Thursday, March 7, 2013

A waxy, dead president head around your neck: A paper necklace DIY

Today's DIY necklace is a bit more, shall we say, Vegan friendly than normal. It's main element is paper. Yup, common paper that's being repurposed :) If you've been reading along for awhile you know that I quite enjoy making things from leather. (If you're a new friend, you can check some of those things out here and here and here). However, as much as I adore leather, I put that aside for the moment and am exploring a new material.
I've been pondering using paper in jewelry making for awhile. It's such an unexpected material to wear and it's SO abundant. Crazy masses of it everywhere. Anyone else feel that despite the world going "paperless" they are still hauling loads of the stuff to the recycling drop-offs? Glad I'm not the only one.
But I digress and we are moving on...

SUPPLIES: Paper (I used a pages from a tattered dictionary), old candle wax, double boiler, beads, beading wire or thread, beading needle, charm(s), jump rings, chain, pin, jewelry pliers, bead clamp, and a clasp

STEP 1 - Using a double boiler, melt a bit of old candle wax and quickly run the paper through it. Be quick about it! The wax will harden in a flash!  I thought it would be kinda snazzy to keep the paper flat so that the print could be visable but I also knew that this left it really flimsy. While gluing several sheets together is a totally viable options I chose to wax the paper. Why? Because I'd never done it before and it sounded like fun :D
I waxed much more than I ended up using in this necklace and I'm glad I did - I ended up cutting 3 or 4 different shapes before I landed on the final one.

STEP 2 - Trim the paper to the size you want your pendant. Using a pin, poke a small hole for the jump rings. These are the anchors for the chain and beads so place the rings wisely!
STEP 3 - Using your jewelry pliers, put those jump rings in place along with any charms you are using! My 'charm' is G-Washington. Mr. President himself. I don't know if you can tell, but he is actually paper as well and has been given a proper wax dip.
**** Remember that even though the paper is thicker because of the wax, it is still a bit delicate.

STEP 4 - beady time! This is where I recommend that you use bead clamps. I couldn't find mine but fortunately the beads were big enough to slide a jump ring through so it all worked out.

STEP 5 - Using a couple more jump rings, attach the chain to the first jump rings (don't forget to put the clasp in!). Trim the pendant down so it is exactly perfect.

While this necklace is NOT hard to make, it is a bit time intensive (meaning about an hour - which, really, isn't even that bad) simply because you have to melt wax and be slow and deliberate in your assemblage. Can't be shredding this work of art!

NOTE: Now that I have worn this for awhile I think I will be adding a bead or metal charm to the end of the pendant to act as a weight. Since it is primarily paper the necklace is very light and shifts around more than I like.


PS - Wear with care! Meaning: not around small children!


  1. Cool necklace darlin! The waxed paper is a nifty idea :) Now I'm thinking of other paper things I can wax...

  2. Neat technique. Great to see re-purposed paper turned into something so interesting. On a side note, I remember in grade school being told that one of the teachers was wearing a paper dress. Everyone went over to take a look. I was expecting something that looked like newspaper sewn together, but it was more like a coated-paper floral tablecloth sewn together.