Introduction: Making a Locket From Parts

About: Engineer by day, maker by night; I make art to relax and focus. I enjoy drawing, painting, embroidery, paper crafts, and sewing among many others, but I'm always up for learning a new skill.

I love working on craft projects, but rarely have the excuse to spend time on them during the school year. This semester, I proposed a DIY Secret Santa and the enthusiastic response was better than I’d hoped! Try it out; hopefully you’ll be surprised at the diversity of “makers” in your group!

I was feeling the urge to make jewelry so I made my gift recipient (She is also an instructabler) a locket---but only after sneaking around to find out her favorite colors and people!

Step 1: Materials


For this project you’ll need:
• Locket (got a bunch of these from the supplies section of Etsy for a few dollars)
• Sandpaper (both rough and fine grit)
• Painter’s tape
• Chain/clasp
• Decorative beads (I used sequins!), wire, jump-rings, etc. (optional)
• Tiny photo (I got mine from Costco)
• Decorative paper (optional)
• Tracing paper (optional)
• Glue (Tacky glue works best and Q-tips are good for application)

Step 2: Decorative Chain

The first thing I did when designing the locket was look through my box of supplies. I didn’t want to buy any new materials, so this was a scavenging project, which means that almost everything I used can be replaced with whatever you have available.

In the end, I scavenged a chain and clasps from a necklace I didn’t like very much, leftover beads, and sequins from an old project to serve as the decoration above the locket. Because these beads had small holes and were going on a thick chain (and thus couldn't just be threaded on a string), I attached the beads to either end of the chain with wire, as shown in the drawing above the final chain. (order: chain end-sequin-bead-sequin-jump ring (for locket attachment)-sequin-bead-sequin-other chain end)

This decoration helps bring the chain and locket together and allowed me to personalize the necklace for my giftee, K.B., a bit.

Step 3: Add Photos

A. Get tiny photos
First, you need tiny photos. I get mine from Costco. If you print 4x6” photos with them, you get a sheet of tiny pictures sort of like a receipt (but be careful and name your photos something small like “1.jpg” because the name is printed on the bottom and will decrease the amount of usable picture).

B. Cut a circle which fits locket interior
I do this by taking a small piece of soft paper and creasing it around the edge I want the picture to fit into. This leaves a mark to cut along. The resulting circle is your stencil.

C. Cut photo or other image to go into the locket sides
I cut a photo around a picture of K.B. and her boyfriend, but usually bigger photos of faces are better---since I was being sneaky, I had to make do with the photo I could get. Since the locket was a gift, I didn’t want to put in two pictures of the same boy, so I decided on an ambigram of K.B.’s initials. Boyfriends come and go but initials are forever!

Making the Ambigram
To design Kelsey’s ambigram, I wrote two sets of initials as shown in the picture. This helped me visualize the letter I was trying to draw. Since they’re initials, I only needed to design on letter and draw it twice, flipped. I used tracing paper to help with that by tracing the first letter, flipping the paper, and tracing it again next to the first. After designing the ambigram, I re-drew it on a circle I’d cut out from the stencil I made earlier.

D. Glue the Photos
In order to make the locket extra-nice (it’s the little details that make the jewelry) I added a gold backing behind the two images. To do this, I cut two gold circles with the stencil and trimmed the outer edges of the two previous images by about a millimeter, just enough that the gold shows evenly on the edge.

Finally, glue the circles on in the order shown in the picture: first the gold, then the image. Dip the tip of a Q-tip into tacky glue and dab it into the center of the backside of the image you’re trying to glue. Use the other, clean end of the Q-tip to spread the glue out in a spiral so that the smallest amount of glue is on the edge. Position the circle in the desired location (the center) on the locket and press firmly (make sure your fingers are clean and glue-free!)

Step 4: Locket Finish

I bought my lockets from the jewelry supplies area of Etsy. They came with a dark, spotted finish which many people may like---if you like the outside of your locket, feel free to skip this step! In this step, I polished the locket and made a stripe along the upper hemisphere.

First, to polish the locket, I rubbed the locket down with increasing levels of sandpaper grit. Start off with the lowest grit you have (the roughest sandpaper), rub the locket until all of the lines face the direction you’ve been rubbing, switch to a higher grit and rub again in a different direction. When the lines have switched directions, swap to a higher grit sandpaper and continue the process until you get to the highest grit you have and finally a soft cloth.

At this point, you have a polished locket. To add a stripe, take painter's tape and cover all of the locket EXCEPT for the area where you want your design. Use the lowest grit sandpaper you have to rub along the exposed area. This will create a subtle design on the locket surface.

Step 5: Gift It!

The locket is now ready to be gifted! 

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