Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CHALLENGE Response: Rock Jewelry for Kids (+ Another type of "rock!")

Continuing with our "Challenge," I have a couple more ideas to share on the theme of designing for young people.  This time, the jewelry I'm describing can easily be worn by both genders.   It's very inexpensive to make and is made with items you most likely have on hand.   It begins like this....

1) Find one rock.
2) Find some string or cord (black or tan are my usual favorites, but other colors would be great too)
3) Add a neutral accent bead (something wood, stone, or metal works well)
4) Finally, you'll need jewelry wire (copper, silver over copper, or color of choice.)

General Notes:   

  • If you are doing this with a child, selecting the rock(s) may be the most fun part for them.  It may depend on their age and interest level.  You may hunt for the rocks in your yard or a park, or (if you live no where near a rock), you can buy a small package of decorative rocks from a craft store.  These are typically used in clear glass jars.  
  • The wire wrapping is never quite as easy as it looks.  It may take more than one try to get it to stay unless you are already proficient at wrapping unevenly shaped  beads without drilled holes.   Once you finish, be sure to take pliers to mash the wire closely to the stone so no gaps or sharp edges protrude.
  • Each necklace will turn out a bit different.
  • Kids may become frustrated trying to wrap the wire and get it to stay.   This project is probably best done with adult participation, or an adult may want to make the necklace(s) as a gift to a young person.
  • Adults sometimes like wearing these necklaces too!

I admit, these are not the best ones I've ever made.   Those I gave away!   These are just a couple of quick examples to give you an idea of the options:

I made this one just moments ago. 
 This is the more simple side.  
The other side has more twisted wire.   
There is a black wooden bead at the top and a black cord.
  There is no fancy latch, just a knot.

The rock has been wrapped in the manner of a crystal.  To do this you start with 2 pieces of wire and twist in the middle, hold the wire against the rock, wrap the wire to the other side and twist again.  In the "Rules according to Sharyl" at least, there's no "wrong way" to go as long as the rock gets held in place and you end up with a way to attach the string to the pendant when finished.

I made this one last  year.   The wire work is looser.   
If a child were making a rock necklace 
on their own for the first time, 
it might look more like this!  My belief:   
As long as the stone doesn't fall out and drop on a foot
--and the young person is happy with the results
--it's a good necklace!

I tend to be pretty relaxed about gender and jewelry.  Anyone can wear what they want and feel good in.   But I think under more traditional standards, the two above would work for boys (and girls too), while the next one has a more feminine look to it.

A very similar necklace could be made starting 
with a stone similar to the ones above, 
then add pastel accent beads.  
Or in this case, I've used other beads completely.  
Like many of my pendants, this one has been put on ribbon, but I've made a necklace similar to this for a girl 
using a color cord.

A note on safety concerns:
  • It's probably not advisable to give a rock/bead necklace to a child under the age of 3 or to their siblings.   (In fact, I would be concerned about giving them any jewelry with beads that are a size that could be  swallowed.) 
  • The cords can also pose a choking hazard to some young ones.  As one gift recipient's mom mentioned to me, they would enjoy the necklace for special occasions, but not wear on the bus.  (Not until then did I recall the warnings about sweatshirt strings for kids riding buses.)  I don't think she was being overprotective here (especially knowing how lively this lovely child is.)   We all want kids to be safe, so we must use caution when designing for young children.

That said, I do hope you enjoy these few ideas about making jewelry for young people.  I hope to hear more from you on these and other topics in our special challenge!   


P.S.  I try not to wander too far from the topic of jewelry, but I saw a blog post Monday regarding lizards,..."Random Lizard Drive-By" on "Silver Parrot Fine Artisan Jewelry."  (I had a chuckle, and thought you might enjoy reading that, so I've linked the title.)

On Tuesday,... I put my head and hand around the corner of my front door, planning to reach into the mail box to see if my latest order of beads had arrived.  I found this on the top...

...and my first thought was, "How did that rock get on top of the mail box?"  Then I looked closer...

I still don't know how that thing got on top of the mail box or how it got down, but it did!   If there's a moral to the story, I guess it's this: When you reach for those jewelry-making stones, take a good, close look before you pick one up!  

Just a bit of friendly advice from Sharyl's Jewelry!  :-)

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