Years ago I was really into bangles. Thin or chunky (I didn’t discriminate), I’d never leave the house without a selection of bracelets dangling from my wrists. Bohemian-style arm candy was my trademark look. However, as I went from dissertation-writing at university to keyboard-typing in various offices I learnt just how impractical bangles are in the workplace. Eventually I stopped wearing them altogether and since them I’ve become used to bare wrists (apart from my watch, the old faithful). I’m left with a selection of beautiful bangles that I still love but never wear.
Sad to see beautiful things not being put to good use, I came up with an idea to upcycle one of my bracelets into a necklace. The bracelet in question is made up of 10 rather chunky and colourful acrylic beads threaded around a thick piece of elastic. I thought they would look amazing if they were threaded onto some thick off-white cord and worn as a necklace. The following is a step-by-step tutorial on how I created a necklace from these unloved bracelet beads.
5 chunky beads of your choice (I reused some from an old bracelet)
A piece of rope or string long enough to use as a necklace (I used Bobbiny rope available here)
Needle for threading beads onto rope (I used a knitter’s needle as the eye was small enough to fit through the bead but big enough for the rope to thread through)
Round-nosed pliers (such as these)
Jump rings (such as these)
Cord ends (such as these, make sure they will be big enough for your piece of rope)
Necklace clasp (I used this toggle fastening)
Epoxy glue (I used this glue and it seems amazingly strong)
Cut a length of rope/string that is about 15cm longer than you would like your necklace to be. Thread the needle with the rope and pass through each bead.
All the beads should be on the rope now. Make sure they are assembled centrally on the piece of rope and tie a simple knot between each bead so they don’t move about on the rope.
Test the length of the necklace around your neck. If it is too long trim with scissors. Following the instructions on the epoxy glue, stick the cord ends to the ends of the rope. Leave to dry according to packet instructions (I left mine overnight just in case). After the necklace is dried you should be able to pick it up by the cord ends with ease.
Using the round-nosed plyers, attach the first jump ring to one of the cord ends and attach one side of your fastening (e.g. the toggle or round) to the jump ring. Close the jump ring with the pliers. Complete the same with the other side. Your new necklace is ready!
I love wearing my new necklace. It goes with so many items of clothing. I’m especially pleased that I managed to bring some of my loved, but not worn, jewellery back into circulation. I’ll surely be wearing these beads a lot more now!
Have you ever upcycled or repurposed anything? What do you think of my new necklace? Would you be tempted to upcycle any of your jewellery?