Make: Easy Mermaid Charm Necklaces

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.

Two of our paper mermaid charm necklaces sitting on an aqua background

Last week we made DIY crab softies and this week we’re going FULL mermaid (if you haven’t visited it yet, take a peek at our mermaid mailbox craft + mer-mail. Our floating egg carton cup baby belugas will be the icing on the cake!

Two of our paper mermaid charm necklaces sitting on an aqua background

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 80s, 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!

For a natural twist on this enchanting accessory, visit our brand-new tutorial for magic mermaid painted shell necklace craft!

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 Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • Our Free Mermaid Printable PDF (follow the link to hello, Wonderful!)
  • Heavy cardstock OR eco-friendly waterproof cardstock like this
  • Scissors
  • A hole punch (we used both 1/4″ and 1/8″ sizes)
  • Yarn, ribbon, braiding cord, cotton rope or similar
  • Small lanyard clasps

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

  • 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
The supplies and free printable you'll need for our paper mermaid charm necklace craft

DIY Mermaid Charm Necklace Instructions:

  1. 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.
    Easy DIY mermaid charm necklaces - perfect for a mermaid party or quick sea-themed kid's craft!
    If you’d like your shell and charms to hold up for a while, you can laminate them in a self-laminating sheet like thesebut 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.

  2. 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.
    Easy DIY mermaid charm necklaces - perfect for a mermaid party or quick sea-themed kid's craft!
    Add lanyard clasps to your charms – we used metal, but small plastic clasps like these may be easier for little hands to work with!

  3. 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!
    Easy DIY mermaid charm necklaces - perfect for a mermaid party or quick sea-themed kid's craft!
    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.

  4. 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.
    Easy DIY mermaid charm necklaces - perfect for a mermaid party or quick sea-themed kid's craft!
    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.

  5. 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, lay out some scissors and supplies, and let your little revelers go to town!
    Easy DIY mermaid charm necklaces - perfect for a mermaid party or quick sea-themed kid's craft! | via barley & birch

Thirsty for more hot summer activities? These recycled cereal box DIY 80’s shades are one of our most popular summer projects. Little ocean lovers will have a ball making these salt dough starfish. And don’t miss our roundup of ways to repurpose old pool noodles – upcycled summer projects galore!

Two of our paper mermaid charm necklaces sitting on an aqua background

*A note about 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 Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. 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!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

TAKE THE ADVENTURE TOUR!

Sign up for our 5-day "Adventures in Play" tour series - a high seas play journey delivered right to your inbox...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *