One Room Challenge: How to Make a Stunning Tribal Necklace
I’m so excited to share with you a cool and easy DIY tutorial on how to make a necklace. But this won’t be just any necklace. This necklace is the epitome of global bohemian chic. Today we’re learning how to make a stunning tribal necklace. Que le lecteur soit averti cependant (let the reader be warned though). I don’t always use conventional materials in my craft projects.
For instance, there was that time I used wedding garland to upgrade an old mirror. On another occasion I used simple bowls to create a knock-off Anthropologie planter. Then I used a thrifted t-shirt to make a new and improved lamp shade. And yet again I used a feather boa to add drama to a light fixture. These are just a few examples of the types of crafts that get me excited. This tribal necklace tutorial ranks right there with the rest.
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A Different Way to Make a Bohemian Tribal Shell Necklace
Do you recall the fish bone display necklace (below) from my inspiration post at the beginning of this challenge? Truth be told, I actually have several of issues with inspiration necklace:
While I like the look of this tribal necklace, I am NOT a fan of the teeth.
I'd like to be able to infuse more color into the overall design of the space.
The real South African chef-d'œuvre (work of art) featured in my inspiration board would set me back a cool $700.
After considering these undeniable facts, I knew I needed to come up with a clever imitation. I had a bag of rich plum colored strung feathers that had been in my craft stash for a while. Suddenly I remembered that I had set aside a bag of washed pistachio shells.
I had been saving the empty shells hoping to be able to create something textural and artsy with them. Then it dawned on me that THIS was the project I had been waiting for! Yes, you read that correctly - pistachio shells. And yes, I ate the nuts all by myself, over time. Keep reading to see what how I used them in a remarkable way to resemble an expensive tribal necklace.
Items You'll Need to Make Your Tribal Necklace
Recommendation: Read through this entire tutorial before starting your own project
Cardboard 12” x 12”
Hot glue gun
1 pack of strung feathers (The ones I used can be found here)
1 standard piece felt (optional)
A string or chain for your necklace
Hair beads like these. Salvaged pieces of broken/unused costume jewelry make great embellishments too.
Empty pistachio shells, washed and dried**
**Of course you can also buy shells. I've linked one option here, as well as below. Keep in mind however, that the heavier the shell, the more durable the glue will need to be. For heavier or larger shells, E6000 is the glue I recommend.
Step 1: Draw out the desired shape of your “necklace” onto the cardboard. When you are satisfied with the shape you’ve drawn, cut it out.
Step 2: (Optional) Using the cardboard cutout as a guide, cut the felt into a similar shape but about a 1/2 inch larger all around. The felt will be used on the back of your piece to give it a finished look. If the necklace will be placed in an area where it can be seen from all sides, you will not want to skip this step.
Step 3: DO A DRY RUN. It may be tempting to just start gluing the feathers in place without a clear plan – don’t. Hot glue on feathers is permanent. To avoid that nightmare, make sure you have enough of feathers to sufficiently cover your template by doing a dry fit. Notice how I traced out my glue path directly on the cardboard.
Once you are satisfied with the layout, begin gluing on the feathers. I was able to get two full rows of feathers on my template. NOTE: Make sure to leave enough space at the collar of the “necklace”.
At this point your piece should look like this:
Step 5: BEFORE adding the pistachio shells, trim the collar of the “necklace” with a border of beads. I used soft gold metal embellishments (often used for braids and dreadlocks). These can be applied by simply gluing them on top. They can also be opened to allow the cardboard to slide in between and then pinched onto the sides of the collar.
Step 6: (OPTIONAL) As you can see from the photos, I had some loose feathers already on hand that I had purchased a few years back. This is totally optional, but I chose to fill in the open space with those loose feathers.
Step 7: Fill in the remaining area with pistachio nut shells. Add the felt backing and chain to finish your piece. Et voila! You are done!
I had so much fun with this project that I made a second shell necklace using the same method. I also incorporated a few more pieces of left over jewelry.
I have no idea which one I like best. But I think I’ve found a way to use both of them in the finished space. For now though tell me please, which one is your favorite?
One Room Challenge Week 3 of 7 Update
Finally, I was able to find a console and mirror for the space. Yay me! Recall that plans for the other console were derailed when I realized that its depth ate up too much space on the small landing at the top of the stairs. The stairs, which we also stripped last week, have now been stained. And the new wood blinds for the peek-a-book hallway window were delivered. During next week I"ll be sure to give you a preview of those things. But for now here's where I stand on the checklist:
As a reminder more than 200 other bloggers are making over one room of our choice in 6 weeks or less. The event is sponsored by CallingItHome and media partner House Beautiful. Would you like to see which rooms some of the other participants are doing in this challenge? Click here to view their projects.
One more favor may I ask of you?
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