In my last blog post I discussed my basic design process for working with a unique focal element, in this case, some fantastic vintage & antique keys that I came across at a flea market last summer. I also discussed the basics of choosing complimentary materials such as beads, and the “laying out,” or organization of the design. The following post will discuss the fabrication of those keys into a piece of unique, one of a kind piece of jewelry.
Below are two styles of necklaces made with keys:
Vertically Hung Key With Beaded Chain
Horizontally Hung Key Necklace
Materials List for both projects
WD-40 and paper towels to clean up your keys and remove rust
Coordinating wire: Brass or copper work well. For the necklaces shown, I used Beadalon ColourCraft Permanently Colored Copper Wire in Brown (20 gauge) and Zebra Wire Colored Copper Wire in Brown in 18, 22 and 26 gauge
Antique finish brass or copper chain (for horizontally hung necklace)
Antique finish brass or copper jump rings (for horizontally hung necklace)
Antique finish brass or copper clasps (toggle and or lobster-claw style)
A variety of gemstone and glass beads
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
*Aside from the keys, most items listed above are available through Fire Mountain Gems Jewelry Supply http://www.firemountaingems.com/
If you find that your keys are a little rusty, spray them with WD-40 and clean well with paper towels. Because the keys I used were a nice, rusty brown, I decided to use brown colored copper wire for my necklaces. I liked the keys hung both vertically and horizontally so I decided to make both styles. Below are the instructions for both.
Vertical Key Necklace:
beaded chain technique with toggle clasp
beaded chain technique with toggle clasp
*For these necklace you will need to know how to make a basic wrapped loop. This is a simple technique that is basic to jewelry making.If you do not know how to make a wrapped loop, directions can be found here: http://www.firemountaingems.com/beading_howtos/beading_projects.asp?docid=652t
Step 1. Cut a 2.5” piece of wire and connect one end to the hole in the top of the key with a basic wrapped loop. (For this style I used the 20 gauge wire)
Detail of wrapped wire loops attached to key
Step 3. Repeat your next section with another section of 2.5” wire, this time connecting one end of the wire to the previously finished beaded loop. Again, place a bead on the wire, and complete the unfinished wire end with another wrapped loop.
Step 4. Continue repeating this “wire, bead, loop” process until you have created one entire side of beaded chain in the length that you desire. (I made each side of my necklace approx. 10”, for a total finished necklace length of 21” including key and clasp.)
Step 5. Repeat steps one through four to create the other side of your beaded chain.
Step 6. Attaching the toggle clasp: When you have finished your beaded chain in the length that you desire, attach your clasp. Using the same wrapped loop technique, attach the “bar” part of the toggle clasp to one side of your beaded chain and the “loop” part of the toggle clasp to the other side of your beaded chain. That's it! You are finished!
Detail of toggle clasp attached with wire wrapped loops
Directions for Horizontal Key Necklace:
Step 1. Place key horizontally on table. Cut a 3” piece of wire and connect one end to the hole in the top of the key with a basic wrapped loop. (For this style I used the 20 gauge wire).
Step 2. Place a bead onto the other end of the wire and complete the end with another closed, wrapped loop.
Step 3. Cut another 3” piece of wire and with a wrapped loop, connect one end to other, opposite end of the key, wrapping the wire around the body of the key to the inside of the key’s teeth.
Step 4. Place a bead onto the other end of the wire and complete the end with another closed, wrapped loop.
Step 5. Continue this technique using 2.5” lengths of wire and beads, until you have the beaded look you want; I used two beads on one end of the key and four on the other end of the key. *Do NOT wrap the open end of the wire after your last bead.
Step 6. Cut two lengths of chain (I used two 10” lengths of chain) and now making a loop in the wire after your last bead, thread the chain onto the loop and wrap the end. Repeat with other side. Your lengths of chain are now attached to each side of your necklace.
Step 7. Attaching the clasp: At the end of each length of your chain you will attach your clasp. For this style necklace I used a lobster claw style clasp. Use a jump ring to attach the clasp to one side of your chain and complete the other side of your chain with another jump ring. You are finished!
Lobster-claw style clasp
A different color combination: Citrine and Honey Jade
Pink Rhodonite gemstone beads
If you have any questions, feel free to post them below!