DIY Easy Necklace Jewelry Chain

Updated on July 29, 2016
Source

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.
  • 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.

Source

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.

Source

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.

Small gaps help you form the chain, big gaps are difficult to work with.
Small gaps help you form the chain, big gaps are difficult to work with. | Source

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.

Source
Hammered links
Hammered links | Source

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.

Chain with a simple hook closure.
Chain with a simple hook closure. | Source

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?

Necklace Ideas

Here are a few pictures to get you started thinking about ways to use your new, handmade chain!

Metalwork heart necklace
Metalwork heart necklace | Source
Anchor necklace.
Anchor necklace. | Source
Coin necklace with a different (but also hand made) chain.
Coin necklace with a different (but also hand made) chain. | Source

Do you make jewelry?

See results

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?

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Lorenzo 

        8 months ago

        I have a ton of figure 8's....i make them with scrap pieces of wire....I made a chain for a customer but I am going to my mentor's house later today to learn how to solder. I'd feel more comfortable soldering them.

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        4 years ago from Hawaii

        It sure can be done! I'm glad you think my steps are clear - thank you very much. It can be difficult to put things like this into written words.

      • grand old lady profile image

        Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

        4 years ago from Philippines

        Thank you for a wonderful course on making beginner's jewelry. The steps are easy to follow and give the reader confidence that, whether one is artistic or not, it can be done.

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

      • CraftytotheCore profile image

        CraftytotheCore 

        5 years ago

        This is beautiful! I have never learned how to make jewelry. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas.

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Thank you! I know a couple of other techniques, too, that I've thought about writing up at some point in time. Making chains is kind of how I got my start in non embroidery thread jewelry!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

        Claudia Mitchell 

        5 years ago

        Very very cool. My dad used to make a little jewelry, but never any chains. Love this and am definitely sharing.

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Baking? That is so cool! I would love to take baking classes. I have an Etsy shop and attend local markets. It's fun and I hope you have the chance to try it!

      • las81071 profile image

        las81071 

        5 years ago

        My daughter and I made a few necklaces and earrings with the kits and then she started her baking venture(he real classes start tonight) and we have not spent much time with the jewelry but we will get back into again soon I am sure as I love making something and seeing my youngest daughter light up and want to wear the earrings or necklaces. We thought about opening a booth at the flea market but we need more practice for sure. :)

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Las81071 - Kits are how I started! They're a great way to get going.

        Faythef - I'm sure you can do it! I hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping in.

        Helena - Once you get a rhythm going with the pliers did cutters it is super easy! I hope you love your finished chain.

      • Helena Ricketts profile image

        Helena Ricketts 

        5 years ago from Indiana

        I love this idea with the figure eight links. I'm going to have to give this a try to see how it turns out!

      • faythef profile image

        Faythe Payne 

        5 years ago from USA

        This is a great hub..very clear instructions..I think I may be able to do it....how fun...voting up and sharing

      • las81071 profile image

        las81071 

        5 years ago

        This is really neat. I bought a few kits so I am learning

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Thank you!! =) Folks like you being so supportive are why I love HP.

      • agapsikap profile image

        agapsikap 

        5 years ago from Philippines

        WOW! This is really wow, Natashalh! Voted up.

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Thanks so much! I really appreciate it =) thanks for voting!

      • rose-the planner profile image

        rose-the planner 

        5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

        Very creative and great instructions. You can really let your imagination run wild with this type of project. Thank you so much for sharing! (Voted up) -Rose

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        It is going well enough =)

        I actually started in metal jewelry by making chains. I enjoy it!

      • Kathryn Stratford profile image

        Kathryn 

        5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

        I have never, ever thought of making my own chain. But now that I have seen this, I may try it sometime! One thing I like about it is that I could make it the length I want, and easily pick out the type of metal. I will be coming back another time to read it more in depth. Wonderful article! Thanks for sharing this with us.

        Voted up and shared. I hope you're having a fantastic weekend!

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Thank you! I feel like what you do must take a whole lot of patience. I wouldn't know where to begin!

      • randomcreative profile image

        Rose Clearfield 

        5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Your wirework is beautiful! Personally I don't have the patience for it and am happy to buy chain for my designs, but I really admire people who do extensive wirework. Thanks for the great tutorial.

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Ceres - Thank you! Making things and getting photos of every step is time consuming, but I'm happy to know it is appreciated =)

        Livingsta - those are the best projects! I'm glad it brought back memories an thanks for stopping by.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 

        5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Natasha, this is pretty. Jewelry making can be interesting. I have tried before with the raw materials that I had in hand, just for fun. The materials weren't even the ones that I was supposed to be using. This took me back to those memories. Thank you for sharing this with us. Voted up and sharing and pinning!

      • Ceres Schwarz profile image

        Ceres Schwarz 

        5 years ago

        This is a very detailed hub on how to make a necklace chain. Your tutorial really made things seem so easy. Your many images of the entire process also helps to make things easier for readers so they can follow along in order to make the necklace chain.

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Thank you so much!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        5 years ago from USA

        This is so beautiful, and you've made it look simple with your photos and instructions. Very nice hub!

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        It is simple! There are other ways that are a little tricky, though. Maybe I'll write about them later =)

      • profile image

        Sarah 

        5 years ago

        This is a great tutorial - you make it look simple :)

        Thanks for linking up!

        Sarah

        http://acatlikecuriosity.blogspot.co.uk

      • Natashalh profile imageAUTHOR

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        That would be cool! You could reposition the loops a little and put one in the middle of each link, or put one on each loop. Thanks so much for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed!

      • talfonso profile image

        talfonso 

        5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

        Oh my gosh - this DIY jewelry chain tutorial is soooo easy. I do make wire jewelry because it's sturdier, and this is the bomb. If I want to, I'd add glass beads and crystal ones (big Swarovski junkie here) to enhance the design!

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