Sunday, November 27, 2011

DIY Acrylic & Chainlink Necklaces

It's not often I walk into a craft store and don't find something I think I can use.  Even if I don't have an immediate use for it, if it strikes my fancy and fits into my budget, I usually pick it up.  I found clear acrylic chainlinks at Michael Levine in downtown LA a couple of months back and it was so cheap, at $1.50 a yard I decided to take a couple of yards home and figure out the end-use later.  While browsing through a J. Crew store recently, I was struck with an idea and created a couple of versions of fun and colorful chainlink necklaces.  Details below as promised...
What you'll need is craft spray paint in whichever colors you wish, chainlinks in silver and/or gold and the clear acrylic chainlinks (you want at least a foot of each chainlink per necklace to make them nice and long).  Basic jewelry tools such as a pair of needle-nose pliers and snipping pliers will also be needed, as well as a few jump rings.
Start by spray painting your acrylic chainlinks.  The chainlinks are admittedly a little ho-hum in their original clear form, but with a dose of spray paint, they resemble lucite, which is oh so pretty but can also be oh so pricey.  I used a bright pink, a royal blue and a neon orange just for fun.  For some reason though the orange did not come out right and ended up looking very dusty and dry as opposed to shiny and luminescent.
Once dry, clip your chain links into the desired lengths to give your necklace a sort of sectioned off look as seen in the royal blue and silver necklace.  I created 4 different sections; 2 blue and 2 silver to break it up a bit.
Attach the sections with your jump rings and squeeze the jump rings closed
And you're done with version #1.  The fun thing about the different sections is you can adjust the necklace as you wish so that one blue section primarily shows just at the bottom or so that both sections show.  Total cost of version #1 was about $3 including the silver chainlink which typically sells for $5.50/yd at Michael Levine.
For version #2, it's even simpler.  After I created version #1, I decided to do something a little different and attach a single long piece of 18" pink chainlink to an existing chunky gold necklace I already had.  Simply take 2 jump rings and attach them to each end of the pink chainlink, and then attach to the existing necklace and squeeze the jump rings closed.   
 And Voila!  Total cost for version #2 was less than $1!
I've searched for the J. Crew necklace that I was originally inspired by but it's no longer available online.  It most closely resembles version #1 and I saw it in stores about 3 weeks ago and was retailing for $39.  I found a similar version online though and can be found here.  While the J. Crew necklace uses faceted resin, meaning the links are cut to give them a bit more brilliance, the links I used are smooth but have an almost identical shape and look, just without the cost.  This is not to say though that I don't appreciate the look and feel of the more expensive product.  I value quality of construction and design and will pay more for a product that I truly think is special and I'll get a lot of use out of.  An accessory like this though is probably something I'd never pay full price for in a store.  In fact I probably wouldn't buy it at all.  It's not about me thinking I can make something just as good, it's more about the fun of being inspired and creating something with your own hands.  I've replicated the look, even if it isn't made of the finest materials, and saved myself $39, to which I'll use to buy another chambray shirt ;) 

That's what DIY means to me...
Linking up with Tatertots & Jello

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