How-to: Upcycled Toy Charm Necklaces–They’re Toys You Can Wear!

Use VERY strong glue to attach a clasp to the toy.
Use VERY strong glue to attach a clasp to the toy.

1. Find the toys. Have the kiddos choose toys that are on the small side–they’ll be hanging around their necks, after all! I’ve had the best luck when I’ve asked my kids to pick toys that they love but don’t play with a lot. For instance, my older kid REALLY loves that frog that you see above, but a frog is kind of a hard critter to incorporate into the the types of imaginary games that she plays, so it’s perfect for a charm.

2. Glue on a clasp. You can use stash jewelry findings, or parts from a broken piece of jewelry. Instead of a bail, which is what you would usually choose for a pendant, use a clasp that you can open without having to unthread it from your necklace or bracelet.

Although it seems non-intuitive, don’t use jewelry glue for this project. We tried that at first, but kids aren’t gentle, and they would torque the clasp right off of the toy while they fiddled with it. Instead, use a very strong glue, such as E6000, and let it cure well before giving it to the kids.

I drilled a little hole for the clasp in this dino, since it doesn't have any flat parts.
I drilled a little hole for the clasp in this dino, since it doesn’t have any flat parts.

For certain toys without a good flat space to glue a clasp, like this dinosaur, you may prefer to put a little hole in the top of it with a Dremel or x-acto knife, then insert the clasp and glue it.

3. Modify a necklace. If you don’t already have a necklace to use, you can take apart a chain and put the links back together to make a necklace for a child. Use two pliers to open a link, and use the pliers again to close the link when you have the correct length of chain.

Modify a necklace for a child by opening a link to shorten it, then closing the link around the new length.
Modify a necklace for a child by opening a link to shorten it, then closing the link around the new length.

Instead of using another clasp, I like to make necklaces that the kids can slip over their heads. Clasps that they can’t see are frustrating, and they enjoy wearing their necklaces more when they’re easy to put on and take off.

You can use this same method to make charms out of a variety of objects, not just toys–Scrabble pieces, fossils, broken jewelry, ceramic unicorns, vintage buttons, interesting hardware, cool keys, mosaic tiles…

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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