DIY: No clasp charm necklace

With all the thrifting and digging through my mother’s jewelry box that I’ve done, I have quite the collection of charms.This is probably my favorite DIY necklace project because it requires less materials and finally puts some of those charms to use. Plus, long necklaces are the best ever. Overstatement? I think not. You can layer them or wear them alone, and they can take jeans and a t-shirt to the next level.

Supplies

  • 2 charms (mine were from old clip-on earrings)
  • 3 jump rings
  • chain
  • Wire cutters, 2 pairs of pliers (flat nose and long or bent nose)

The breakdown

  1. Measure how much chain you need by draping it around your neck. Find the length you like each end to hang at and trim the rest with wire cutters. I like one end longer than the other, but you can make them even if you prefer. Although if you make them the same length, it might look like a bolo tie.
  2. Using your pliers, attach one charm to each end with jump rings.
  3. Connect the chains about half-way down using a jump ring. Make sure you can still pull the necklace over your head.

Go crazy with it! This DIY project can use any kind of charms, pendants, knickknacks. If you use something without an existing loop, you can attach it using a headpin and a wrapped loop, like in my beginner necklace project.

(Note: In my spring cleaning madness, I misplaced my camera cord. Pictures coming soon!)

Got wire scraps?

While working with head pins, you will most likely end up with a pile of trimmings.

What do you do with these? The most obvious answer is to chunk them in the trash, but I like to make them into jump rings. You can’t use the teeny tiny ones for this but if you use longer head pins, you will end up with plenty of scraps that will be pliable.

So here’s how:

Pinch the end between the prongs of your round nose pliers and twist inward until it forms a loop. The size of the jump ring will depend on your plier placement–the closer to the end of the prongs, the smaller it will be. With the ends side-by-side, trim them simultaneously with your wire cutters. Use pliers to close the jump ring.

Almost any jewelry you make will require jump rings, so hopefully this will save you some money and prevent wasting usable material. Happy crafting!

(Note: In my spring cleaning madness, I misplaced my camera cord. Pictures coming soon!)

DIY: Super simple chain tassels

I must admit something. Every time I go to write a DIY post, I want to title it a variation of “super simple,” “easy,” “beginner,” etc. And I probably have, so sorry if it sounds repetitive. I just really wanted to express that this is truly a beginner blog, with projects that anyone can do. If I reference a technique or even a type of pliers, I will typically link to a resource–mine or elsewhere on the interwebs–to guide you through the DIY.

That being said, here is a super simple way to make tassels you can use for earrings or necklaces. Tassels are my favorite. Any time I get stuck on how to finish a pair of earrings, I add tassels and suddenly they look thought out and complete.

My tassel-making method is pretty rough and tumble, and this would be a great opportunity to use scraps of leftover chain. I don’t measure the chain because I like the lengths of each piece to be a little different. You can measure if you prefer.

Open a jump ring and slide on the end of a piece of chain. At the length you would like the tassel to be, fold the chain and slip the top link onto the jump ring. Save your cuts until the end to make sure you like the way it looks. Continue until you fill the jump ring or you’re happy with the tassel.

Close the jump ring and whip out your wire cutters. Cut a link off the bottom of each connected piece to separate them.

(Note: In my spring cleaning madness, I misplaced my camera cord. Pictures coming soon!)

Update: Tassels were a trend at the Met Gala earlier this week (May 5)!

Thinking outside the craft store

I’ve already established that thrift stores are the greatest place on Earth. Don’t get me wrong, craft stores are also great. But often times when I turn the corner into the jewelry aisle, I start wanting everything. “Ooh, I want those beads! And that chain! And look, it’s a necklace-making kit!” These thoughts start flooding my head and next thing you know, I can only think of designs with these items.

More often than not, I feel that this craft store state of mind limits my creativity. I start seeing what the displays want me to see–buy this book, this material, make this necklace. People who design craft store displays are geniuses. They play on what’s trendy or what everyone is Pinteresting (not sure of the proper term). When skulls are popular, you will find a display of skulls, next to a book about skull jewelry, next to a kit that makes skull jewelry a snap. Even their websites are this way.  

To bust out of this craft store rut, I like looking for atypical materials. Here are a few examples, and a few DIY projects that might inspire you (some links are to blog posts outside of wreck. renew. repeat.)…

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking outside of the jewelry aisle at the craft store. You can pretty much use any material you come across (as long as it isn’t perishable…). You will still need to visit a craft store for most projects to pick up head pins and jump rings, but grab them and run. Get out into the world and try to find supplies in random places. It may be a disaster sometimes, but craft disasters make for funny stories. Trust me, I have a ton of ’em.

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I made this today from a stone, chain and beads (from thrifted items).

DIY Button studs

This will be just about the easiest DIY you will ever do, and will take all of five minutes. For my supplies, I used buttons from a bag I bought at a vintage store. I have also used this method to make clip-on earrings into studs. I find clip-ons to be just about the most uncomfortable accessories ever. How did people ever wear clip-ons anyway?  

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Supplies:

Instructions:

Using your handy-dandy wire cutters, clip off the button shanks and try to get the back as flat as possible.

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Put a dot of glue in the center of the back of the button and press on an earring back. Pick of any excess glue.

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Done! See, wasn’t that easy?

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Scouring for supplies at thrift stores

Today let’s go on adventure. Not skydiving, no road trip, just a jaunt to the thrift store. As a college student and jewelry maker, the thrift store is my friend and should be yours, too. Say it with me, “The thrift store is my friend.” Walk up to that clear display case with confidence and look critically at its contents. There will be a lot of plain old junk. But if you’re lucky, you’ll find some usable chain, interesting pendants or beads you can reuse. Try not to judge pieces by what they look like now. The point is to rip them apart, after all. Some of my favorite pieces I’ve made have been crafted from old, tacky jewelry.

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This is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever made, and I created it out of an old charm bracelet.

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These earrings are also entirely made from jewelry I found at the thrift store.

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I love old buttons. Mainly because they make for a super easy afternoon project. I have about a million pairs of stud earrings that I made from vintage buttons.

You can save a lot of money finding supplies at the thrift store. And when I say a lot, I mean it. Most vintage or thrift stores sell old jewelry in bags, sometimes for as little as $1. There is literally nothing that cheap in the jewelry aisles of craft stores. Plus, thrift stores are fun. You never know what you’re going to find.