This idea for a DIY T-shirt necklace came about because I was planning to use the body of a t-shirt for another project and then became inspired to use all the leftover bits as well.
I have completed the other project, in fact two, but wanted to show you this one first.
Because my shopping ban included accessories and I really wanted something a bit different that worked with tribal and gypsy and was a bit of a statement, I decided I would have to create it myself.
An old t-shirt (short or long sleeves)
A Pair of sharp scissors
An assortment of beads
I started with this old long-sleeved t-shirt that I didn’t wear because the colour just wasn’t quite right. You could use a short-sleeved one but I saved the body and the sleeves for other projects.
I simply cut from armpit to armpit, then cut off the sleeves between the shoulder seam and the neckline.
Save the other pieces. If you don’t come up with your own projects, I will be sharing a couple in the future.
Next, using a small pair of sharp scissors, I cut as close to the collar as possible. Leaving a section approximately 15 cm (6 inches) wide. You can leave more fabric or make it thinner depending on how wide you want your beading to be. You can also leave the front “bib” longer if you want your necklace to be longer. Just remember that the weight of the beads will pull/stretch the fabric.
I wanted my finished piece to have a slightly rounded shape, so I folded the “bib” in half and trimmed the outside corner to a gentle curve.
Then I cut the “bib” into thin strips. The width will be determined by the inner hole size on your beads. You will need an uneven number of strips so you can have a centre strip and then equal numbers on either side.
As I wanted something a bit tribal I used earthy/neutral coloured clay beads. Depending on the look you are going for you may want to tie small knots in between the beads as I did. This keeps the beads from sliding as well as adds a bit of texture to the necklace. As you can see I started in the middle and then simply duplicated whatever I did on the left onto the right.
As I worked out to the sides, I used fewer and smaller beads and alternated a beaded strip with one that was just noted. I found that pulling and stretching the strips actually added a bit of rough textural interest to the strips and made it look more tribal.
Because the beads I used were so heavy the collar of the t-shirt was stretched and hung fairly low. For most of what I wear that will be fine but for some shirts it would be too long, so I decided to cut the collar at the back so that I can tie it at different lengths depending on what I am wearing. You don’t have to do this if you are happy with the length of your finished necklace.
Considering the t-shirt was an old one that I didn’t wear and that I spent less than $10 on beads, I think the finished product is pretty good. I’m thinking about doing another that isn’t so wide but with bits of shell and pearls for a more dressy look. I’ll let you know how it goes.
So what do you think of my $10 Tribal statement necklace? Would you were it? With what?
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