DIY Easy Necklace Jewelry Chain
DIY Necklace Chain
I hate attaching a painstakingly crafted, handmade pendant to a piece of flimsy-looking, store bought chain, but high quality jewelry chain can cost several dollars a square foot. The solution? Making your own simple, custom necklace chains! It is surprisingly easy and, if you use copper, as shown, inexpensive and attractive, too.
What wire should I use?
Choose a sturdy but easy to work with wire. Copper, brass, and silver (or silver plated) wire that is 18-20 gauge works best for this project. Alluminum wire is overly soft, larger wire get difficult to work with, and smaller wire won't hold its shape.
Materials Needed to Make your own Necklace Chain
You don't need much to begin making your own necklace chain:
- Wire cutters.
- Round nose pliers.
- Bench block (optional).
- Ball-peen hammer (optional).
How to Make the Necklace Chain
Part of what I love about this method is it doesn't waste wire because you do not cut the wire ahead of time - you only cut it once the link is formed. I describe the process and give pictures, but there is also a video further down the page showing the process to make it even easier.
To begin, grasp the end of the wire with your pliers. Rotate your wrist to form a loop and keep rotating until the loops end meets up with the main strand of wire, as shown below.
Next, bend the wire back the other direction, across the back of the pliers, to begin forming the figure 8. Move the pliers, if necessary, and keep rotating the wire until it creates an 8, as shown below.
Finally, use your wire cutters to snip the wire off to form an independent 8, free of the wire spool. Try to cut the wire as close to to middle portion of the 8 as possible so you don't have to bend the wire too much when forming your chain.
How Many Links do I Need?
Continue making links until you have 'enough.' I can't really give you an exact number of links needed - it depends on your wire, pliers, and desired outcome. Most necklaces I make take between 60 and 70 links. This may sound like a lot, but once you get a rhythem going, the process will fly by (especially if you're listening to a good book or have your favorite show on!).
Hammering the Links
Hammering the links to flatten them is optional, but I really like the added texture and hand-forged appearance. Simply set the links, one at a time, on your bench block and give them a couple of solid taps with a hammer. I prefer to use a ball-peen hammer, but you can use a 'normal' hammer, if you want.
Connecting the Links
Connecting the links is very easy. Simply hook them together, opening the loops a little bit, as needed, and then close the loops as firmly as possible.
Closing the Chain
You have several different options for finishing the chain. You can form a continuous loop, or you can use a fastener. It is easy to make your own fasteners. Either create a simple hook, like the one shown above, or create your own toggle clasp by following my easy tutorial. Of course, you can use a store-bought clasp, but why make your own chain and use a closure made in a factory?
Here are a few pictures to get you started thinking about ways to use your new, handmade chain!
Making Jewelry Is Fun
Making jewelry really is fun, and it doesn't have to be difficult. Even if you don't enjoy wearing jewelry, handmade pieces make fantastic gifts for friends and loved ones. Plus, it is easy to customize a necklace to make it the perfect length with the colors and style you want. If any steps in this process are confusing or unclear, please don't hesitate to leave a comment with your questions and I'll do my best to help out!
Do you enjoy making jewelry? Have you started making your own chains yet?
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