This idea comes straight out of the 1960's. It's an easy and creative way to make art from your costume or junk jewelry (any outdated & cheap stuff - nothing valuable of course) - or any other small items that are appealing to you (marbles, small toys, misc. doodads found in your junk drawer?) The examples shown here were made by my Grandmother and her sister. When I repaired the larger tree piece, I used Omni-Stick glue, but any waterproof & metal safe glue will work.
I am making two more art pieces for my cousins, using my late Grandmother's vast collection of junk jewelry and a painters canvas painted a neutral color and edged with lace. Simply lightly trace or free-form your design onto the canvas, lay out the jewelry pieces (with any protruding backs cut off), and then begin gluing. You'll want to layer, or build-up, the design so it looks 3-D.
This Jewelry Flower Basket was made by my Aunt. The background appears to be a thin piece of wood covered with small pebbles (like the fish tank rocks) mixed with plaster. You can get very creative with the background - sandpaper, material, spray-on glue dusted with colored sand or glitter, that rubber shelf liner stuff, netting, silk leaves or petals - endless possibilities.
Below is a close-up of the bottom of the Jewelry Tree - towards the edges of the design there is only one layer of jewelry, and it builds up to 3 or 4 layers in the middle.
I hope you get some creative ideas from this easy project!