Daily Wire Tip: Children’s Size Bracelets and Necklaces

By on July 10, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

Hi Dale, I have 3 granddaughters ages 5, 12, and 13. I would like to make necklaces and bracelets for them for their birthdays, but I can’t seem to find definitive sizes for kids’ jewelry. I’ve looked at lots of web sites and each web site gives different sizes. I’d really appreciate your help. Thank you.

-Colleen in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Answer:

Hello Colleen, I think the reason why you cannot find any definitive information with regards to children’s jewelry sizes is because regardless of their age, all children are different! The best way for you to make bracelets for your grandchildren would be to measure each of their wrists and add 1/2". Because children also grow at different rates, I like to add a 1/2" chain with links that the clasp (usually a trigger or lobster claw style so the bracelet is more secure) will fit into so the bracelet can be worn while the child grows. (I have to note here that personally I do not recommend using any type of stretchy cord for children’s jewelry because it has a tendency to break too easily.) As for necklaces, again children are built and grow differently, so you could choose 16" as the overall length, or measure the child’s neck and add 3". I hope I have helped you a bit! Does anyone have another suggestion for Colleen?

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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33 Comments

  1. avatar

    Brenda Sigafoos

    July 11, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I suggest making adjustable bracelets for the kids.

  2. avatar

    Jane Elizabeth Duke

    July 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Colleen,
    I agree with Dale… customizing the child’s jewelry is the ONLY way to go! In the past I have done the ‘guess and go’ method and found it horribly lacking. My first ‘choker’ was truly that! About one inch too short, I was sooo glad I had added an inch of chain for extension! Note the little darlings seem to love the attention that measuring their necks, wrists and fingers allots them. Hopefully you will have as much fun as I do making each child shine! :-)

  3. avatar

    allison in houston

    July 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Hi!

    When I want the jewelry to be a surprise, I’ve gotten the child’s mother to measure jewelry the child already has. That way it fits, but the kid doesn’t know it’s coming! And I always add a few extra links as Dale suggests, because kids will grow when you least expect it.

    Allison

  4. avatar

    Rick Carfora

    July 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I find that memory-wire bracelets work well for children. Using smaller beads, a 3 wrap will expand sufficiently for the bracelet to last through a lot of growing-up.

  5. avatar

    DeLane

    July 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I know it isn’t what Colleen is looking for, but if she makes the jewelry to fit now, then she can make another set in a couple of years, and the child will not get tired of wearing the same piece for years!

  6. avatar

    Lynn

    July 11, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Hi Colleen, I have four granddaughters from six to eighteen years old and make them lots of goodies. Measure their wrists with string and mark the string to always have handy. Add enough extra for a bit of “give”. Then I use about four or five links of 5mm round-link chain and crimp the beading wire directly to it. I use either a 9mm or 11mm lobster and attach a 4mm or 6mm jump ring to it on the other end. They can attach the lobster to the link that fits them the best. Put a little dangle on the end link. Lynn :)

  7. avatar

    Willi

    July 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Suggestion: I like to make pendants for my pre-school granddaughter and always use magnetic clasps for the chain. A lightweight safety chain could be added.

  8. avatar

    Doris

    July 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    If they do not live nearby, find out their size for tops. Visit a nearby store with your measuring tape, find their size top and measure the neck opening, adding an inch or two for drape. I find that putting an extension chain on kids’ necklaces lets it grow with them. Be aware of charms, etc… containing lead and don’t use them if not sure. You can’t go wrong with sterling. Children tend to put the charms in their mouths, so if they are very young, I would not use them or crystals, glass etc…

  9. avatar

    Sherrie Lingerfelt

    July 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    These are all great ideas. Personally I like extenders best but you might try making a few bracelets each way to see which ones you prefer. Good luck!

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      July 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks Everyone! so very much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas for making children’s jewelry with Colleen and all of us!! So Colleen, will you let us know what you decide to do to spoil your special granddaughters?

  10. avatar

    Celine Barberio

    July 12, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Hi Dale,

    For Children under the age of 13 I really prefer to use magnetic clasps for safety reasons.

    I find that wire wrapped necklaces are a chocking hazard for younger children. People really under estimate the strength of wire wrapped necklaces and I would really feel horrible if a child got their necklace hung onto something while playing. So, for that reason I eally prefer to use magnetic clasps and I always recommend them to parents and warn them of chocking hazzards.

    Celine
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      July 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you Celine – it is true that sometimes we miss the safety issue of our work.

  11. avatar

    vweaver

    July 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I have a niece for whom I made a coordinating bracelet & necklace; the pattern was station style which I continued into the tail piece/extender(s) combined with focal clasps so not only could she vary the length as needed but the two can be combined as a longer necklace when she is an adult.

  12. avatar

    Debbie

    July 15, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I agree with Rick that memory wire is a good choice. Make sure you use child size and have a good amount of over lap. I use it with all my kids classes and it works very well.

  13. avatar

    kirsten Philadelphia

    January 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    i usually use extenders on kids jewelry but i also don’t make my extenders as LONG as i do on adult jewelry because kids tend to snag them! and i only use the sturdiest stringing materials on bead necklaces for kids (or moms!)

    here is a trick that works well on both adult and kids jewelry…
    make the bracelet and necklace set work together so the bracelet can be used as an extender for the necklace! its a great way to sell a set, and point out versatility to your customers (grown or not)
    i also offer matching earrings, with a note that if you ever need to repair or lengthen the necklace, its more likely that you kept the earrings than some “spare beads”.

    oh.. and a sales tip
    one of my best sellers for kids is a real (freshwater, sometimes dyed) pearl necklace with their name in beads in the front. kids and grandmoms love them, and i always point out that since these are real pearls? when they outgrow the name necklace style (if they ever do) you can have it re strung as a plain pearl necklace.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      January 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Kirsten, thanks for sharing some of your personal ideas with all of us! I really like the pearl suggestion.

    • avatar

      Marty

      September 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

      I like that idea alot,and the jewelry grow with the child.

    • avatar

      teresa

      August 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

      Great idea regarding adding the bracelet to the necklace as the child grows.

  14. avatar

    Dorothy

    January 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I made small cuff bracelets out of the 3 mm wide flat sterling wire as a cuff for my grand neices, 1 just two mos old for her baptism, and also for the 6 yr old. Unfortunately I did not have their wrist sizes, so one was a little to big, and the other a little two small. I just cut the wire with heavy duty shears and filed the edges on the corners so there were no sharp edges.

  15. avatar

    Connie

    January 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I have one grand daughter that was forever breaking her necklaces and bracelets – even those on wire. The memory wire and magnetic versions are my choice, especially for safety, and maybe one will only have to make it once!

  16. avatar

    Mary Phillips

    January 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I like using round leather cords with a double sliding knots for necklaces for kids that they can use into adulthood. You can knot or use crimps or wire to hold larger holed beads along the strand and then dangle a pretty wrapped stone in the center. It will never get lost and if pulled will slide to the maximum length. I taught myself how to tie these knots but am not sure where you can find instructions.

    • avatar

      Grace

      July 27, 2012 at 8:36 am

      If you would like to learn how to make the sliding knots, the information can be seen on YouTube…just look for sliding knots.

  17. avatar

    Judy from Sydney

    January 6, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I use 3 wraps of child size memory wire and particularly like tri-beads for children’s bracelets. I’m also starting to experiment with winding chenille sticks (which have a wire core) onto baby’s nappy (or diaper) pins for kids’ brooches. The reason to use nappy pins for little kids’ brooches is that little fingers cannot open them. Some of the nappy pins have pretty colored heads. Beads with big holes can be threaded onto the chenille sticks as you wind them on. I did some adult versions with festive colored beads and chenille sticks onto kilt pins and brooch backs for adults. Lovely for Christmas.

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      January 6, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Great design idea, Judy – thanks for sharing it with us :)

  18. avatar

    christine

    June 21, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Hi I made a name braclet for my grandaurter when she was born I made it in sterling silver wire I made it ajusterble by useing split rings at the ends then put the fasterners onto the split ring so i can had split rings to them as she grows 2of my daurters freinds saw them and asked me to make them for them for christenings they had coming up so i did and put spare split rings in for lenthening as they grow

  19. avatar

    Grace

    July 27, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I like making the “Nayala” style bracelets for kids and teens. These use cord and beads and a series of square knots to close the bracelet. The best part is that these bracelets are both very popular with kids and highly adjustable for many sized wrists and growth patterns. They will open if they get caught on something, which greatly reduces injury–always a subject on my mind when making any jewelry. You might find these to be the perfect gift for children, Tweens and teens.

    Just one more note, just remember not to use Swarovski or leaded crystals in any jewelry intended fr children. Swarovski even recommends this–found this out recently from my favorite jewelry store, so as much as I know children like “bling” it’s best to omit the crystals until they are a lot older.

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  21. avatar

    D'Arcy

    February 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I make pieces for kids all the time. I find a 16″ necklace may be slightly long in the beginning, but they can wear it long into their growth. Bracelets I usually measure the wrist then add a few inches extender chain & lobster. When possible, I actually prefer a snap clasp when possible simply because it holds strong but will snap open if pulled on thereby saving the maker repair time later. The only problem then is that they can’t be adjusted easily other than if you are using a jump ring concept. Hope this helps!

  22. avatar

    Carol Praissman

    September 15, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I don’t make jewelry for children. Between fear of choking & the use of lead in charms & crystals, it’s just not worth it in my opinion. I even have a warning of choking hazard for children on my Etsy store.
    In the case of jewelry for adults: I usually use sterling, argentium or gold-filled in my jewelry. However, there are times when an alloy of tin & zinc is just too wonderful to pass up. (Pewter is not always identified as tin & zinc. Sometimes there are other metals in the mix.)I always go to bead shows with a 3M lead kit in my handbag & ask if I can check the metal in an inconspicuous spot. If the vendor says ‘no’ I just move on to the next vendor.
    There are never do-overs with your or your family’s or customers health!

  23. avatar

    Stephanie Harrington-Shirk

    December 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I find that whether it is a choker, or a nice draping necklace, a free flowing bracelet, or one meant to be form fitting, the key to success, and a chance for our fast growing family members to be able to get a long time for wear, always add enough of an \"extender chain,\" a chain that is added to the piece to allow for different lengths therefore allowing the wearer to have their individual perfect fit, to take the \"child-size\" piece and make it into an adult size piece, either the standard that you subscribe to, or the sizes you have deemed appropriate. This idea actually came to me when I was forging through my hand me down jewelry with my daughter, and realized that while she is young, I still wanted to be able to start giving her jewelry that has significant familial ties! I understand that she will not, at 4 years of age, be able to appreciate the significance of the piece, or the act of being another link in the chain of owners that the piece has had, but that will come with time, and THERE IS A LOT TO BE SAID FOR BEING ABLE TO WITNESS A CHILD FALL IN LOVE WITH A SHINY OBJECT, AND TREASURE IT IN A WAY THAT ONLY INNOCENCE ALLOWS! Their love for the piece will never exhaust or tire itself out, but it will mature along with the person, and I am hoping, with this method I have implemented, to be able to witness a sentimental attachment that is stronger for each piece, as they are not only a part of coming of age, but of the entire childhood! So, that is my thoughts, and hopes for the outcome!

  24. avatar

    Tonie Marlow

    December 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    One Thanksgiving during our big family celebration, I went around to my great nieces. We talked about their favorite colors. I also asked about their favorite dress or outfit, school colors, etc. Then I got out my design notebook, measuring tape and measured all necks and wrists. It was fun to have the conversations and at Christmas time, they received their small jewelry sets with such joy – each knowing that it was just right. As for me – I treasure each conversation I had with them and hope to teach whoever is interested, how to make their own jewelry pretty soon!

  25. avatar

    Di Rivers

    November 15, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Another clasp suitable for a growing child is a ribbon..threaded through the two rings on each end of the bracelet.. perhaps not an everyday, rough play bracelet but beautiful for something special….

  26. avatar

    Pam

    January 21, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Jewelry for children should should only be made in sterling or real gold because of allergy issues.
    Beads from China should never be used in children’s jewelry because China uses lead in the making of their color beads and this could be very dangerous for children. I have been told even Swarovski has lead in some of their beads. So much care should be taken in making children’s jewelry.

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