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DIY Chunky Necklaces

Make a customized gift or a  bold fashion statement

By Aldona Bird

 A chunky necklace can make a statement — and it can make a great gift. A chunky necklace made out of fabric can also be a great way to practice sewing skills and to customize your jewelry collection. The necklace can match your outfit.

 To make a chunky fabric necklace, you will need:

  • Fabric of your choice and complimentary colored thread
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Large and small needle
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread to sew by hand)

 Non-stretch woven fabric works best for this project. Patterned fabric works well, but a mix of solids can also look nice. Cotton fabric is easy to work with and results in a nice, matte finish necklace — however, other fabrics can also be suitable.

 Cut your fabric into long rectangles about one and a quarter inch wide. The length of your rectangles depends on the style of necklace you want.

 To make a stacked, multi strand necklace cut five strips with the first about 16 inches long, adding two inches to each strand after that (so you’ll cut strands at 16 inches, 18, 20, 22, and 24 — all by one and a quarter inch wide).

 To make a braided chunky necklace cut three each strip two feet long.

 To make a more intricate braid type necklace cut one stripe 13 feet long.

 For any style, fold the fabric in half lengthwise with the right side of the fabric facing in and sew to create a long tube (or tubes). Turn the tubes right side out.

 Cut lengths of the yarn (any type of medium weight yarn will work) the same lengths as your fabric tubes for your chosen design. Each tube will need eight to twelve strands of yarn.

 Using a very large needle pull all the strands of yarn through the fabric tube (do them all together rather than one or two at a time).

 The yarn should fill out the fabric tubes. Alternatively you can use rope or twine inside the fabric.

 To make a multi-strand necklace sew the ends of your filled fabric tubes together on each side. Cap them off by sewing two rectangles of fabric (two and three quarter inches by four inches each) in half on their two narrower sides.

 Fold right side out, and then wrap them around the ends of the necklace with the un-sewn side lined up with the ends of the necklace, and the sewn sides facing toward the center. Stitch across the ends, then fold the rectangles down over the sewn area.

 You can tuck in ribbons or unfilled fabric tubes and stitch them down to finish the necklace off with a tie back, or stitch the rectangles neatly and add jewelry fixtures.

 To make a simple braid, braid three filled tubes in a tight or loose fashion.

 To make a more complex chunky braid effect take one very long tube (as mentioned above). Mark six inches from one end. From there mark another 16 inches, at which point double the tube back on itself.

 Clip the folded side to a secure surface and starting at the other end loop the strand around both sides of itself in a figure-eight pattern. Repeat, alternating the figure-eight each time around.

 Continue to the end, then adjust the loops to be tighter or looser for the look you want.

 Finish off the ends as suggested above, or tie a knot on one end (sewing cut end into the knot to hide it) and loop on the other.

 Wear your chunky necklace or give it as a gift this holiday season.

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