Wood Pendant Necklace




About: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and likes to be in the centre of things, so you will see him in several of my instr...

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:

  • Wood
  • Pendant bails
  • Mineral Oil (baby oil)
  • Strong coffee


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

Step 2: Shape Wood

  • Cut the wood to the shape and size that you like with a saw or Dremel tool (one of the pendants I made was about  32mm X 25mm in size with a thickness of 5mm.)
  • Round the edges of the wood, I used 60 grit sandpaper for this.

Step 3: Sand Until Smooth

Sand the wood with increasing grit sandpaper until it is nice and smooth, I used 80,100,150,180, 220, then 320 grit.  Always sand with the grain, and don't skip more then one grit size.

Step 4: Drill Hole for Bail

  • With a pencil mark the centre of the pendant where the hole for the bail should go.
  • Drill hole with a small bit (1/16th).

Step 5: Stain

Since I will be wearing the wood necklace near my skin, I didn't want to use a polyurethane stain.  So I choose a natural, non toxic way of staining the wood, coffee.
  • Brew some coffee stronger than you would drink, I made it about 4X stronger. Filter and let cool before you use.
  • Apply the coffee stain with a small brush, this may take several coats ( I did 5 coats), dry between coats.
  • Since it is a water based stain, it will make the wood a bit rough (it raises the grain) so lightly sand to make it smooth again.

Step 6: Oil

I used mineral oil as a non-toxic finish.  It also deepens the colour of the wood.  Pour a small amount of mineral oil on a rag, rub it into the wood and wipe off the excess.

Step 7: Add Bail and Chain

Put the bail on and squeeze shut with pliers and add a pretty chain.

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80 Discussions

Ray from RI

1 year ago

Very cool and you could do some chip carving on the pendent and or simple wood burn design as well.... Do not for get to wax the wood for a nice final polish Minwax or Johnson Past Wax would do the job too....


3 years ago

This is awesome and I want to make it for my friend, can I engrave on the wood? I want to write something on it

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Sure, engraving the wood would totally work.


9 years ago on Step 7

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...

7 replies

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...


Reply 3 years ago

Instead of walnut dye, use oak gall, the ink from oak galls is what the US Constitution was written in, also there is a pretty comprehensive list here: http://pioneerthinking.com/crafts/natural-dyes

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...


3 years ago on Introduction

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.

2 replies

Reply 3 years ago

Atmfox, it all depends on what effect you want, if you color the wood before engraving, whether with a dye or paint and then laser etched area will be a different color than the dyed parts, if you treat the wood after you laser etch it, then the design might be less visible, it also depends on whether your etched design is really detailed or bold.


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

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


9 years ago on Step 7

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.

5 replies

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Instant coffee  is water soluble, so the baby/mineral oil won't work as a medium.


Reply 4 years ago

And for a little waking up when you are feeling tired... suck on your woodent pendant. ;)


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

Try putting the coffee in rubbing alcohol.  The alcohol will evaporate fast and still let the color set in.