Picture of Wood Pendant Necklace
Turn scrap pieces of wood into jewelry. In this instructable I made pendant necklaces by sanding small pieces of wood and stained them with a non toxic stain. Use different types of wood (cherry, maple, ash etc) for different colours and picking wood pieces with an interesting grain pattern makes for unique jewelry.

Step 1: Material:

Picture of Material:
  • Wood
  • Pendant bails
  • Mineral Oil (baby oil)
  • Strong coffee


  • Wood cutting tools (saw, Dremel etc.)
  • Sandpaper (varying grits)
  • Pliers
  • Paint brush
  • Rag
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Atmfox2 months ago

If you were to use a laser cutter to engrave the wood with a design of my choosing, would it look better if put the finish on after or before? I have been getting mixed messages from a variety of questions about this.

ChrysN (author)  Atmfox2 months ago

Although I haven't tried it myself, I think it would be better to add the finish on afterwards.

mdog935 years ago
could you dissolve instant coffee in baby oil, then apply that to the wood?

if so, it might avoid splintering and raising the grain etc. It might also last longer.

just a thought.
bucklipe mdog935 years ago
Instant coffee  is water soluble, so the baby/mineral oil won't work as a medium.
chubby8 bucklipe10 months ago
And for a little waking up when you are feeling tired... suck on your woodent pendant. ;)
ChrysN (author)  mdog935 years ago
Interesting idea, I'll try it.
mdog93 ChrysN5 years ago
I tried it and it worked a little but not very well, the coffee didn't seem to dissolve properly, perhaps i didn't get it hot enough to start with.

Then i tried adding veg. fat or lard to make a wood wax and that didn't separate but the wood didn't take on much colour froim it unfortunately.

I think with a bit of tweaking it could work though.
Try putting the coffee in rubbing alcohol.  The alcohol will evaporate fast and still let the color set in.
cool, do you reckon the coffee would dissolve in rubbing alcohol then?
 Damn, this is why I love instructables. So many new ideas and nothing is too strange or odd to try. :D

(speaking of too odd to try, I'm off to see if coffee will dissolve in rubbing alcohol) ^_^
let me know how it works out
 A'ight, here's the verdict. There is not enough water in the rubbing alcohol to dissolve a full teaspoon of instant coffee mix (which is what was recommended), but there is enough to dissolve a little. After the alcohol absorbs all the color it's going to, the rest of the mix turns into a nasty thick sludge that's a pain to clean.
I tested the alcohol bath three times. Once with a simple dip in, then letting dry, soaking for five minutes, and soaking for ten minutes. Even after heating up the alcohol and letting it soak for ten minutes, it still did not have a usable finish. There was very little color difference from when it started.

What I ended up doing was making a tea bath for my peices by brewing a single cup of tea with three tea bags in it instead of the normal one. This concentrated the broth (and unfortunately made it undrinkable) :( 
I submerged each piece in the broth using a pair of spoons and let each piece sit for ten minutes, and that seemed to do the trick. There is a very noticeable difference in the ending color as opposed to the starting color of the pendants. It is not as pronounced as it would have been if I'd used Danish oil, like I'd originally planned to, but it still a marked difference and I think the finish is usable.

If you've got any questions about what I did or the color comparison, just let me know! :)
ChrysN (author)  ThePropNerds5 years ago
Nice, thanks for all the research!
 You're welcome! Also, one more thing I forgot -- the alcohol bath was a light yellowish color... um.... kinda like... *tries to think of better comparison*

...yeah, I give up. I also used maple, which is a very dense wood. I'm not sure what the effects of either bath would be on a more porous, softer wood like pine.
 linseed oil mixed with mineral oil works as a good natural sealer.
bucklipe mdog935 years ago
 Yes, rubbing alcohol has water in it. The 91% rubbing alcohol is only 9% water. Usually if it will dissolve in water it dissolves in alcohol.
mdog93 bucklipe5 years ago
cool, cheers for clearing that up. Intersting topic i thought :)
markus21023 years ago
extremely clever way to use coffee haha
i like it =P
what about using a non toxic water based paint such as the (cheap) basic watercolors that are made for little kids? i imagine that would be cool to use for colored pendants... also if one wanted to go for a completely organic approach, you can make a really dark dye out of black walnut husks (the green shell around a black walnut). you soak the husks overnight in water, then boil them in the same water the next day until you get the desired shade. you can store extra in upcycled plastic bottles in the freezer. if anyone tries this though, you do want to wear gloves at all times when handling the husks/dye...it's powerful dye and stains take FOREVER to get off of hands and won't come out period of carpet/clothing/hair (yes i got some in my hair) etc. This can be used for multiple purposes, not just wood staining. should you fancy a natural hair dye, there are instructions for using it for that online, as well as dying material and obviously wood...
the problem with using water colors, is that even after they completely dry, if they get wet again(from sweating or otherwise, the paint woulld come off on you or your clothes.

this is a neat idea!! the black stain from walnuts....

Blue stain/paint from duck droppings(their poop)

Various other colors from different flowers, reeds, grass, etc...

I have never tried the walnuts, but I have made paint from roses, & from the ducks...
ChrysN (author)  SIRJAMES093 years ago
I've heard of using walnuts. Roses and duck droppings sound interesting.
just make sure the droppings are not fresh. *wink* LOL
If you tie-dye at all, the fiber-reactive dyes like you'd use on cotton or rayon also make pretty interesting stains. This guy's a massive inspiration: http://www.dharmatrading.com/autogen/featuredartists/html/202/

I figure if the dye's safe enough to put in clothes...
ChrysN (author)  Weather_blue4 years ago
Thanks for the link, his stuff looks amazing!
ChrysN (author)  thedestroyer5 years ago
Great suggestions, I've heard of using walnut husks for hair dye before.
What a simple and elegant idea!
ChrysN (author)  KwartzKitten4 years ago
LoneWolf5 years ago
Example of neat pendant you can make out of wood (sorry about the horrible picture quality, only one I have on hand):

ChrysN (author)  LoneWolf5 years ago
LoneWolf ChrysN5 years ago
Thanks! I didn't make it though, it was handmade by a man that owned a small shop in the Rocky Mountains...but I tried to make one based off of it but it didn't come out real well.
Ladytiger5 years ago
There's a technique called "sand scorching" that would be neat with these, you heat some sand up in a pie tin in the oven, then dip the piece of wood into it, it gives  the look of a woodburning tool but smoothly all over. Do it before you sand, and get different shades depending how much of the char you take off.  Would also be a neat "negative" color technique - char the piece, then inscribe with dremel and get lighter letters on dark background..
or you could inscribe, char and then sand down so you have an even surface with darker bits. pyrography for people who dont have pgyrography irons
stephensmat5 years ago
Looks like a great project, but before I give it a try, there's a question mark:

Pendant bails are pretty cheap en-masse on ebay, but they come in various sizes. What size is the bail in the pictured pendant you made?
ChrysN (author)  stephensmat5 years ago
The bails that I used were 22mm.
theHERO5 years ago
 Would it be okay on skin if I were to use just a run of the mill wood stainer?
Great idea by the way!
ChrysN (author)  theHERO5 years ago
Jimofoz  mentioned below (www.instructables.com/id/Wood-Pendant-Necklace/#CW6BVVQG2HDXV83) that most modern finishes are non-toxic once they are dry. 
theHERO ChrysN5 years ago
 Thank you!
Wow, that shows how lazy I am :/
Oh, I don't know about lazy....maybe your just enervated ?
Seppuko5 years ago
This looks really nice!
ChrysN (author)  Seppuko5 years ago
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