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Making colorful necklaces with kids at the Mini Maker Faire

Part of Facet's series of articles on making jewelry with children
me smiling
maker faire sign

Part of the fun of jewelry making for me is the chance to pass on what I know to others. I'm an editor first and a jewelry maker second, so my jewelry isn't always the works of art that my colleagues at Bead&Button magazine create, but it's sure fun to work toward that goal!

I was invited to participate in a Maker Faire at my local Barnes & Noble in November, to do a demonstration of jewelry making techniques for kids. The message of the Maker Movement is to create, recycle, remake and invent, so I was thrilled to join in the fun. I had bought some plastic components at the Bead&Button Show in June that I was just waiting for a chance to use!

The components are actually called Plexy-Lalique and they're sold by Margola Import Co. They sell them in wholesale quantities (or by the gross to consumers) and they come in more than a dozen different styles of flowers and leaves. They are a frosted white color, translucent, and can be dyed in batches using Rit or other colorfast dyes, or colored individually with alcohol-based inks or Sharpies. For my project, we used Sharpies and also some paint pens that I bought at Michael's. I had two sizes of fall leaves, and two styles of flowers ready to color. 


My demonstration was set up so kids could drop in, color a few pieces, and then wire-wrap them or string them on some cord that I had pre-cut. We also made our own jump rings using 20-gauge copper wire, coiling it around a pen and snipping with a wire cutters (I did the cutting since I did not have enough eye protection to go around!). I brought a lot of pliers and a big spool of wire, and then let creativity take over. 

My new jewelry makers were mostly girls and while they enjoyed the coloring, they really took the basic wire wrapping with enthusiasm. I had one girl ask if she could take a few extra jump rings because she had a broken necklace at home that she thought she might now be able to repair with her dad's pliers. Dad was standing by and was just as interested, watching the motions of opening and closing a jump ring using two pair of pliers with rapt attention. I love the idea that some daddy-daughter bonding over wire and pliers might just be taking place over winter break this year. 


I was thrilled to be a part of the Maker Movement in my own small way, and pass on a taste of the wonderful world of jewelry making to some really interested children. If you get an opportunity to do the same, jump at the chance!

Check out our other stories on making jewelry with children for more ideas: Making Resin Pendants and Ornaments and Making Woodburned Pendants

FIND MORE: stringing , wire , artist beads

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