Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Make a Necklace from Figurines

Before: Toys in the toy box
The toy box is a great source of material for jewelry making. Toys tend to be bright, colorful and attractive. Toy manufacturers' conduct extensive research and work hard to create a pleasing color palette and extraordinary detail for toys so kids and the adults around them will want to buy the toys.

Many toys are easily made into charms, beads or other jewelry components. Moreover, child safety laws for toys dictate that most toys are safe to wear against the body as jewelry.

After: Necklace by GeltDesigns.com
For this project we collected some animal figurines of similar size. When I first saw these figurines I thought I would paint them with electro-conductive paint and electroform the figurines so they had a copper coating. My daughter thought better. After discussing the design, we decided it would be a shame to cover up all the great color of the figurines. Thus, we converted the figurines into beads to use "as is" without first electroforming.

Toy figurines
16-gauge round brass wire

Gather your tools
Drill (flex shaft, Dremel or drill press)
#55 (1.3mm) drill bit
Bead board
Side cutters 
Wire looping pliers 
Flex shaft or Dremel and cup burr 
(or wire rounder

Select & arrange the toys
Step 1
Select the toy figurines you want to use and arrange the toys in the order you plan to string them using a bead board.

Step 2
Turn the toys into beads. Wash the toys and drill a hole through each toy.

Slide wire through bead.
Step 3
Create beaded links. Slide the wire through the first toy.

Make a loop.
File the end of the wire until smooth. Make a loop at the end of the wire.

Make second loop.
Make a second loop on the other side of the figurine. Cut the wire and file smooth using a needle file, cup burr or wire rounder.

Step 4
Repeat to create the additional beaded links.

Step 5
Create "S" links to insert between beaded links.

Assemble the links.
Step 6
Assemble the links.

Add clasp
Step 7
Select or make the clasp. Attach the clasp to the chain.

Related Tutorials
How to Use Electroplating Equipment
Make Your Own Hook & Eye Clasp
Make Your Own "S" Link

How to Select a Cup Burr
How to Measure Wire
Drill Bit Size Chart

Further Reading 
"Bead on a Wire: Making Handcrafted Wire and Beaded Jewelry by Sharilyn Miller"; Sharilyn Miller; 2009.
"Wire-Jewelry Workshop: Techniques For Working With Wire & Beads"; Susan Ray; 2008.
"Bead & Wire Art Jewelry: Techniques & Designs for all Skill Levels"; J. Marsha Michler; 2006.
"Making Designer Bead and Wire Jewelry: Techniques for Unique Designs and Handmade Findings"; Tammy Powley; 2005.
"Making Bead & Wire Jewelry: Simple Techniques, Stunning Designs";  Dawn Cusick; 2002.

Day 59.  Month 3. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent to date: 0
Found materials: toys
New Jewelry a Day.

1 comment:

  1. Wonders no never cease! This project has really stirred my imagination. Thank you for sharing your great ideas & techniques.