Make a Washer Necklace

by Christene

A DIY washer necklace tutorial using objects found around your home.

My daughter wanted a 'cool necklace' for her birthday a few years ago. After looking at hundreds of cheap necklaces at the mall I was uninspired. They were ok, but I ended up going home empty handed. The same day, while browsing Pinterest, I got bitten by the bug to make a one-of-a-kind washer necklace.

I saw a lot of different styles and had an idea of what I would do. I just needed to get cracking and find what I needed. There wasn't any time for shopping so I had to get creative.

Finding the Bits & Pieces

This was a spur of the moment project using pieces I found. It was after dinner time, the night before my daughter's birthday. First I went next door to look through my Father-in-law's basement. He has jars and jars of screws and whatnot, but I couldn't find one for washers. But I found one single washer in a junk box that would be perfect. Back at my house I asked my husband for some of his random hardware parts and found another single washer that was smaller. Just what I wanted. I also sorted through my daughter's beads looking for an accent piece, but they were all too small so I decided to use a nut.

Now what could I hang it on? I asked if anyone had a leather shoelace, nope. Looked at my daughter's craft string... too thin and I wouldn't have time to braid it. I was searching through drawers and cubbies, and finally in my grandmother's old sewing box. I found black elastic cording. Jackpot.

The only thing left was to pick out two colors of nail polish. My daughter has bottle after bottle of every color so I had plenty to choose from. She loves purple so that was a quick grab. And I thought the green looked nice with it. Both shades had a metallic kind of swirl to them. (She was out playing with her cousin so she didn't have any idea what I was doing.)


Since these were random pieces, and not bought recently, I really can't tell you the exact types I used. I tried measuring and looking at a million website charts but I don't want to guess wrong. I don't think it really matters anyway. So, just to give you an idea of scale, here are the basic sizes I used...

  • Small Washer: 7/8" across, with an 3/8" opening
  • Large Washer: 1 1/4" across, with a 9/16" opening
  • Hex Nut: 3/8" across, with a 1/8" opening
  • About 28" of black 1/16" round elastic cord
  • Wet n Wild fastdry nail color in Sage in the City
  • N.Y.C. long-wearing nail enamel in Purple Pizzazz Frost

I painted the bottom of the pieces once, and gave the top two coats each. Once they were dry I looped the cording through the two washers, slipped the nut down, and tied the cord at the top. You can see a closeup below, minus the nut.


Necklace Material

Dritz 9342B Round Cord Elastic, Black, 1/16-Inch

5 yards (180") of light stretch elastic cord.

View on Amazon

More Ideas

So, mine was a very simple example. If you have more time, and can go to a craft store to choose embellishments, you can do so much more than what I've shown you. I've seen some beautiful decoupaged washer pendants using scrap book paper and Mod Podge. Some have intricate wire wrapping, bead work, or charms. Others use multiple washers in a row. If you have the tools you can personalize the pendants by stamping in text. The necklace itself is up to you too. A few easy ideas are leather, ribbon, or a chain.

There are tons of washer necklaces on Pinterest. I started a board just to pin my favorites. You can see them here.

A How-To For Using Paper Instead of Nail Polish

Updated: 07/11/2015, Christene
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KajaMel on 07/13/2015

Wow! This is a great idea. I have a friend that is wanting ideas for making jewelry. He will love this. Thanks. :)

WriterArtist on 07/12/2015

Making a washer necklace looks so simple with the steps in the article. And it looks cool.............

candy47 on 07/12/2015

What a great idea, especially since I have an assortment of stray washers in my toolbox! Thanks. The video was helpful too.

Mira on 07/12/2015

It looks good but I would prefer a leather cord. But it's a great idea and I love the colors :)

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