You can buy your own beads or your children can make their own. Bead shops will give you plenty of choice for any jewellery project, from wooden, plastic or metal beads, to charms and pendants. While you’re shopping, look out for leather or plastic cord, or string, and don’t forget the clasps.
If children want to make beads, they can use air-drying clay to roll a ball or other shape, making a hole for the string before the clay dries. You can also make clay pendants by forming small disks of clay and then writing or drawing on them. Or make a fingerprint mark. Then insert a wire loop into the clay before it dries. One other way to make beads is to use strips of coloured paper, that taper to a point. Glue the wrong side of the strip and tightly roll the paper up, leaving a hole for the string. When you’ve finished your beads, spray paint them with a clear lacquer and leave to dry before stringing.
When stringing beads, children can use as many or as few as they like. Girls may like a bead necklace, while boys may prefer a leather thong for the wrist, with a single bead or pendant.
An easy, although time-consuming, DIY project is to get lots of small beads and safety pins. Children can place beads on one arm of each pin. Just ensure they are old enough to do this without pricking themselves, or be there to supervise. When they have enough beaded pins, thread a piece of thin elastic through the top of each pin, and another through the bottom loop, for a stretchy beaded bracelet.
Girls can also tie or glue buttons, beads or charms onto the ends of bobby pins or hair clips, for a fun hair accessory.
Boys may prefer to make a leather cuff for themselves. Get a strip of leather cut to the right length and use an awl, or similar sharp tool, to punch holes into the leather. You can do a line of holes on each side, and thread a leather thong through each hole. Leave a small length at each end to tie the cuff together. You can also get a few strips of thin leather and plait these together. Tie off the ends with some cord and leave a loop on one end and a length on the other for fastening.
Girls and boys may both like a bracelet or wristband made by tying together a few leather cords. Place a pendant, bead or charm on one or two of the cords, and fasten off each end. Leave a loop of cord on one end and a length at the other, for fastening.
String and twine
Children can weave together different coloured string to make a friendship bracelet. New shoelaces also work nicely for this. Leave extra string for fastening, or add a clasp.
Get a length of twine and cut it in half. Children can tie each end onto a button or charm, then add a few more lengths, and tie them together for a simple bracelet.
Older children can try their hand at working with metal to make simple jewellery. Old forks and spoons can be bent and shaped for interesting wristbands, and the fork prongs can be creatively shaped for added affect.
Boys can make a copper cuff by bending a strip of copper to fit around their wrist, and polishing it up.
Wire can also be used to make creative jewellery. Children can wrap wire around semi-precious stones, and create pendants, rings or bracelets from these.