Intro: How to Make a Necklace by Recycling Old Jewelry
Do you have an old bead bracelet that is broken? Or maybe some old jewelry you never wear that just needs a new twist?
This tutorial will show you how to recycle that old jewelry into a necklace that's easy to make.
So go get that old, almost forgotten, broken bracelet and let's put those beautiful beads to use!
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Time Needed to Complete: 1 hour or less
Step 1: Materials & Tools Needed
If jewelry-making is your hobby, you probably have all these materials already. If not, these materials can be found online or at a local craft store:
- An old bead bracelet (mine here is an old black pearl bracelet)
- A 24-inch stainless steel chain for jewelry-making
- Crimp beads
- Tiger tail wire
- A couple of jump rings
- Black ribbon Needle and black thread
- Crimping pliers for jewelry-making
- Wire cutter for jewelry-making
Step 2: Remove All the Beads From the Old Bracelet
Remove all the beads from the old bracelet. Some bracelets are made with wire, while others use thread or nylon. This pearl bracelet broke very easily because it was originally made using thread.
Step 3: Cut Your Piece of Wire and Prepare One of the Ends
Cut about 10 inches of tigertail wire. Don't worry if it seems too long at first, the extra length will make the wire easier to handles as you string the beads. The excess will be cut in the end.
Feed one end of the wire through the crimp bead then form a loop by feeding the same end back through the bead as shown. Slide the crimp bead as you make the loop smaller, but not so small that it's too tight for a jump ring. Crimp the bead with crimping pliers.
Step 4: String Your Beads Through the Wire
String the pearl beads through the tigertail wire. I used nineteen 8mm pearl beads for this necklace. You may need more or less beads depending on the size and shape of the beads. For example, you probably need to string less if you're using large 15mm beads.
One suggestion is to use different colors, kinds, and shapes of beads. The beauty of using an odd number is that you can have a “center” bead, which adds some balance to the entire necklace. You can also add a graduating size of beads, putting the largest bead as the centerpiece of this section.
Step 5: Prepare the Other End of the Wire
Slip another crimp bead at the very end. Make a loop as you feed the wire through the crimp bead one more time. Adjust the loop and crimp the bead shut.
Step 6: Be Sure to Leave Wiggle Room
Remember not to make the loops too tight and give the beads a little wiggle room so they can move around the wire. If the beads are too tight, the necklace will look stiff. The beaded section of the necklace should look and bend like this.
Step 7: Add a Metal Chain to Complete the Necklace
Add jump rings to both sides and then add the metal chain. The necklace is already complete at this point but it looks too simple, so we will jazz it up a notch.
Step 8: Make a Small Bow for the Necklace
Make a small bow using the black ribbon. If your ribbon is the type that frays at the end, apply some direct heat to the ends to seal it. (Kids - ask for help from an adult and don't burn the ends of the ribbon by yourself.)
Step 9: Prevent the Bow From Unraveling
Secure the ribbon so it will not unravel. Using a needle and a black thread, sew the middle of the bow as shown.
Step 10: Secure the Bow to the Necklace
Add the ribbon to either side of the beaded section of the necklace. Sew it by letting the thread go around the tigertail wire a couple of times - above one black pearl bead and just below the crimp bead.
Step 11: The Finished Product!
When you are done, you should have a necklace that looks like this.
The beauty of this type of project is that you can tweak it in a million different ways to put your own creative stamp on it. And as a bonus, recycling old jewelry can give you some brand new pieces to wear without spending a fortune.
Let us know how your necklace turned out and be sure to check us out at DIY Shareable for more DIY ideas and inspiration!