Skill Level: Beginner (If you know NOTHING about tools–Intermediate)
Tools Needed: Circular Pieces of wood 2″ diameter (1 per necklace, but have at least 1 extra for any mishaps), power drill, wood-boring drill bit 1″ diameter, wood burning tool, acrylic paint (here: the colors are metallic bronze and café latte – satin finish), small artist paintbrush or small sponge paintbrush, suede or leather jewelry cord your desired length (this is 1 yard), crimp clasp jewelry finding (closure) of your choice, needle-nose pliers, safety glasses and ear protection.
So this a project that came out of a couple of mistakes. (A lot of my projects are). I bought the circular pieces of plywood to fill an umbrella hole in a patio table I want to up-cycle (that project to come later). The pieces were too big because I didn’t measure–I just eyeballed it. (Lesson Learned: ALWAYS MEASURE!) I had also bought some acrylic metallic paint for glass painted project. (that to come later, too!) I should have bought acrylic ENAMEL instead. (Lesson Learned: Always read labels!) I wondered what to do with the pieces and the paint. And then, I thought about practicing my wood burning skills and make some creative maybe even tribal-looking jewelry. And thus, this project was born.
To make your own,
- First determine the center of your wood piece by measuring. Clamp your circle to a sturdy piece of wood, or saw table (because this will slide on you).
**Always use hearing and eye protection when using a power saw or drill.** Using your drill and wood boring bit, drill a 1″ hole in the center of your circle. Two of my 4 wood pieces broke while doing this; keep your torque low and your circle clamped tightly. (You can also use a hole saw drill bit, but it’s more expensive. However, it will be more secure.)
- Sand your piece and clean off any dust before painting–wipe with a damp lint-free cloth and let dry. To decorate your piece, you can do any combination of painting and burnishing. I burnish after painting. Here, I painted both sides of the piece, but not the inner or outer edges. Let the paint dry between coats, then let it fully dry before using the wood burning tool.
- To burnish the edges, I used a pointed tip (about 1/8″) and made random burn marks in the wood in the inner and outer edges. You can also use the edge of a chisel tip. This is pretty tedious, and you can get burned if you are not careful. (See Swag Bag Project #3)
- After burning your piece, you can use a sealant to protect it (I didn’t here, but it still looks great without it).
- Take your length of jewelry cord, thread it through your wood piece-making sure it’s situated in the middle of the cord. Knot the cord to secure the wood piece. I find when you knot the piece into place, it will better lay flat when wearing. One yard of jewelry cord makes about a 19″ necklace (measure from neck down body front).
- Because I don’t have any jewelry tools, I got the easiest necklace closure to work with: the crimp closure. I suggest you do this as well if you’re not going to invest in jewelry-making supplies. Make sure to have your leather cord when selecting your closure so you can size them. I bought a closure that was big enough to fit my cord but not so big that I would have to crush the closure to keep it attached. Fit your cord into the necklace closure and crimp sides together with needle-nosed pliers.
- Always measure before cutting/purchasing/crafting
- Always read labels!
- Boring a hole into a small circular piece of wood can be tough. If you want to try this at home, have extra wood pieces in case you break one.
- Wood-burning tools are HOT! Make sure you are protected.
- Even if you bought a couple of mistakes, if you think hard enough, you can find a way to make them work!