With August right around the corner, the temperature at a steady 90 degrees, and back-to-school musings already creeping into the conversation, I suddenly feel like I need to immerse myself in summer. I’ve been taking a couple of little water babies to the pool every day, and planning a few special projects to help us escape to the bottom of the sea seemed like the best way to soak up every last second of the season.
Last week we made DIY crab softies and this week we’re going FULL mermaid (if you haven’t visited it yet, we posted a mermaid mailbox craft + mer-mail over on hello, Wonderful). Our floating egg carton cup baby belugas will be the icing on the cake!
Using the same free printable, I decided to bring back a favorite from my own childhood and make our own mermaid charm necklaces! A seahorse here, a starfish there – just like the retro charms I used to collect as a kid in the 80’s, you can mix, match, replace and rearrange your necklace.
I love that this version can be made with little to zero plastic, and can be taken apart and recycled or made into other things. The charms can easily be taken off and used elsewhere – as part of a mermaid party invitation, hanging from a homemade mermaid-mobile, or even as some backpack flair for all those mermaid -lovers getting ready to head back to school!
To make mermaid charm necklaces you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- A Self-Laminating Sheet – we use these Scotch brand sheets (unnecessary with waterproof paper)
- Embroidery Floss for DIY tassels like ours
- Wooden or Perler Beads
- Pasta + paints or air-dry clay for DIY beads
- Any other decorations you’d like to add to your necklace
DIY Mermaid Charm Necklace Instructions:
- Print and cut out the mermaid charm templates
Print out the desired pages of our Free Printable Mermaid PDF (found here at hello, Wonderful) – I used the “Mermail” large shell cards and sticker sheet pages to make the large shell and charms. Cut out your pieces.
If you’d like your shell and charms to hold up for awhile, you can laminate them in a self-laminating sheet like these, but if you’re feeling inspired to go ocean-friendly and use zero plastic, try a green waterproof paper like this. You can also cut out a round circle or shell-shaped piece of cardboard to use as a backer behind your paper shell to give it some extra reinforcement. Cut out your main shell and charms.
- Make a hole in your charm with a hole punch for metal lanyards or threading
Use a hole punch to make small holes in your shell and charms. We made (2) 1/4″ standard-sized holes in our large shells to thread yarn through. I used a 1/8″ punch for the smaller charm holes.
Add lanyard clasps to your charms – we used metal, but small plastic clasps like these may be easier for little hands to work with!
- Cut a length of ribbon or yarn for the necklace charm chains
I used a super-soft, nubby yarn to make our necklace “chains” – to give it some thickness, I tripled it up, then tied knots at the sides and tops to keep it together. If you want to keep this super simple, you can just as easily use ribbon or cording – anything goes!
Tip: adding some knots and/or beads gives your charms something to catch on so they don’t fall down to the bottom and are spaced out along your necklace.
- Add some colorful DIY tassels
To give our charm necklaces a little extra pizazz we thought it would be fun to make some little DIY tassels in bright colors. I used these clear step-by-step instructions. To be honest, it took me longer than I thought to make them, and if I were doing this for a party or with younger kids I would definitely skip the tassels and go for beads.
If you have the time and patience, the tassels do look SO cute! You can tie your tassels right onto the necklace, or add a clasp to make them removable/moveable.
- Add your small charms to your necklace
Once you’ve added any extra you want, you can start adding charms! These make a deliciously cute small handmade gift for friends, or a fab party craft – all you have to do is print, layout some scissors and supplies, and let your little revelers go to town!
Thirsty for more hot summer activities? These recycled cereal box DIY 80’s shades are one of our most popular summer projects. Vegetable lovers will love our veggie-stamped farmer’s market tote project. And don’t miss our roundup of ways to repurpose old pool noodles – upcycled summer projects galore!
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!