*This project is for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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,

Wood boring drill bit. (picture from HomeDepot.com)
  1. 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.)
  2. 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.

    Bore holes before painting. Make sure to have piece securely clamped, or you will get a stray cut (see left piece).
  3. 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)

    Burnished edges of wood jewelry
  4. After burning your piece, you can use a sealant to protect it (I didn’t here, but it still looks great without it).
  5. 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).
  6. 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.

    Close up view of necklace closures (2) that you can crimp to attach.

Lessons Learned:

  • 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!

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