ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Create A Keepsake Necklace For Mom

Updated on June 1, 2013

Creating a Necklace Using A Thumbprint Pendant

Creating your own jewelry really isn't all that hard. There are a few techniques to learn and once you've practiced those a bit, you can create almost anything. For this particular lens, I wanted to make a necklace using a pendant I received from my seven year old son last mother's day. It's a piece of modeling clay with his thumbprint in it. I can't take credit for the idea, though I wish I could because it's brilliant! He made it with his first grade class and I think it was one of the best gifts ever.

I'm going to show you how I created a necklace to show off my baby's thumbprint and I'll give you instructions to make one of your own too. All pictures are my own unless otherwise noted.

Make Your Own Thumb or Fingerprint Pendant - Save those tiny fingerprints forever

Thumbprint pendant
Thumbprint pendant

Seriously. This is one of the best gift ideas ever. My child's fingerprint forever cast in clay. Wearable. For a lifelong keepsake. What more could a mom ask? Whoever thought of that (I think it was the uber crafty and clever room mom assistant in his class but I'm not sure) is pure genius! So if there is a mom in your life you'd like to blow away, please, please try this for her.

What you'll need:

1. Clay (if you aren't overly familiar with types of clay, find a craft store like Michael's or Joann's Fabrics and ask for help. There are multiple types of clay, from self-hardening to professional. Check to be sure there are instructions on hardening the clay when you buy it).

2. An oven (to harden the clay in)

3. A kid with fingers and thumbs.

4. A ring (called a jumpring in the jewelry making world) to put through a hole you'll make at the top to attach to a necklace (or keychain or whatever you'd like).

Making A Clay Fingerprint (Or Thumbprint) Pendant - It's easier than you think!

  1. First, roll out the clay evenly.
  2. Then, use a cookie cutter or similar device to cut circles in the clay.
  3. Use a small stick or punch to punch a hole in the top of the circle.
  4. Press the child's finger or thumb gently into the clay, being sure to get a good print.
  5. Bake in the oven (unless you have self-hardening clay, then allow it to dry according to directions). The temperature will vary depending on the type of clay. For great instructions on different types of materials, go here.
  6. Gently open the jumpring (instructions will be in the section on making the necklace) and connect it to the pendant, then close it again.
  7. That's it! Easy Peasy.

Buy This Jewelry How-To Book

Bead Jewelry 101, 2nd Edition: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily through Step-by-Step Instruction
Bead Jewelry 101, 2nd Edition: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily through Step-by-Step Instruction

When I first started learning jewelry making, this was an incredibly helpful resource. Filled with beautiful designs for inspiration and good descriptions of how to do things like open and close jumprings, attach clasps to the end of your jewelry and much more. If you're just starting out, be sure to get this book.

 

Have You Ever Made Your Own Jewelry?

My Littlest and His Bracelets
My Littlest and His Bracelets

This is my little guy in the picture, sporting a bunch of bracelets I've made. He LOVES to be part of the jewelry making process! (This was during a jewerly photo shoot).

Have you ever made your own jewelry or would you like to?

See results

A Note About The Design Process

My stack of jewelry storage containers.  Yeah, it is that many.
My stack of jewelry storage containers. Yeah, it is that many.

For me, the most challenging (and also most fun) part of the process is the design stage. This is where I decide what I am going to make, what it's going to look like, which beads or other components I'm going to use. Maybe it's because I like possibilities and once I decide on something, I've closed the door on countless options (though not really, because I could keep making all the other designs, I'm only limited by the materials I have on hand and well, time. That's always a big factor!).

I am not an expert when it comes to design. I don't think it's even a strength of mine. But it is fun and the most creative part of the process and I love that. There's something about taking random parts and turning it into a piece of wearable art that is addictive (kind of like squidoo!). I will caution you, if you have no materials to begin, have an idea of what you want to make BEFORE shopping in a craft store. When you set foot into a jewelry aisle, you can, quite rapidly, get lost in the millions of projects all calling you to make them. Really, they call out to you. Beads screaming your name...

So, first things first, choose what you want to create (look at books, get ideas, have a sense of what you want), then go shopping. The store that has most of my money when it comes to jewelry making components is Firemountain Gems. See, when I started making jewerly, it was going to be a business rather than a hobby so I bought lots of different things (you also get a much better discount when you buy more items at Firemountain Gems so I of course had to buy enough to qualify for the discount!).

You can see by my picture my little beads multiplied rapidly into several storage containers. In hindsight, I'd say start small until you know what you like working with. There is such a thing as too many choices. (And my "business" is now a hobby and a great way for me to make more jewelry than I can possibly wear. In my lifetime.)

How to Make This Thumbprint Pendant Necklace - Once you decide on the design, the actual making of it is easy!

Materials:

6 strands of Hemp Cord (my necklace used approx 19 inches of cord though I always start with at least 3 or 4 inches more than I want)

Two end cap closures

1 Thumbprint pendant

Two antique look silver plated beads

1 silver plate clasp

5 silver plate jumprings

Equipment:

Pliers

Tweezers (if needed to get the cord into the end caps)

Scissors (only for cutting the cords)

  1. First, cut 6 strands of hemp cord 4 inches longer than your desired necklace length (test by holding the cord around your neck and seeing where you want it to fall. I'd show you pictures of me doing this for this necklace but they aren't good. At all. So I'll spare you and assume that you can figure this out). It's ALWAYS better to make the cord longer than you think you'll need. Much easier to trim off excess than try to weave it back together.
  2. Gather the cord together and string the first silver bead through. It can be a eensy bit tricky to string all of them if your cords are thicker or almost as thick as the hole through the bead. So make sure the hole in the bead is large enough. Mine happened to fit quite well, making it so I can reposition the silver beads anywhere I want along the necklace any time and they won't slide.
  3. I'm going to assume you already have at least 1 jumpring on your pendant (because you did that when you made the pendant, remember?). Slide the pendant onto the necklace. Here's a tip for you. If you think you might want to use it on other necklaces (giving you more options for wearing), you can add 1 or 2 more jumprings (connect them to each other) and have it dangle from the last one. I did this because I do want to be able to change it out easily (without taking off the main jumpring that's on the strand). This is up to you!
  4. String the 2nd silver bead onto the strand of cords.
  5. Now comes the trickiest part (aside from creating the design in the first place!). You want to place the cords, all 6 of them, into the open end cap. The end cap is simply a piece with a loop that closes around your strands and holds them together and allows you to attach a clasp to the end of it. It's the piece that connects the strands to the clasp. Lay the strands in the end cap making sure to keep them as even as possible. Then squeeze the two sides of the end cap together so it closes and secures the strands. You can add glue to the strands if you choose. I didn't for my necklace. Double check the length of your necklace before repeating on the second side. If it's too long, cut off the excess and continue with the second end cap. The second side is usually trickier because you're trying to make sure the strands are all equal length and tautness. Have patience and you'll get it!

    For a great visual of this step and different types of end caps or crimp ends, you can check out this site.

  6. Next up is to add a clasp. You'll want to add a jumpring as a connector from clasp to end cap. (some jewelry won't require jumprings but I often suggest it anyway because it gives you the option of changing out the clasp down the road if you want to). Open the jumpring and slide on the end cap loop and the clasp loop. Close the jumpring. Do this on both sides.
  7. That's it! You're done! See, told you it was easy! Depending on how tricky it gets for you to put the strands in the end cap, this can take just a few minutes really. It's the fastest part, especially with this necklace since there are few strands.

Pictures Of The Jewelry Making Process

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The raw materials, before creating!Closed jumpring before opening it.This shot was taken after stringing on the first bead and the pendant.My strands in the open end cap.After I squeezed the end cap shut.My jumprings and claspOpening the jumpring in a twisting motion, side to side, rather than opening by pulling apart.  See the video module for a great video of how to do this.The clasp next to the finished end capsA great idea, to etch your child's name and date on the back of the pendant.
The raw materials, before creating!
The raw materials, before creating!
Closed jumpring before opening it.
Closed jumpring before opening it.
This shot was taken after stringing on the first bead and the pendant.
This shot was taken after stringing on the first bead and the pendant.
My strands in the open end cap.
My strands in the open end cap.
After I squeezed the end cap shut.
After I squeezed the end cap shut.
My jumprings and clasp
My jumprings and clasp
Opening the jumpring in a twisting motion, side to side, rather than opening by pulling apart.  See the video module for a great video of how to do this.
Opening the jumpring in a twisting motion, side to side, rather than opening by pulling apart. See the video module for a great video of how to do this.
The clasp next to the finished end caps
The clasp next to the finished end caps
A great idea, to etch your child's name and date on the back of the pendant.
A great idea, to etch your child's name and date on the back of the pendant.

Buy Jewelry Materials From Amazon

Hemp Cord 10# 168 Feet/Pkg-Earthy
Hemp Cord 10# 168 Feet/Pkg-Earthy

This is the exact cord I used for my necklace. Hemp is quite strong and durable.

 
Sterling Silver End Cap - 3mm (2-Pcs)
Sterling Silver End Cap - 3mm (2-Pcs)

This isn't the end cap I used, but I do have similar ones and they are beautiful. I love sterling silver.

 
Silver plated jumprings (6mm, approx. 22 gauge, pack of 100 pcs)
Silver plated jumprings (6mm, approx. 22 gauge, pack of 100 pcs)

Jumprings come in different sizes and thicknesses. I use several sizes but 6mm is a good size. Getting a bulk package is a good move. You'll use these for a lot of different projects.

 
DIY Jewelry Making: 24 pcs Tibetan Silver Beads, Column, Antique Silver, about 5mm wide, 7.3mm long, hole: about 2.2mm
DIY Jewelry Making: 24 pcs Tibetan Silver Beads, Column, Antique Silver, about 5mm wide, 7.3mm long, hole: about 2.2mm

This isn't the exact silver bead I used, but it's very similar. I love these type beads for creating interesting looks.

 
Sculpey III Oven Bake Clay Sampler 1oz, 30/pkg
Sculpey III Oven Bake Clay Sampler 1oz, 30/pkg

This is a great choice if you'd like to make multiple colors and multiple projects. This is an oven bake clay and is great for kids to work with too. You'll have lots of choice here!

 

A Great Tutorial On Opening And Closing Jump Rings Properly - There is a right way to do it.

The Finished Product!

The Finished Product!
The Finished Product!

Me, Modeling My New Creation

Me, Modeling My New Creation
Me, Modeling My New Creation

Other Design Options

A heart, made with both my kids' fingerprints (love this!) made into a necklace for Grandma
A heart, made with both my kids' fingerprints (love this!) made into a necklace for Grandma

The options for making a necklace like this are endless really. You could use a different color clay, paint the clay (even metallic colors), use different color hemp cords, use ribbons or chain instead of the hemp cord. You could even use metal clay to create a silver or other metal fingerprint pendant. You could use beads on a wire strand (I'm considering doing this too). Or maybe create some wire wrapped dangles to hang down alongside of your pendant.

I wanted a more natural organic look to match the color of the pendant and I'm happy with what I created. I will, however, be thinking and working on some other designs that I can use also (remember I created my necklace so I could easily remove the pendant?). It's always great to have versatility!

For mother's day this year, I created a new version of this for my mother. I made the clay form using both of my kids fingers which formed a heart. We then glazed it (it was already a gold color clay) and strung it with ribbon. It turned out fantastic and she loved it! I'm in the process of painting another for myself. Let me know if you like it!

Would you like a thumbprint keepsake necklace for yourself? - You can make one, I know you can.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • suzyjahi profile image

      suzyjahi 3 years ago

      Great lens you have here! Here is my lens

      http://www.squidoo.com/beautiful-expression-earrin...

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      I love this idea - it's the perfect (very personal, one-of-a-kind) homemade gift for grandma!

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @Rhonda Lytle: yep! I'm about to start working on another one to do for grandma (maybe a little different style but same concept). And another for me with my youngest's prints!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I can see mothers really loving this. It's so personal. This would be a great crafts project for a class or church group to give to Mom for Mothers Day.

    • treehousebrando1 profile image

      treehousebrando1 4 years ago

      This is a really unique gift idea. I made something like this for my mother when I was in kindergarten. It was a over mitt type of craft with a painted hand-print of mine. She stills has it to this day.

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @SteveKaye: Lol! Thanks for your comment. Funny...I have had some suggest that my avatar (the goofy one) is more memorable and perhaps I would stand out more to people with this one. I agree there are better shots of me. I'm thinking about which I'd like to use...to keep the memorable one or use another one... I appreciate your comment! Oh, and the necklace really is pretty easy. The trickiest part was getting the cords into the end cap!

    • JohnZh LM profile image

      Johnathan K 4 years ago

      great tips!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      Neat idea!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      You sure make this look easy.

      I have a friendly comment: You look much better in the photo that you used in this lens than in your avatar. Perhaps you might consider replacing your avatar.

    • ptruc profile image

      Adam Turner 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing

    • annayjo profile image

      annayjo 4 years ago

      Aww, so sentimental, I love it!

    • Elis173 profile image

      Elis173 4 years ago

      Great idea!

    • chocochipchip profile image

      chocochipchip 4 years ago

      So cute!

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @lewisgirl: sounds so great! send a picture if you can!

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 4 years ago

      I would wear a bracelet made with fingerprints from my eight grandchildren. I will get my kids to do this right away.

    • AG 1984 profile image

      AG 1984 4 years ago

      AWWW.. I like the Necklace very creative and fun Idea.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from London UK

      A great mother's day idea. Love it

    • PiccadillyPunkin profile image

      PiccadillyPunkin 4 years ago

      What a neat idea! Awesome tutorial...this looks really easy to follow along and do one.

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @tricomanagement: I know! I love that he brought it to me too...and it's given me more ideas. Thanks!

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      Makes a terrific keepsake and also a wonderful idea for Mothers' Day if you are a teacher.

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 4 years ago

      Very cool idea. Great lens!

    • profile image

      topbuilderlist 4 years ago

      good sharing of your skills here.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      I love the personal experience that you include with this lens. This is an outstanding example of the types of lenses Squidoo wants to see, and I congratulate you on your excellence (and purple star, too!). Nicely done!

    • tricomanagement profile image

      tricomanagement 4 years ago

      what a fun idea! Love the fact that your baby brought it to you!

    • profile image

      RetireAt57 4 years ago

      This is a neat idea.

    • hovirag profile image

      hovirag 4 years ago

      wow, I love how you explain everything and the end products are beautiful!

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @ohcaroline: thanks! I haven't done polymer clay yet. Though I'm now thinking about making a fingerprint pendant with metal clay, though I haven't the foggiest notion how to do that! :)

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @BarbaraCasey: I didn't know she did! I'll have to check that out! Do you have a link?

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Probably not for myself, but I think it might be fun to make them for the mother's of my grandchildren.

    • Paladins profile image

      Paladins 4 years ago

      What a clever idea. Fingerprints are cool because they represent something unique and specific to each person and your thumbprint pendant is awesome. Thanks for sharing!

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 4 years ago

      Thank you for giving me great ideas

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Looks like a fun project. I am so busy with squidoo I don't think I would have time to make one just now.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

      I'm glad Bonnie featured your lens... great instructions and pics for us beginners.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 4 years ago

      Excellent tutorial on this project. I really enjoyed it. I have recently gotten interested in making jewelry with polymer clay.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 4 years ago

      Nice idea and fun for kids!

    • renagirl profile image

      renagirl 4 years ago

      This is a wonderful Idea .My grandson would love to do this project

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      good post, thankx for the information

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      What an absolutely wonderful project! Thank you so much!

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @tfsherman lm: that sounds like great fun! what would you use for the dinosaur footprint? That gave me another idea... different, but also plant/leave prints would be nice too...

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 4 years ago

      Thinking about making some dinosaur footprint keepsake necklaces with my summer library program kids!

    • profile image

      belinhafernandes 4 years ago

      What a great idea and a great lens! This is a project I can do with my nephew! I think we will have to make two of it - one for mom and one for me!!Thanks for sharing!

    • hotsquid profile image

      hotsquid 4 years ago

      What a sweet gift idea for mom.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing yours with us.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      Oh, I love this idea (I wonder if I get could get my toddler to stand still long enough to fingerprint him?). It suits you so much!

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @ItayaLightbourne: Great question! I actually didn't make the pendant, the room mom at school did. But, she let me know that she sealed the back, where my son's name and date is. She also used metallic paint on some and on those she did use a sealer. And I found out, she used scuplty self hardening clay so there was no baking required. She used a clear glaze seal (and she couldn't remember the name) that was in the same aisle as the clay (she went to Michael's craft store here in FL, not sure if you have one of those, but it would probably be similar in another store). It was in a small glass bottle with a screw cap. That's the best I can do for you. I bet they'd know just what to use at the craft store. Glad you liked my lens!

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      What a sweet idea.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I love what you said about going down the beading aisle and how the beads call your name! It's so true. LOL Love this keepsake pendant idea. I'm wondering, did you seal the pendant with anything as it would help protect it from handling? If so, what type sealant did you use? Thank you for sharing your lovely gift with us all. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Lovely piece of work.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 4 years ago

      Very useful and helpful resource, thanks for the ideas and for sharing this lens. Congratulations on getting the Purple Star for this wonderful lens!

    • profile image

      Torrs13 4 years ago

      What a unique gift idea!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      What a precious idea - and I too love the simplicity of crafting a finger print necklace pendant

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      very very like this one and i want to make fingerprint necklace for the whole family. Thanks a lot for your very very creative lens

    • Stuwaha profile image

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      What a great jewelry making idea, exceptional in its simplicity. :)

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @artbyrodriguez: Thanks! I was pleasantly surprised! I've been wearing the necklace today and love it. Now I need to make one with my little one's finger/thumbprint (which will involve getting the clay etc.). :)

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Wonderful idea and very well done lens. Congrats on your Purple Star!

    • Rosanna Grace profile image

      Rosanna Grace 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea! :)

    • profile image

      hmommers 4 years ago

      Thanks! You gave me a great idea for when my grandson is born :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This would be a lot of fun to do with my kids. Thanks!

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @Brandi Bush: you'd have a whole hand on your necklace. :) Smaller clay circles, or One larger pendent with 5 prints, like rays on the sun. If they'd fit.

    • Laurabpeterson profile image
      Author

      Laurabpeterson 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: YES YES!! Grandma's too! I'll have to change that to include Grandmothers. Thanks Susan!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love this idea! What a great gift idea for a grandma, too. Love the pictures - very helpful!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 4 years ago from Maryland

      What a wonderful idea for moms for Mother's Day! Now I need to figure out a way to design one for 5 fingerprints. :)