Sakura blossom necklace and earrings with YUPO paper

Sakura blossom necklace and earrings with YUPO paper

I wanted to try doing something with a material rarely used in jewelry making — YUPO paper. YUPO is not actually paper, it is thin sheets of polypropylene. As such, it has some interesting properties, such as being waterproof and very difficult to tear, that normal paper doesn’t have, which suggest some intriguing possibilities. YUPO is normally used for printing, and some artists also find it a great watercolor and ink medium.

One property of YUPO that I’d read about was that it will warp when exposed to heat (so using it to make lampshades, for instance, is not very practical). I was curious how much heat was necessary and what this warping looked like, so I held a scrap piece above a candle flame to see how it behaved itself. Watching the piece of paper curl, shrivel, and thicken in the heat gave me an idea of how to take advantage of this unique feature of YUPO.

Using fabric or paper flowers in jewelry isn’t new, but both materials, while often producing realistic and beautiful results, require delicate handling, and can be completely ruined by moisture. Since YUPO is waterproof and extremely durable, this wouldn’t be a problem, and even the curvature that it acquires when exposed to heat would be completely unaffected by normal wear and handling, and, conceivably, even withstand some brief abuse from children and pets. (Please note: I’m not suggesting that either YUPO paper or jewelry made from it would make good toys for pets or children. At the very least, a sheet of plastic can present a danger of suffocation, and jewelry tends to have small parts and be a choking hazard. So please keep younger children and animals safely away.)

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