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How to Make Chic DIY Necklaces with Your Tot

Clay Necklaces
Image Source: Lily Glass

My little girl will turn 3 this summer and though I don’t consider myself a “girlygirl,” she can accessorize and play dress up for hours (okay, 20 minutes but any parent of a toddler knows that 20 minutes with one activity is a big deal).

She recently found her way into the few accessories I do have and it’s so fun to see the way she struts around with oversized necklaces and clip-on earrings (for which I have my mother to thank as she held onto those from my own dress-up days). So I knew she’d love to make some jewelry of her own. These fun, durable necklaces make for an excellent afternoon craft, each one a unique accessory that moms and kids alike will be excited to wear. Plus, you’ll love soaking up the reactions when your tot says, “I made it!”

You can follow the instructions below to create our two favorite DIY necklaces, or get creative and design your own! Why not make these for Mother’s Day? Or later in the year to melt some grandmothers’ hearts.

Supplies

  • oven bake clay* in two colors (this is my favorite; one 2-ounce package of each color can make up to 6 necklaces)
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin
  • circle clay cutters (like these)
  • nail or toothpick
  • straw
  • scissors (to cut the string)
  • wax-coated string
  • knife
  • ceramic gloss (optional)
  • paint brush (optional)

*It’s important to use oven bake and not air dry, as the latter is more fragile and less forgiving. All items can be found at your local crafts store.

Marble Necklace
Image Source: Lily Glass

Circle Pendant Necklace

makes one large and one small necklace

Directions

  1. Break off 1/3 of each color of clay. The marbled look is created by combining two colors. The more you combine them, the more marbled the look. If you simply fold the two clays over each other a few times, you’ll achieve a higher contrast design. Have fun with this part and use your hands to combine them until you’re happy with the look. This clay is very forgiving so if you don’t like the design, ball it up and start again! The little ones especially like this part.
  2. Once you’ve combined the clay, use your hand to flatten it on the wax paper into a rough circle, then use the rolling pin to flatten it further, to a little less than 1/4″ thick. 

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  3. Using a large circle cutter, firmly press into the clay and carefully remove the new circle. Take a second smaller circle cutter and remove the center from the large circle (being careful to leave enough thickness around the edge for your necklace hole). 

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  4. Using your toothpick or nail, create a hole at the top of each circle. Set aside both the large circle and the small circle.
  5. Then, to create a bead to sit on top of each circle, gather enough of each colored clay to combine and roll into two beads of your preferred size. (For the large circle we started with the size of a nickel. For the small circle, a large pea.)

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  6. Use your toothpick or nail to puncture the beads. I found it helpful to puncture from both sides to ensure the hole was large enough for the wax string.
  7. Double-check that all parts have punctured holes for the string and bake the circles and beads together according to your clay’s directions. If you prefer a high-gloss finish, allow the clay pieces to cool and then paint them with the gloss. (I prefer a more muted finish so I omitted this step.)
  8. Cut the string to your desired length and fold in half. Push the looped end through the back of your pendant and feed the two loose ends through the loop, pulling until the pendent is hooped on the string. Feed both loose ends through a bead to sit on top of the pendant and tie a knot. Finish with a simple knot around your neck and wear proudly.

    Image Source: Lily Glass

Cylinder Necklace

makes one large and one small necklace

Directions

  1. Gather two combinations of clay: a larger portion about the size of a ping-pong ball (1/3 of each clay color) and a smaller portion the size of a quarter (1/4 of each clay color). Create marbling technique for both (follow technique outlined in the Circle Pendant Necklace directions above).
  2. With your hand, flatten the larger sized clay into a rectangle on the wax paper and use the rolling pin to spread evenly to a little less than 1/4″ thick and 4 x 3 inches. Repeat with the smaller clay combination, rolling a 3 x 2-inch rectangle.
  3. Use your knife to clean up the edges.

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  4. Place your straw at the bottom of one of the rectangles and begin to roll up toward the top edge. Connect the bottom edge just below the top edge, and use your finger to fold the top edge up over the bottom, creating a cylinder. With the straw still inside, roll the cylinder back and forth until that edge is smooth. Then remove the straw (you might have to wiggle it), and curve the cylinder. Repeat with other rectangle. Set aside.

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  5. Then, to create a bead to sit on either side of each cylinder, gather enough of each colored clay to combine and roll into two beads of your preferred size. (We made two necklaces: for the large cylinder, we started with the size of a quarter; for the small cylinder, a large pea.)

    Image Source: Lily Glass
  6. Use your toothpick or nail to puncture the beads. I found it helpful to puncture from both sides to ensure the hole was large enough for the wax string.
  7. Double-check that all parts have punctured holes for the string and bake the cylinder and beads together according to your clay’s directions. If you prefer a high-gloss finish, allow the clay pieces to cool and then paint them with the gloss. (I prefer a more muted finish so I omitted this step.)
  8. Once cooled, cut the string to your desired length and thread through a bead, cylinder, bead. Once threaded, knot at the top of each bead to keep the pieces from moving around the necklace. Finish with a simple knot and wear proudly.
    Image Source: Lily Glass

    Clay Necklace
    Image Source: Lily Glass

*Keep all small beads away from tiny children that might have the urge to stick them in their mouths.

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