DIY Cord Necklace

Leaf Heart Necklace

Easy, Classic, and Functional

If you’re like me, then you have a lot of lovely pendants in your jewelry wardrobe but seem to gravitate to a few favorites.  A good way to keep your favorite pendant pieces looking fresh is to wear them on a cord necklace.  This changes their look dramatically and makes them easier to layer with other pieces (think no more tangled chains).

Cord necklaces can be expensive to buy when purchased from a jewelry retailer, but with a few findings and some  jewelry making tools, you can easily assemble your own.

Here’s what you need:
  • Cord in your choice of color – hemp, leather, silk, whatever material you like best.  I chose black for my piece since it is a classic and goes with everything.
  • 1 lobster claw clasp (or spring ring if you prefer)
  • 2 split rings – a split ring comes in handy if you want to add a pendant to your cord that has a bail smaller than the finding.  You can simply take the split ring off to add your pendant and easily replace it again without the need for tools.  Think key ring here.
  • 2 crimp ends or flat cord ends – these are different from crimp beads
  • Crimping pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors

First, determine the length you want your finished necklace to be.  Cut off the appropriate amount of material with your scissors.

Next, add your crimp or flat ends to each end of the cord, crimping them closed with the crimping pliers.

Now you’re ready to attach the clasp and the split rings to your crimp or flat ends.  Use a pair of pliers to help hold each piece in place if necessary.

Pick a favorite pendant, and viola! You now have a very chic, very functional piece of jewelry.  I love that I can easily switch out my pendant depending on my mood and outfit.  I save money and help lessen my environmental impact by not shopping for new pieces all the time.

Like this project?  Leave me a comment below, or send me a tweet @greenearthbazar . I’d love to know what you think. :)

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It’s DIY Friday! | Upcycled Beaded Necklace Project

May 26, 2010 021

TGIF!  It’s time again for another edition of DIY Friday.   This week I’m going to show you how I turned someone else’s unwanted chotchkes into a fun, chunky necklace for spring.

I love making beaded jewelry -  it’s one of my favorite pastimes.  For me, beading is more an exercise in relaxation than a creative outlet.  I find it really helps to calm and focus my busy brain when things in my life become too hectic.

A couple of days ago, while I was browsing through the goodies in my local hospice thrift store (another one of my favorite pastimes),  I stumbled upon some pretty beaded nick-knacky things – their intended use still evades me.  I knew the second I saw them I was going to take them apart and reuse the beads for a jewelry project of some sort.  Those beads just screamed re-use me.

When I got home, after dinner was made and the chores were done (yeah right, they’re never completely done), I unearthed some of my beading gear and got to work.  First, I carefully took off the beads I wanted to reuse, and then set out to find some other beads to put with them.  I knew from the get-go that I wanted to make some kind of chunky necklace with them – they just had that look.  Next, I measured and cut my beading wire to my desired length.  I wanted my finished necklace to be about 18 inches long, so I measured and cut about 23 inches of beading wire.  It’s always a good rule of thumb to cut about 5 inches more beading wire (or whatever stringing material you’re working with) than you need when making a necklace or bracelet.  This way you have enough material to work with and can easily make adjustments if necessary.  There’s nothing worse than spending all that time and creative energy on a project and then realizing your finished creation doesn’t fit the way you originally intended.

After picking out my beads to work with and cutting my beading wire, I began stringing my beads until I reached my desired finished length.  When making any kind of necklace, I like to carefully hold my project up to my neck and look into a mirror to get an idea of where my piece is going to lay before completely finishing it.  This way I can add or remove beads without damaging my stringing material.  I always keep in mind too, that I will be adding a clasp of some sort to the necklace, which will add more length to the piece.

Once I reached my desired length, I added my spacer beads, crimp beads, barrel clasp, and cut off the excess beading wire – all finished, and it took less than an hour to make.  Viola – a fun new piece to add to my jewelry collection (and to probably cut up and remake into something else at a later date).

Here’s what you’ll need to make a chunky necklace similar to mine:

*Note:  all beads used in my necklace were either faceted acrylic (plastic) beads, or glass seed beads.  Of course any large, chunky beads will do – let your imagination go with it!

  • 3 – 25 mm rondelle beads
  • 6 – 15 mm round beads
  • 2 – 10 mm round beads
  • 2 – 7 mm round beads
  • glass seed beads
  • 2 small silver tone spacer beads – bicone shaped
  • beading wire
  • 2 silver tone crimp beads
  • silver tone barrel clasp
  • crimping pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters or scissors

All in all, this project only cost me 50 cents to make -  the cost of the mysterious beaded chotchkes (plus I gave my money to a really good cause – hospice care).  I used  beads and findings that were already in my jewelry craft box.  The only items that were ever purchased new were my jewelry tools, the beading wire, and the glass seed beads -  everything else was purchased second-hand.  Enjoy! :)

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It’s DIY Friday! | Make Your Own Fabric Covered Bangles

Made solely from recycled materials.

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another DIY Friday! project.  This week: learn to make your own fabric covered bangles – no sewing required.  It’s not exactly rocket science, and you probably don’t even need any instructions – but hey, I’ll give you some anyway.

I love this project for a number of reasons – (1) I get to make and wear something pretty, (2) I’m saving money and the environment by not buying a new item, and (3) I’m recycling my old stuff and turning it into something useful once again (a little more enviro love here – can you feel it?).

I created my bangles (I made two because hey, two is just more fun) using old gold-toned bangles (originally purchased from the thrift store), and an old camisole I had stuffed in my dresser.  I’ve kept that camisole in my dresser hoping I could find another use for it.  It was too pretty to just get rid of – all satiny and olive green with lace around the edges – I was determined to recycle it somehow.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own fabric covered bangles:

  • Bangle – any kind will do,  just make sure it will fit once it’s covered with fabric.  Test your finished bracelet before gluing.
  • Old fabric or ribbon of any kind
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

First, cut your fabric or ribbon to wrap around the bracelet.  I didn’t bother to measure mine (I like to live dangerously), but I cut off approximately 20 inches of material from the pretty, lacy edge of my camisole (I came to that conclusion by measuring along the edge of what remained after cutting it up).  A good rule of thumb, however, would be to add a few inches to what you will be cutting to ensure you’ll have enough to completely cover your bangle.

Next, hold your cut material or ribbon tightly with one hand while beginning to wrap it around your bracelet.  Continue wrapping the fabric around the entire circumference of the bangle until you reach the end where you started.

Now you’re ready to use the glue gun (as always, be careful when using a hot glue gun… it’s hot.  Keep your pretty little fingers away from the hot glue – it hurts and doesn’t just fling off your hand – it sticks to it and burns).  Add a small amount of glue to the inside of your fabric (cut off any remaining material if needed), making sure the end of your material is glued to the inside of your bangle.  This way there are no funky edges showing, only 365 degrees of crafty loveliness.  Give the glue a minute to dry, and viola!  You’ve just made yourself a fabulous accessory, saved yourself some cash, and helped the environment out too.  Not a bad return on a very minimal investment.  Enjoy your weekend!  Peace. :)

Check these out for some more fabric covered bangle inspiration:

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