Hardware Store Necklaces

My dear friend, illustrator Michéle Brummer Everett, has top-notch style and I love to see what she puts together. She is always donning the raddest jewelry. The other day I took a closer look at a piece she was wearing, only to realize that it all made out of hardware store pieces! Rope, tubing, metal pipes, and some embroidery floss. That’s all it is! I love when unusual items can be transformed into something beautiful and absolutely original. We’re featuring a few of her Hardware Store Necklaces here on the blog and pairing them with some fun outfits so you get the feel of the entire look. Clearly, these necklaces are not for the faint of heart, but some bold accessorizing never hurt anyone! Today she’s teaching us how she does it! 

When I first went away to art school in Chicago I discovered Ace Hardware (no this isn’t a sponsored post, just a declaration of love). As a South African who had no experience in midwestern weather I remember running into the small Ace across from my building seeking shelter. The snow kept falling and so I poked around only to discover what I know now…everything I ever needed is sold in a hardware store.

DIY a necklace with items from the hardware store

Check out all the funky looks! 

Many years later we moved to Utah and on a trip to the Spiral Jetty we stopped at a shop called Smith & Edwards. It’s difficult to explain what Smith & Edwards is, but let’s just say that it’s everything I love about America within four giant walls. Inside happens to be an Ace Hardware, dare I say the King of all Ace Hardware stores. In one section they sell rope by the foot. Thick rope, thin rope, plain rope, multicoloured rope, it’s a beautiful sight. Now, I’m not a rock climber, nor do I own a horse that needs to be lead to pasture, but I knew that somehow I had to use this rope. I stood there measuring various strands across my neck (these cowboys probably thought I was a lunatic) and asked one of the young workers to help me. The rope is terribly thick and will fray when cut so they put electric tape on the ends and melt the edges to keep it together. I asked if they could instead melt the edges together (making a loop) and presto I had a necklace! I forced this poor young fellow to repeat the process many times over and left with loads of these bold necklaces that I wear all the time.

Since that fateful day at Smith and Edwards I’ve made many more necklaces with rope and have added a few embellishments along the way. The plumbing department at your local hardware store is the best place to look! They have beautiful copper pipe bits of various shapes and sizes as well as sections of PVC pipe that I spray paint white (to get rid of the bar codes printed on them) or any other colour of my liking. These necklaces are quick, simple and as the mother of a one-year-old the key word here is INDESTRUCTIBLE! I also happen to wear black most of the time so this is the perfect way to add a bold pop of colour or to say, “No, I don’t actually attend funerals daily.”

DIY a necklace with items from the hardware store

Hardware Store Necklaces

Materials List:

  • Paracord-not all of us live by Smith & Edwards but there are some great online options (see here)
  • Thick cord: 3 ft length
  • Thin cord: 6 ft length (to wrap around twice) 9 ft length (to wrap around 3 times)
  • Plumbing parts: copper or PVC
  • Spray paint
  • Embroidery thread
  • Lighter
  • Electric tape (for the very thick cord only)


1. If you have chosen to use PVC pipe parts spray paint these at least 24 hours in advance (the fumes!)
2. Gather the rope and emelishments of your choosing.
3. Burn the end of your rope to stop fraying. If you are making a necklace with very thick cord wrap the ends with electric tape and melt them together to form a loop. This step is easier when you can force someone to do it for you like I did but it can also be done at home.
4. Thread your piece of pipe onto the rope.
5. Wrap embroidery thread around the melted ends of the rope to join them together. Try using bold different colours for a bit of pizzazz.
6. the end 🙂

DIY a necklace with items from the hardware store

Tutorial by Michèle Brummer Everett  @mlbeprojects   |  Photography by Jenna Evans


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