Running out of time or money?
Perhaps you just really can’t be assed braving the shops? Whatever the reason for your Christmas present tardiness this is the easy DIY tutorial that might simultaneously save your hide and impress the recipient with your cleverness. The boho beauty you see above is nothing more than my old gym shirt (that wore thin from all my muscles *bahahaha*) ripped into strips, braided and made to look fancy with some tassels. So if you can’t pull yourself away from Netflix long enough to hit the stores then get a little crafty in front of the TV right now. Please excuse the very poor quality photos of the steps below… I decided to do this DIY while we were having a power outage (had to pass the time somehow) and there were limited light/camera options.
You will need.
- Some kind of old fabric you like the colour of. This could be a worn our t-shirt, leggings, a bed sheet, your old underpants (to be gifted to those you know well or like very little) etc.
- String or thread to make tassels. You could rip or cut fabric to really thin strips for this if you wanted to but it will make a thicker and more rough tassel and create a different aesthetic.
- Needle and additional thread.
Rip your fabric into thin strips (check out the image above). Enjoy every moment of this because the ripping noise and action can be pretty satisfying at this time of year! Consider it a Christmas recycling miracle to have this little bit of ‘rip it to shreds’ DIY therapy session. The goal is to have enough fabric strips to braid yourself a necklace. I ripped myself up a total of around 380 cm worth of fabric strips of varying lengths, each strip was around .5 of a cm wide. Why so much? Glad you asked. It’s because we are plating them together which means you need three strips to work with and that you will lose some of the total length as you braid them together.
Step 1. Making the Braid
Step one is all about braiding your strips together using a basic braiding technique to make a 100cm long braid (you will need less or more if you want a shorter or longer necklace). If you are recycling a bed sheet you might be able to braid a 100cm long braid without having to work in any new strips. It’s as simple as tying three strands together at the top with a knot and braiding them together.
If you ripped up a smaller item of clothing like I did and ended up with strips shorter than 100+ cm then you will have to work new strips in to keep your braiding going. You don’t need to tie or knot these new strips in. Just simply twist a new strand around the end of one of the strips you are braiding with and keep on braiding (check out the photo above to see how to twist the new strand in). The braid will hold them in place and no knots or tie off points means there won’t be big lumps or loose ends. When you get to the end of your 100 cm braid tie a knot to secure the end and prevent your braid from unravelling.
Step 2. Tassel Time!
The pretty part of this braided necklace is the tassels. These look complicated but are actually super easy to make. I had a heap of polyester thread that was originally my grandmothers that needed to be used for something so I took a fork and wrapped the thread around it. Why a fork? Because it’s easy to hold, enables you to make all the tassels the same size, and you can slide the loop of thread off and over your braid super easy. Once I had a nice fat loop of thread on my fork (the more you wind on the fluffier your tassel will be) I simply slid it off the fork and fed my braid through the middle of it (check above for a visual). Position the loop of thread (that will soon be a tassel) carefully at the location you want it on your necklace braid. You will make it into a tassel by wrapping a thread around it as per the photos above.
The only real ‘trick’ of this process is looping the thread you are wrapping around the loop to create the tassel over your braid once or twice then continuing to wrap as per normal. This is step exists because without it your tassel could easily come undone! I’ve done a diagram above to explain the process (under the braid, over the braid, behind the tassel, wrap it around and around and knot to secure). After this step all you have to do is slide the scissors into the loop at the bottom to free your tassels frilly bits (check out ‘chop ends free’ above for a pic)! Simple! Work your way around the necklace adding tassels (mine has 19 of them spaced around 5 cm apart). It’s a little time consuming but it’s pretty easy.
Step 3. Tidy Up.
Once you have all your tassels in place you can make your braid into a wearable necklace by simply tying the two ends together in a way that appeals to you. Your tassels may slide around over time so if you don’t want them moving use a needle and a thread (in the colour of the tassel you are working on) to stitch it securely to the braid. Just a few stitches should do the trick! If you don’t mind the possibility of them moving on the necklace don’t worry about this step. Tidy up your tassels by giving them a little bit of an untangle and checking all the looped ends have been snipped free. You can add shells, silver, beads -anything you like- simply by sewing them to the braid (I added a little bit of silver from an old bracelet) to make the necklace just right for you or the person you want to gift it to!
Hope you enjoy this necklace DIY! Please feel free to leave feedback or comments below.