Necklaces are the perfect way to add a bit of color, shine, and visual interest to an outfit. Pair a simple black dress with a large, ornate necklace and bam! Instant fashion. Your jewelry can be bold or subtle and can cover all aspects of your life and interests, including your geekdoms. Although we are getting more and more geek fashion offerings, there is still very little in the way of official, licensed jewelry. What is out there is often very simple and small. If you’re looking for a bolder piece, you may just need to make it yourself!
Looking around at conventions and online, geeky keychains are significantly easier to find than necklaces. These keychains are usually at least an inch wide and made of sturdy materials, often metal, and lend themselves perfectly to being repurposed as a unique piece of jewelry. This may sound like an intimidating process, but have no fear. With a few materials and just a dash of creativity, you can start making your own jewelry at home.
Step #1: Find The Perfect Keychain
Always be on the lookout for fun and unusual keychains. Geek is becoming so mainstream that you can find some simple ones at big stores like Target and Amazon. For some more interesting pieces, take a look at Hot Topic, The Lego Store, and specialty retailers like We Love Fine, Jinx, QMx and more. Also take a look at the vendors at your local conventions, there are some gems available.
Step #2: Remove Any Unneeded Hardware
In order to make your necklace, you’ll want to remove any pieces that you don’t need for your necklace. This usually means taking off the large keychain ring and the metal chain connecting the ring to the charm. When you’re done, all you should have left is the charm itself with a single loop or hole for your jump ring to slip into. If you’re not familiar with jewelry making, let’s talk briefly about how you can remove these unneeded pieces.
I would suggest getting two small jewelry pliers, one with a rounded edge and one with a flat edge. It’s always handy to have a few types of small pliers around for crafting projects, so maybe consider getting a set like this one.
To remove any unneeded pieces, look for the small seam on the ring(s) that you need to remove, and use the two pliers to pull the ring(s) apart. Use one to steady the ring and the other to wrench it open.
Step #3: Add a Jump Ring
If you’re new to crafting, you may not be familiar with jump rings. They are very small metal rings that are used to connect two items together. They come in a variety of sizes and metals to match any given project. They are quite cheap, so I would recommend grabbing a few colors and sizes at your local craft store so you have them handy. To open them, simply use your flat pliers to hold the ring steady while you use the rounded pair to slowly and gently open up the ring at its seam. You’ll want to slip the open jump ring into the circle opening on the keychain charm and then also slip on whatever chain you’ll be using before closing the jump ring using the same technique you used to open it.
Step #4: Find a Chain and Clasp
You have a ton of options available to you for the necklace chain portion of this project. If you want to keep things simple, buy a pre-made chain with a clasp already attached. You can also use a chain from a necklace you no longer use. Simply take off the old charm (using pliers if necessary) and add the new charm you’ve created using your jump ring. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can bead your own chain. This is a great way to add some color to your necklace and you can create unique color combinations this way.
Simply make the beaded chain as long as you like and then add a jump ring to attach the charm to it when you’re ready.
If you choose to make a beaded chain or you buy a chain without a clasp, you’ll also need to add a way to connect the two end pieces together. There are some really fun clasps out there, so go do some exploring and see what works best for your project. These clasps can all be attached with jump rings to the two ends of your chain. Make sure that everything is very secure and feel free to add a second jump ring for safety.
Step #5: Enjoy!
You’ve now transformed that plain keychain into a wearable piece of geeky art! Here’s some examples from my own personal collection using keychains that I have collected over the years. They include a wide variety of chain, clasp, and charm types and I hope they help provide a little bit of inspiration. Good luck and please share your own DIY ideas in the comments!
Cover Credit and all Image Credits: Dina Kampmeyer