewelry. Aside from a few things that were gifts, the only jewelry I wear (if I wear any at all) is cheap stuff—really cheap stuff. Last weekend I found this neat “diamond” ring at H&M for $5, and even though I didn’t like the weird faux-antique finish of the metal, I decided to buy it anyway and try giving it a little makeover.

I’ve never tried spray-painting jewelry before, but I figured that since matte black Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer has proven itself to be incredibly durable on my door hinges, window locks and other hardware around the house for the past six years, it would probably hold up pretty well on a ring, too.

I washed the ring with soapy water, dipped it in rubbing alcohol (this might’ve been unnecessary, but I figured it couldn’t hurt), let it air-dry completely, and then applied two light coats of Rust Reformer. After letting it dry overnight, the ring looks PERFECT. The black finish is flawless, and and the ring looks a million times cooler now. It’s my new favorite piece of jewelry! (Side note: Doesn’t it remind you of AM Radio’s himmeli mobiles?)

OK, so before my mother has a heart attack: That’s not a real tattoo. It’s a Tattly. I’m kind of obsessed with temporary tattoos right now—I have a huge stash, and they’re perfect for non-committal types like me. I love what Tina has managed to do with Tattly—she’s having fun with a medium that was previously relegated to children’s novelty items, and using it as a means to promote artists and designers. (My Scribble Tattly was created by James Victore.)

And yes, that’s a new Calgel manicure, this time in black. The orange-red Calgel lasted for exactly two full weeks before the new growth started to make me crazy (which I knew would happen, since my nails were very short and the color was very bright!), but it stayed shiny and completely chip-free the entire time. This is what it looked like an hour before I had it removed. I have no doubt I could have gone at least 3–4 weeks if it weren’t for the new growth! Oh, and for those of you were wondering, the removal process at Sakura was simple and painless. A tiny acetone pad was held in place with aluminum foil over each nail for about 5 minutes (exactly the same method you’d use for removing glitter polish at home), and then the gel basically fell off of my fingernail with a gentle push from an orange stick. There was no damage to my nails whatsoever, but from what I gather, the outcome really depends on the technique used by the salon you go to. I’m going to keep the black on for three weeks, and then I want to try a fancy gradient manicure

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  • Reply lisa September 12, 2012 at 7:50 am

    caged jewelry always reminds my of Rosemary’s Baby! Love it!

  • Reply Amanda September 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I’ve loved your ring and your nails, Anna! I always buy really cheap jewelry, too. I don’t see the point of wasting my money on it, because I wear – almost ever – the same things: a pair of golden hoops, a made-of-golden-heart necklace and a cristal bracelet. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Really useless spend money on other stuff, since I will use then seldomly.
    And, Gosh, those gradient nails are awesome!

  • Reply Christian T September 12, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Check out this jewelry…. It’s more than $5, but I love it and it reminds me of you….

    • Anna @ D16 September 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Yes, definitely! I have several pieces from that shop on my wish-list. 🙂

  • Reply Ismay September 12, 2012 at 8:29 am

    In a totally non spammy/pushy way I think you might quite like our jewellery (paper and chain) -we’re all about geometric shapes. I like what you’ve done with the ring, and the black gel looks soo shiny, awesome.

    • Anna @ D16 September 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Very pretty jewelry, Ismay! I especially like the Vega cuff. I have a piercing at the top of my ear that I haven’t worn jewelry in for years. If you ever decide to start making it in gold fill (which I know would make it much more expensive…), I’m all over it! Sadly, my ears have become too sensitive for anything else as I’ve gotten older. 🙁

    • Ismay September 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      So glad you like it! It would be great to tempt you back in to upper ear jewellery 🙂 We can actually do a gold plated version easily and for only a few £’s extra, if you want you can send me an email ( and we can sort it out! The Vega cuff is one of my favourites, I wear one every day 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 September 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      I can’t do gold-plated, sadly, only gold fill. 🙁 Thank you, though!

    • Ismay September 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      aww okay, I’ll look into it and I’ll let you know if we can do it!

  • Reply Deepa September 12, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Great makeover, that ring looks awesome with your nails. I’m a fan of the cheap stuff too, although turning 30 has made me wonder if I should start buying things that don’t turn my skin green!

  • Reply tabitha September 12, 2012 at 8:47 am

    so goth-chic. love it!

  • Reply Jules September 12, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I love that second photograph. I love everything about it.

  • Reply Grumble Girl September 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Your giant man hands look so pretty… and that ring is boss. (Love the tatt, too!)

    • Anna @ D16 September 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

      HAHAHA. I love you.

  • Reply jacqueline | the hourglass files September 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Great idea painting the ring. It’s a cool design, but I agree it looks so much better in black than in the burnished metal finish. I will have to remember this idea.

  • Reply Jan Cabalek September 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I must say that I have always admired skilled women. Any other diy tricks? This one gave me much inspiration.

  • Reply Simone September 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

    The ring looks dangerous (you could use it as a method of defense if you are attacked)!!!
    Can’t wait to see the gradient manicure.
    Have a wonderful day!!!

  • Reply Louise September 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    WHAT??? I’d totally put a James Victore scribble on my person temporarily. I have zero tattoos and while I am not opposed to them on other people, I have never felt the need to commit to anything permanently.

    The ring DOES look amazing BTW. Great idea!

    • Anna @ D16 September 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      I am also tattoo-free! If I didn’t have such a hard time with the idea of permanence when it comes to my body, I’d probably be covered with them. Tattlys are a good compromise. 🙂

  • Reply Lizzie September 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Ah, that’s so perfect — I love diy jewelry, and it looks great. 🙂

    I also really love the scribbled tattly! That’s such a neat idea.

  • Reply Adam September 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Love the nails and the ring, it looks so much better than the before! I gasped when I saw the picture of your forearm, because I thought that was a real tattoo and wondered when you got it!

  • Reply Lorie September 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Only you would think to spray paint a ring! I love it! But how in the world did you do it? How did you not miss the spot you were holding? Tweezers?

    • Anna @ D16 September 13, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Haha! I didn’t hold it while I was spray painting it, I put it down on a piece of cardboard—sprayed one side, let it dry, then flipped it over and did the other. I like the tweezers idea though, hah! 😀

    • Lorie September 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Ahhh… You used the old “be patient, let it dry and THEN flip it over” technique. It is quite clear to me now why my spray paint projects don’t turn out… 😉

  • Reply alis September 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Your nails look really really nice. The ring too, however I’m hesitant to try spray painting jewelry myself, isn’t it bad to have paint rubbing against your skin? I mean I wonder if the skin would absorb unhealthy chemicals. For example they don’t use certain chemicals in nail polish because they get absorbed. Maybe try not to wear it on hot days, just in case.

    • Anna @ D16 September 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

      For a few hours a day and such a minimal amount of contact, I’m really not worried. In the scheme of life, it’s very minor!

  • Reply Gracie September 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Love everything here, the ring, the DIY, your lovely pale skin, the scribble, the varnish. YEAH.

  • Reply lori September 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Oh that scribble is nice. I also really like these local Vancouver, BC designers doing temporary tattoos in bright patterns 🙂 Pretty fun…

  • Reply Cyn | decyng September 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Love the ring and the “not real” tatoo!

  • Reply frannie October 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    i love this post and everything (everyone) in it! the scribble…good and twombly. yes.

  • Reply Jessica August 17, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    How is it holding up?
    I want to repaint my black ring that after a few years lost most of the original coating (done by a jeweler) and I’ve tried all sorts of enamel spray paints even with primer and it just won’t stick and will come off with wear and tear after 2-3 days. Want something longer lasting and that paint you mentioned seems heavy duty.

    • Anna @ D16 August 17, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      The ring broke in half years ago, sorry!

  • Reply Alisha July 24, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Simply beautiful! Thanks for the share.

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