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Make Fall More Beautiful by Making Jewelry with Your Children


One of my favorite parts of autumn is the fact that “Sweater Weather” is upon us. And even though it kills my budget every year, I love buying my daughters beautiful sweaters for back-to-school. (Nevermind that I usually sneak in a few sweaters for mom, too!).

Getting an indulgent new fall-colored jewelry line is usually beyond my budget, especially after I’ve bought school supplies for three kids. But that doesn’t stop me, as I have always loved making jewelry, and making several sets like the one below costs less than $25. You may be surprised to find out that not only is it easy enough for an 8-10+ year old to do, but you can make jewelry so dang adorable with your children that even you will want to wear these pieces.

See what I mean?

Handmade Necklace and Earrings

Even better - I made this set in less than an hourAnd although I have made jewelry before, this is the first time I have put together a set like this, and it was the first time I worked with head pins. (Read :: yes, you can pull this off, too!)

Here are the materials you will need to make this autumn-inspired jewelry set. I got them all at my local Hobby Lobby, but Oriental Trading has a fantastic and inexpensive collection of beading supplies online.

Handmade Necklace Materials

  1. Needle-nosed pliers with a wire-cutter at the base
  2. Head pins (long, straight pins that have a blunt end)
  3. Jewelry chain (recycle an old necklace to save $$ - you won’t need a clasp, either!)
  4. Jewelry clasp (I used a fancy but inexpensive toggle clasp that looks like metal flowers & leaves - super cute!)
  5. Beads of your choice

(I ended up not needing to use a lot of what is pictured above)

Step One :: Build your base chain

Remember you can skip this step if you are using a recycled old necklace or charm bracelet chain.

Bending the Chain Links to Add the ClaspMeasure the length of the necklace or bracelet you want to make. Pry open the end links and slip on your clasp. This part is where your kids may need a tiny bit of help, because some chains are harder to bend than others. Sometimes using two pliers helps.

Once the clasp is on the link, use the pliers to carefully bend the link back into a closed circle.

As you can see from these photos, I put a charm on the end of the chain, and added the toggle portion of my clasp a few links up - this way I have a little trailing charm hanging down the back of my neck or wrist. You can also just attach your clasp to either end of the chain - it’s up to you.

The Final Base Chain Completed

Step Two ::  Plan Your Beading Arrangement

Young Jewelry Making AppprenticeEven 3-4 year olds can help with this part, as the head pins are not sharp. Put your beads on the head pins - if the hole in the bead is too big for the head of the pin, use a smaller bead first, then put the larger bead on next (I usually buy small silver-toned beads for  this purpose).

At the left is my just-turned 5 year old daughter putting beads on head pins.

Get creative and lay out your beads along your chain to get an idea of where you will attach your beads to the chain:

Planning Your Beaded Necklace

Step Three :: Clip the Length of the Head Pins

As you can see from the photo below, you will have to use the wire cutter part of your pliers to shorten the length of your head pins before you attach them to your chain.
Otherwise, you will have very long-dangling beads and unless that’s the look you’re going for, the beads won’t lay right.

You want to leave approximately 1/3 inch or 1 centimeter of pin above the top of  your bead:

Clipping the head pins to assemble your necklace

Step Four :: Assemble your Necklace or Bracelet!

Attaching the beads to your chainAh - the fun part!  All that is left to do is bend the head pins into a loop around the chain links, like this. Head pins are very soft metal, this part is super-easy.

It may take a little practice for the children to line up the wire so that the cut ends don’t poke out. You want the pin to form a neat tear-drop shaped loop around the chain link and meet up with itself again.

A few tips — count the links between beads and use the same number to space them evenly. Uneven bead spacing looks really obvious when you are wearing the jewelry. Choose fewer bead styles for a more dramatic impact - and an elegant pattern usually looks more sophisticated than a haphazard approach (but randomness can look great, too)!

Spring bracelet for little girls (and moms!)Most of all - experiment and have fun! This doesn’t need to be an autumn-only activity - check out this bracelet I made for my daughter that would be perfect with a spring dress and cute pink heels… oh, wait, that would be me with the heels… ;)

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    On October 26th, 2007 at 12:51 pm, Erika Jurney, Plain Jane Mom said:

    Wendy, you are multi-talented :)

    On November 1st, 2007 at 1:00 pm, Barbara said:

    WOW Shannon, I love it. I don’t have girls, but it is so perfect for a little princess!

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. New resource for kids activities , projects, and fun on November 2nd, 2007 at 12:53 pm
    2. Contest! Win Beautiful Handmade Jewelry | Seasonal Kids Activities on November 7th, 2007 at 2:27 pm

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