We just finished making 31 bracelets and necklaces for Christmas gifts. This DIY jewelry project is so easy to do with kids, I thought I’d share how we made them.
Making jewelry out of metal washers is not a new concept. There are a lot of great ideas out there and ways to go about it.
These are kid friendly instructions (my son is in the 5th grade) with no engraving techniques, spray painting or complicated clasps.
I made a few mistakes at the start. I bought some unnecessary supplies that I had to return and struggled with things like knotting and what size washers to buy. Once we figured it all out and got rolling, it was really easy to make 1 or 31 in our case.
Hopefully my instructions help if you decide to make these with your kids.
Supplies You’ll Need to Make DIY Jewelry:
Just a note on supplies. I only bought the Black Satin Cord for necklaces through Amazon (link below). I provided a link to the Nylon Cord for convenience. Amazon sells cord primarily in bulk. I only needed 12-yards of Nylon Cord which I purchased at Micheal’s Craft Store.
– Flat Washers (5/16 or 7/16 for bracelets and 7/16 or 9/16 for necklaces) these sizes seemed to work best.
– Nail Polish
– 1.5 mm Nylon Cord (for bracelets)
– 1 mm Nylon or 1 mm Waxed Cotton Cord (to make sliding knots on bracelets…video link below for more detail)
– 2mm Black Satin Nylon Cord (for necklaces, this is the exact cord I purchased through Amazon)
– E6000 Adhesive (only needed if you plan to glue on charms like the gears on ours)
– A tooth pick (used to spread Mod Podge Dimensional Magic)
– Charms, beads, sparkles, embellishments (not necessary but adds a nice touch)
Painting and Decorating:
There are tons of different washers and sizes. We used a few different sizes but liked the 5/16 or 7/16 size for bracelets and 7/16 or 9/16 for necklaces. Btw, 7/16 refers to the hole size. I was able to get bags of 6 washers for about $1 from the local hardware store.
Now this is where the fun part comes in. I gave my kids a bunch of different nail polishes that I bought from the dollar store and let them go to town decorating. On some they sprinkled glitter before the nail polish dried completely.
Gluing On Charms and Finishing With Mod Podge Dimensional Magic:
Using E6000 adhesive, we glued gears onto some of the washers and let them dry. Note: I recommend a parent or older child do the gluing and Mod Podge.
Then we spread Mod Podge Dimensional Magic over the top surface of the washer. We used a toothpick to spread it out evenly (from edge to edge) all over the surface and work out any air bubbles.
The Mod Podge will look like a milky bubble dome on the surface of the washer but will dry clear. Just let the Mod Podge dry for the full 3-hours as recommended on the package before moving on to cording.
Cording For Bracelets and Necklaces:
My son made necklaces for the girls in his class and bracelets for the boys.
Necklaces were easy. We used 2 mm Black Satin Nylon Cord and made the cord long enough to slip over the child’s head.
Bracelets were a little different and required 3-pieces of cord. Two 1.5 mm nylon cords (cut 14-inches long) for the bracelet itself and a shorter piece of 1 mm Nylon Cord or Waxed Cotton Cord (cut 8-inches long) to make a single sliding knot to finish the bracelet (see photo below).
Sliding Knot Instructions:
There are a few ways to make a sliding knot. My youngest wore his bracelet and the sliding knot unraveled the first way I tried it.
The method in this video (from Jessica at jewelrytutorialhq.com) seemed to work best. The knot stayed put! Her video recommends 1 mm waxed cord but I just used the 1 mm Nylon Cord I had on hand and it worked out fine.
That’s it. I hope these instructions help if you decide to make these fun necklaces and bracelets with your kids.
My son can’t wait to give them to his friends. If you try making them, let me know or better yet send a picture. I’d love to see your creations!