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The Martha Craft Project

It’s the last of the jewelry projects!

Here’s my version of Martha’s lariat-style charm necklace:

I chose an ocean theme for mine because I could only find a good selection of charms in the sea life category.

It’s kind of pretty. The biggest problem here is that the charms don’t really lay flat. Martha gives no instructions on how you are supposed to attach them, other than with jump rings. But since you kind of want some to lay on one side and others to lay on the other, you need to be precise about how exactly you attach them. After I few, I gave up, because I couldn’t really figure it out. I’d think it was going to work, and then I’d pick it up and they’d all go cattywampus and lay backwards.

The only other issue here is that it was BUCKS. Those charms don’t come cheap, if you buy gold-filled. So the cost adds up fast.

TIME INVESTED

About 1 1/2 hours

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

TOTAL COST

The charms were the bulk of the cost. They varied from $2.50 to $13.00 (that coral one was the most expensive).

  • charms, $44.85
  • gold-filled chain, 2 feet, $10.99 per foot = $21.98
  • gold-filled clasp, $0.75 each
  • gold-filled jump rings, 50 pcs for $20.00

Total cost = $87.58

Holy cow!

WAS IT WORTH IT?

No. Unless you really have a specific theme you want a necklace for, I don’t think the design is all that beautiful.

We now bid a fond farewell to jewelry and move on to marbelizing. Oh Lordy, you have no idea.

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You’re probably getting the gist of these jewelry projects here. Next up, charm earrings!

I chose a few different key charms at my local bead store, so I actually didn’t have two that were the same. But I thought that was kind of nice, having the slightly different keys. Although it could be like pairing fonts: if it’s too close but not exact, it’s just distracting. What do you think?

Here are a few shots of me modeling them. Gah, I wish I had a full time model I could cart out whenever I need something demonstrated on a body.

View of both at the same time:

One side:

Other side:

I’m very, very serious about my earrings in this one.

They were about as quick to make as the bangle bracelets and they could be really cute if you chose charms that you loved.

TIME INVESTED

Less than 5 minutes

DIFFICULTY

Super easy

TOTAL COST

Here’s where it gets tricky. I bought earring findings (the hooks that you attach the charms to) that were sterling, so they were much more pricey. You can get really cheap ones at Michaels and the like for less than $5.

  • key charms, $1.55 each
  • silver earring blanks, $15.95 for 12 or base metal blanks, $3.99 for 6
  • jump rings, $1.99 per pack

Total cost = from $9 to $20

WAS IT WORTH IT?

These work better than the bangles since the earrings show the charms quite well. If you have a theme or charms that you really want to display, this is a great way to customize jewelry, so I say, yes!

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This is by far the easiest of the jewelry projects. Super fast and simple. Here’s what you get:

I chose a cute little pinecone and a key charm for these two bracelets. It’s a different take on the charm bracelet, with just one charm on a bangle instead of a chain. They look cute here, but there are a few problems.

First, since there’s so much space for the charm to float around in, gravity is the biggest factor in where the charm falls. And that’s usually on the underside of your wrist. What’s fun about that?

The second problem may be unique to me. I looked everywhere for bangle bracelets, and every single one I found was too small to fit over my hand. I mean, whut? I will admit I have big hands, but not freakishly big; like, if you met me, I don’t think you’d whisper to your friend, “Oh, my GAH did you see her HANDS?” They aren’t like man-hands or anything.

But not one of the bangles I found would go over that section with my thumb joint. I even went online, it and looks like 2 1/2″ diameter is pretty standard for a bangle. And I really need a 3″ margin to avoid being permanently shackled by a bracelet.

My solution was that I bought bangles that opened at Michaels. You can kind of see the hook in the top of this photo:

So there’s that.

TIME INVESTED

About 45 seconds per bracelet, I think.

DIFFICULTY

Super easy

TOTAL COST

  • charms, $5.55 and $2.35 each = $7.90
  • bangles, $3.99

Total cost = $11.89 (for two)

WAS IT WORTH IT?

Well, it was certainly easy, and it’s a simple way to make a custom bracelet. But I don’t think the one charm on a bangle idea is that practical. So my final assessment will be no.

 

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Can you remember when charm bracelets were all the rage? I remember my mom wearing this absurdly clunky thing back in the day. I think I even had some kind of child’s version. Are they coming back? I’m not convinced.

But Martha is, so this next project is to make your own charm bracelet. And you know what? It’s actually pretty easy. I chose some tiny sterling silver peace signs and hearts for my charms, and I had some leftover sterling chain. The links probably weren’t quite big enough, but it worked out.

There were a few issues that I had to problem solve. Namely:

See that charm 3rd from the left? How it’s all wonky while the rest lay flat? Thank goodness I figured that out at charm 3 and not at charm 9 or something. You need to make sure that you are inserting your jump ring into the same part of the link every time. Otherwise, you get wonkiness. To illustrate:

This was the best I could do with the photo. See how all the charms except for the one with the “wrong” arrow are hanging to the top of the bracelet? They were all attached on that side of the link. The misfit was attached on the bottom side of the link. It’s easier to see when you are working with the chain, but the point is, if you want it to be close to perfect, you need to be careful about not letting your chain twist and being consistent with how you attach.

The Encyclopedia doesn’t give any instructions for making the bracelet beyond “attach the charms with jump rings.” You also need to have a system for spacing them out; I chose to put 6 links in between each charm so that I knew they’d be spaced just right.

I actually really like it. I even wore it to yoga class today. It seemed appropriate.

I might actually keep and wear this one.

TIME INVESTED

About an hour

DIFFICULTY

Easy to Moderate (Opening those jump rings just right and getting everything consistent is a little tricky.)

TOTAL COST

  • sterling chain, 6″ @ $8.00 per foot = $4.00
  • charms, 5 @ $1.55 ea and 6 @ $0.65 = $11.65
  • clasps, $1.99

Total cost = $17.64

WAS IT WORTH IT?

Yeah, I think so. It does seem kinda pricey when you can probably get some charm bracelet for around the same, but this one is sterling. And you can customize it however you want. It would make a great gift.

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