Vintage Found Object Necklaces

Today I’m coming to you with a super-simple project that let’s us show off our vintage-loving personalities. Bonus: it would also make a sweet Christmas gift.

Even though I’m pretty sure you could figure out how to make it on your own, I thought I’d at least bring the idea to your attention and give you the necessary details while I was at it.

Sometimes a brand new craft can feel daunting, so I’m hoping to take the fear out of simple jewelry-making with today’s tutorial on how to make a vintage found object necklace.

Vintage Found Object Necklaces*This post contains convenient affiliate links for products that are similar to those I’ve used for this project. If you make any purchase via this link, I will receive a small commission, for which I thank you in advance. Check my full disclosure here.


Supplies for vintage key necklace

Selection of found objects like keys and religious medals

How to Attach a Jump Ring

The first step with many found objects that already have a hole at the top, like keys, is to attach a jump ring.

How to attach jump ringI bought large jump rings because some of the keys I’m using are very thick. To attach one to a key, hold one side of the jump ring with your needle nose pliers and with your other hand, press the loop open.

Insert your key and then close the jump ring back up. Next insert the ball chain through the jump ring and you’re practically done(!).

Ball chain

Ball Chain spool Ball chain can be purchased at craft stores on spools like the one above. I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby when it was half price. 10 yards makes fifteen 24″ necklaces, which works out to just 33ยข each.

24″ is a great pendant length, perfect for large keys. The ball chain comes in a variety of colors (gold, silver, antique brass, etc.), along with 30 connectors, and it can be easily cut with scissors.

How to connect ends of ball chainIn these photos you see how the connector works. You push the last ball on one side into the center of the connector, slide it toward the end and push down on it so it kind of “snaps” into place.

Repeat on the other side. At 24″ it should fit over your head with no problem, so you won’t need to open and close it very often.

Purchased vintage-style skeleton keysIf you can’t get your hands on antique or vintage keys, most craft stores have some faux versions available. I also purchased these at Hobby Lobby at 50% off, which makes them just 24ยข each.

I used one to demonstrate in the photos above because all of my vintage ones have been turned into necklaces, which are now available at the Shaker craft show that I sell at every year.

vintage clock keyOf course in your vintage and antique travels, you’ll come across all sorts of things that can be turned into pendants, like this clock key.

I recently bought several old Maxwell House jars for a project and discovered once I looked more closely that one was filled with clock keys, including this one. I think I might add a bead or small charm to create more interest. Though I’m not sure if these will be nearly as popular as the skeleton keys.

lock and key pendantSmall locks with their keys also make interesting pendants.

key, medal, & Pyrite found object necklacesBut my favorite are the antique skeleton keys, like the one you see here on the left. Religious medals and mineral chunks, like the Pyrite on the right also make good choices. [NOTE: To turn the Pyrite into a pendant, follow the instructions at Fall for DIY.]

I’m offering these (and several more) for sale at the Christmas craft show I participate in every year for $10 each. This is my first year making them, so it may take some adjustments before finding the right price point. They may sell better for $8 each; we’ll see.

UPDATE: I now sell them for $12 each and they’re good sellers!

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I’d love it if you’d pin me ๐Ÿ™‚

Learn how to repurpose vintage found objects into unique necklaces

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  1. I loved your pendants; I agree that $8 may be better; I think a lot of people will say, “I can do that.”. I think that clock key would be lovely with a pearl (I love pearls) or faceted bead on a headpin, maybe another larger bead /pearl/ charm to make a trio??? I found some plain old house keys, painted them gold. They are waiting to be made into ornaments with a tag I got off some blog. “Dear Santa, There is no chimney here you see, So here’s a special magic key. Use this key on Christmas Eve, And put it back, before you leave.'” Going to back the taga with scrapbookking paper that has keys all over it, a dull maroon. Prob maroon ribbon or gold cord unless I find some key chains.

  2. The skeleton key pendants are neat, Diana. I found some great faux antique skeleton keys on Amazon which I will probably order so I can make a necklace or two. There are so many choices and all seem pretty reasonable. But it’s hard to choose!

  3. Great vintage-y DIY jewelry idea – right up my alley as I’ve made many. I also love using the keys as charms on charm bracelets. Your photos are fabulous. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. Pinned! xo Kathlen|Our Hopeful Home

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