4 DIY Necklaces to Make for Mother’s Day

Members from the 918Makers group share tutorials for making jewelry your mother will love!

One of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts to-date is a painted ball of clay on a pink string that Joss created at school. It is simple and beautiful and I am so proud when I wear it! So I thought it would be fun to ask members of the 918Makers group to submit their own DIY Mother’s Day Necklace ideas. Thank you so much to Holly Embry, Jason Eller, Sarah Bowen and Shauna Henry for these wonderful ideas!

If you make one (or more!) of these necklaces, please tag TulsaKids (@tulsakids on IG and @tulsakidsmagazine on FB) and the maker who created the tutorial if you share a photo to social media! We’d love to see your creations!

1. Hand-in-Hand Shrink Plastic Necklace by Holly Embry

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This sentimental project is the perfect way to capture a moment in your little one’s childhood. Trace your child’s handprint, as well as your own, onto shrink plastic. After baking, the charms will be 1/3 the size of the original handprints, but the proportions remain the same so you can always remember what it looked like to hold their little hand in yours. Shrink plastic can easily be ordered online, but you can also use #6 plastic, which happens to be commonly used for takeout containers. Just look for the recycling emblem containing the number 6, often found on hard plastic clamshells. If ordering shrink plastic online, the frosted variety is easiest to color. No matter what you use, these keepsake charms will surely become a treasured part of your jewelry box.

[Editor’s Note: Click here for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial]

Materials:

  • Shrink plastic or clear #6 plastic
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Permanent markers or colored pencils
  • Sandpaper, if using smooth plastic (optional)
  • Oven and oven mitts
  • Cardboard scraps for baking, or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Jump rings and jewelry pliers, or small keyrings
  • Chain or necklace for hanging

Step 1: Trace your child’s handprint and your own onto the shrink plastic. Use black or another dark color for the outline, and make sure it’s nice and bold.

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Step 2: Color in the shapes using colored pencils or permanent markets. Sharpies seem to work best. Keep in mind that the colors will darken a bit after baking. Some commercial shrink plastic is frosted to accept colors readily. For smooth shrink plastic or #6 plastic, sanding beforehand will make coloring easier but is not absolutely necessary. Cut out the handprint shapes (manicure scissors work nicely for the small spaces between the fingers), and punch a hole in the wrist portion of the handprints.

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Step 3: Preheat your oven. Lay shapes on a piece of cardboard or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake shrink plastic according to manufacturer’s instructions. If using #6 plastic, the general consensus is to bake at 350° for 2-4 minutes. Watch your charms closely as they bake. The shapes will curl up as they begin to shrink. Once they lay flat again and remain flat for 30 seconds, carefully remove them from the oven and press a piece of cardboard on top so they will remain flat as they cool.

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Step 4: Once charms are cool enough to handle, attach jewelry findings. You may choose to arrange the handprint charms side-by-side or on top of each other. If you don’t have jewelry pliers and jump rings, you can use small keyrings or even wire to attach charms to the necklace or chain of your choice.

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My son was so excited to see his handprint made into a wearable work of art. If you have wiggly babies or toddlers, one tip I have is to first trace their hand onto cardstock and use this as a template for future projects. It’s one more shape to cut out, but you can use it over and over again without having to get your child to hold still each time. Using this template, I made a whole set of charms modeled after my son’s handprint. These will be mailed to various women in our family for Mother’s Day. What a sweet way to “reach out” and say hello to the ones you love!

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About the Artist: 

Holly Embry is the storyteller and face painter at Wonderworks Tulsa. She has a background in elementary education and public library programming, which she uses to help make children’s events more magical. Her specialties include musical storytimes with her ukulele, custom face painting menus, and dressing up in fun costumes to match the theme of your event. 

Website: WonderworksTulsa.com
Facebook & Instagram: @wonderworkstulsa

2. “I Love You” Popsicle Stick Pendant Necklace by Jason Eller

Here is a fun project that parents can do with their children for Mother’s Day!  You can a cute pendant necklace for mom using popsicle sticks!  You can see me make this project in video form on my Instagram highlights at @JEllerCreations.
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Materials: 
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  • 2 Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors
  • string
  • sand paper
  • knife or saw
  • Elmer’s glue
  • drill or knife for drilling a hole
  • paint
  • paintbrush
Step 1: You’ll start by arranging your sticks so that they cross at one end and make a heart shape.
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Step 2: Draw a line across each stick on the bottom side of the heart shape.
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Step 3: Have a parent use a knife or saw to score a line that you just drew on the stick.
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Step 4: Now break the stick along the score line.
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Now you have two ends!
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You can clean up the ends with sand paper.
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Step 5: Add a dot of glue on one end and press the ends together in a heart shape.
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Allow the heart to dry. That’s your heart shaped pendant!
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Step 6: Ask a parent to drill a hole into the heart with a drill or knife. Sand the surface of the hole to remove and fuzzies.
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Step 7: Now pick your mom’s favorite color of paint and paint your heart.
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Step 8: Take 20 to 24 inches of string and thread one end through the hole of the heart. Tie the string ends together.
Now you have a necklace!!

About the Artist:

Jason Eller is a woodworker with more than 10 years of experience. Woodworking and art has been present in his life since early childhood. In 2015, he started J. Eller Creations making one of a kind decor and taking a wide variety of commission projects. He enjoys exploring different materials and techniques in his craft. Building a maker community, being a part of that community, and helping local makers is his passion. 

You can see his work on Facebook and Instagram at @JEllerCreations


3. DIY Mother’s Day Clay Necklace Tutorial by Sarah Bowen

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This tutorial is great for ages 5 and up, though they may need some help getting the beads onto the skewer.

[Editor’s Note: Click here for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial]

Materials: 

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  • Polymer (oven-bake), or air-dry clay.
  • A wooden or metal skewer
  • Some string
  • An oven

Here, you will see three different styles of beads you might make, but the possibilities are endless!!!

1. Swirly Bead

The first style is a swirly bead! Choose a 2-5 colors you’d like to combine and warm up small amounts of each (around pea-sized) by rolling them in your hand. Then roll each into a long snake, combine the snakes and twirl! Then roll your clay back into a ball.

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You can stop there, or repeat rolling it into a snake a twirling again to get even more swirly! But if you swirl too many times, know that you will mix a whole new color!

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When placing the bead on the skewer, do it slowly and twist the skewer back and forth! That will help keep your bead a ball instead of squishing it. Be careful not to poke yourself!

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2. Noodle Bead

Our next bead is what I like to call the “noodle” bead! It’s quite simple. Just roll out a snake (it can be one color or a swirly mix. Hold one end on your stick, and twist it around and around. Use another skewer or a tooth pick to add dots or other designs.

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3. Cube Bead

The last bead we’ll learn is a cube! Start with a ball and then pinch it with both hands (see if you can make your fingers look like mine in the picture) at the same time. Then you’ll rotate it and pinch again, continuing until you have a nice cube! Then carefully put it on the stick using the twisting method.

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You could add dots or any number of cool patterns to your beads, let me show you how to make an easy heart. Start with a tiny ball and squish it flat to the table. Use your pincher fingers to pinch a triangle, making the bottom of the heart. Then use your skewer to cut the two humps of the heart apart-use your fingers to soften the points, and there you have it!

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About the Artist: 

Sarah Bowen is a local artists and entrepreneur behind Tiny Things by Bowen and Tiny Things by YOU! She has been working with polymer clay for over 8 years, and offering public outreach and arts education for two! You can support Sarah during her “Covid19 Pivot” by checking out her online shop for DIY class kits for every age, or by grabbing your own Tiny Things by Bowen art on May 16th during her online “Home Sick Art Show”. 

4. Floral Clay Pendant Tutorial by Shauna Henry

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A fun, simple project to make for someone special.

[Editor’s Note: Click here for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial]

Materials: 

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Required

  • Air-Dry Clay or Homemade Salt Dough
  • PVA Glue
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scrap Fabric
  • Dried Flowers
  • Wire

Optional

  • Silicone Ice Cub Tray
  • Sandpaper

Step 1: Roll clay into a ball about the size of a small bouncy ball. Roll out into an oval shape or any shape you want with a flat back. If you are using an ice cube tray, press the clay into the tray. It should fill up about halfway. Get creative with shapes. If you have a fun shaped tray, use that! Gently flip the tray over and push out. Re-shape if needed.

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Step 2: Take your wire. It should be about 2 inches long. Fold it in half. Twist together to form a loop.

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No wire? No problem! Grab a paperclip, bread twist-tie or even a Christmas tree ornament hook. Get creative – even check the garbage for things that can be used!

Step 3: Take the wire loop and push gently into the top of the clay. Be careful, or it will crack!

If that happens, fill in with more clay.

Remove the wire and let the pendant dry. Air-dry clay can take a full 24 hours to completely dry. Be sure to turn the pendant over and let the other side dry, too.

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Note: You can speed up dry time for air-dry clay by putting it in a low-heat oven or toaster oven at around 200 degrees F for 30 minutes or so. Leave the door slightly cracked. Salt dough must be baked to cure.

I would still leave it overnight to make sure it’s completely dry all the way through.

If you have any cracking, you can lightly sand them out with sandpaper.

Step 4: Once the pendant is completely dry, it’s time to paint!

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You can use acrylics or watercolors. If you are using acrylics, water them down slightly before using.

I like to layer washes. To do that, take down one color and put down a light wash. Let dry. Repeat for next color. Two to three colors is all you need. Any more than that, and it can start to look muddy.

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Tip! Make an extra pendant or let some scrap clay dry to practice your painting techniques on!

Step 5: Once your paint is dry, it’s time to add some florals! If you don’t have dried flowers or leaves, go hunting in the park or the yard. Even you spice rack (just don’t use anything that says garlic or chili!).

You can also paint on your own design if you prefer.

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Take your PVA glue and water it down slightly. It should have a milk-like consistency. Use a paintbrush to lightly paint a coat where you want the flower to go. It doesn’t take much!

Step 6: Pick up your flowers, leaves, etc. with the paintbrush – this keeps your hands from getting icky.

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Once you have put them where you want them, brush another light coat of the glue over the top of the flowers. Make sure to cover them completely so they stay glued down. Let dry.

Step 7: Remember that wire? Find your wire loop and glue it into the hole you made with your PVA glue. You can also use superglue for this step. The loop should face the side of the pendant.

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You’ll want to add some kind of backing to the pendant. Take some scrap fabric – nothing too scratchy! – to make a backing.

Lay the pendant down and lightly draw around it for a template. Cut out the pattern. Put a light coat of PVA glue (not watered down for this step!) and attach the fabric.

Step 8: Add a chain or some ribbon, and your necklace is complete!

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I hope you had fun creating this, and I would love to see what you make!

About the Artist: 

Shauna Henry has always been fascinated by secret worlds and hidden things. Fueled by her love of fairy tales and dark whimsy, she creates fanciful figures and enchanted beings for the adult collector. Shauna started creating art dolls in 2010 and has been captivated by this unique art form ever since. 

Shauna is a member of the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild, Tulsa Association of Doll Artists and the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. 

Shauna’s work has been shown in galleries and published in Art Doll Quarterly and Cloth Paper Scissors Studios magazines. 

You can find her work at www.shaunahenryart.com and on social media @shaunahenryart


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