Interestingly, the inspiration for this festive, soft Fourth of July necklace came from south of the border — while I was on vacation in Oaxaca, Mexico, we happened upon a small gallery where I spotted an orange folded paper bracelet made by women in a local artist collective. The paper was so soft and fibrous, it reminded me of fabric. So when I set to re-imagining that bracelet stateside in my Generation T workshop (as a necklace of fabric and glue!), I was pleased that the results are even cozier — a wonderfully celebratory accessory fit for a summer barbecue! (I was intentionally playing it subtle with the shades-of-blue color palette, but a bold red, white, and blue color scheme would really pop.) And it’s comfy, too, when the sun goes down and it’s time to snuggle up and watch the fireworks.
-T-shirt scraps (sleeves work well!), including one long one to use as the fastener
-Rotary cutter and cutting mat
-Aleene’s Fabric Fusion glue
-Ribbon (optional, in place of the long piece of T-shirt scrap to fasten the necklace)
1. Cut 1 1/2″-wide strips from the T-shirt scraps.
2. Cut the strips into 2″ pieces to make rectangles that are 1 1/2″ x 2″. (I cut about 124 rectangles in two different colors to make an approximately 9″-long necklace segment.)
3. Lay one of the rectangles flat, wrong side up, and spread a thin line of glue slightly off-center and parallel to the short ends. Fold it in half so that the glue line retains the crease. Let the glue dry and repeat for the remaining rectangles.
4. Squeeze a thin line of glue close to the folded edge of one of the rectangles and press another folded rectangle over it.
5. Repeat step 4 as many times as needed, to attach more rectangles together and create the necklace piece. (Arrange different colors to create a pattern!) Reserve two folded rectangles to use in step 7.
6. Let the necklace piece dry, then touch up any gaps as desired.
7. Spread glue along the end of a long T-shirt strip or ribbon (shown here), and center and press it along one of the spare rectangles from step 5.
8. Then add more glue to the ribbon and press it against one end of the necklace piece, aligning the T-shirt rectangles (the ribbon end should be sandwiched in between T-shirt material). Repeat on the opposite end of the necklace piece. Let dry completely. Then snip the T-shirt strip or ribbon in the middle so you have two ends for tying.
9. Tie the ends in a bow at the back of your neck.
-Experiment by making smaller rectangles for a more delicate piece (you can make a necklace this way, or, I made an accompanying bracelet using 1″ x 1 1/2″ rectangles).
-Use chain in place of the fabric fastener. (I like the idea of an all-white necklace piece with a gold tone chain.)
-Try wearing it as a headpiece! (My sister’s boyfriend tied the necklace around his head as a joke, bonnet-style, but with the right messy up-do, it could be quite the statement piece.)
-Play with color: Make the red-white-blue version mentioned above, use the color scheme from your favorite sports team to wear to the next game, or craft a rainbow to brighten your day!
Tune in later this week to see the second necklace I made using the scraps left over from this one–super easy, super fast, and also no-sew (no-glue, even!).
[ Posted on June 26th, 2012 ]