Thursday, May 31, 2012

Colored Pencil Necklace Tutorial

We may be done with school, but I just had to share the cute colored pencil necklace that I made for Jonah's Kindergarten teacher. 

How adorable is this? I LOVE it! I actually loved it so much that I made one for myself after giving one to the teacher. Then I made a bracelet to go with it.

I originally saw the tutorial for these necklaces at It is a good tutorial, but I could have used a little more explanation here and there. So I thought I would share what I learned in the process of making these necklaces, especially since I could only find the round colored pencils rather than the hexagonal ones.

First you need to measure how long your colored pencil "beads" will be. I used a sewing gauge for this because it had centimeter and millimeter markings and the moveable center of the gauge made it easy to measure multiple beads. As you can see, I cut my colored pencils to a length of 7mm.

To cut the pencils, you need a fine-toothed saw blade. You can use a junior hacksaw, or any kind of saw with a fine-toothed blade. Take your time when you cut the pencils because if you go too quickly or push too hard you may chip the coating on the pencil and it won't look nice!

Once you have cut your bead, you need to drill a hole in it. I used the smallest drill bit that my husband had. I learned the hard way that you need to figure out where the two halves of the pencil are glued together. You can see in this picture that the pencil is made of two halves, pressed together.

If you drill close to the line where the two halves of the pencil connect, you will break the pencil bead in half, like these:

So frustrating! Save yourself some time and be sure to drill in the right spot. I also found that it is easiest to drill the round pencil beads by holding them with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Be sure you hold the colored pencil by the unpainted ends. That way you don't scratch up your bead with the pliers!

Once you get the holes drilled, you are practically done! All that's left is to smooth the ends of the colored pencil beads with fine sandpaper (I used 220 grit sandpaper). Then all your little beads are smooth and pretty!

Then you just string them on your necklace or bracelet however you would like. I threaded mine onto a black rubber necklace that I had lying around. I like the contrast between the black necklace and the colored beads.

I went for the entire rainbow of colored pencils (minus black and brown), but I think this would also look nice with just two or three colors.

When I asked Jonah if his teacher liked the necklace, he told me that she put it on and wore it the rest of the day. Hopefully that means she liked it, right? What do you think?

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  1. Love it! Looks like lots of fun.

  2. I love, love, love this! Thanks so much for the tutorial-I am going to have to make one of these:) Pinning it now!

  3. What a great tutorial! Wishing I had some tools to do this.

  4. Oh my what a fabulous idea!!!!

  5. This is so neat! Thanks for sharing!

  6. This came out SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!! You are so clever!

  7. Wow, creative. I am sure any elementary teacher would love it. Nice tutorial, by the way.

  8. Hi there, this is gorgeous. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  9. I was thinking that a little clear nail polish over the pencil part would stop the necklace from ruining clothes.

  10. This necklace is awesome!! But I would add one more step. I would apply a coat of varnish to the pencil chunks before thread them. So the leads are not lost with use, and the necklace won't stain the clothes.