Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dr. Seuss-Inspired Necklace

Do you know what a nursing necklace is?  Here's my upcycled version, inspired by every Dr. Seuss book I ever loved.



They are also sometimes called teething necklaces.  What are they?  Starting around 3 months, babies begin to do lots of clutching, poking, scratching and tugging.  A nursing necklace gives them something visual, tactile and interesting to play with - saving mom's clothes, hair and jewelry from those adorable but grabby little hands.

A good nursing necklace is super strong, washable and - most importantly - non-toxic and baby safe.  Because there will be chomping.  There will be drooling.  And biting, teething and gumming.


Did you guess where I got the beads?  Look!



I buy random baby toys at yard sales, thrift shops and even (when I can find appropriate stuff) at the dollar store.  (An important tip for what NOT to buy at the end of this post!)  I sanitize the toys, then cut them apart...



...and use the beads to make sweet, silly, indestructible nursing necklaces.  Every necklace is different, depending on the particular beads I have harvested.



To string them, I use strong nylon cord or paracord.



Not even baby Chuck Norris is gonna break this super tough jewelry!


Want to DIY?  Here's how I put together my far-out Dr. Seuss one.








That's the basic idea - pretty simple, eh?  You can add a tassel, make it longer or shorter, fuller of beads or more sparse.  Just play around, let the beads with their odd shapes and bright colors do their thing.




Okay, yes: I realize this one's a little bit wild.  But as a unique handmade gift for a whimsical mama, an idea to consider!

Here's an example of a more restrained necklace, suitable for the not-quite-so-adventurous madame:



To make that one, I picked out some pretty rounds from a child's building toy.



It's tactile, vibrant and baby friendly, but could be worn with lots of outfits without making quite such a Seussical statement.



So here's my important tip for choosing the baby toys.  Ready?  It's this: only use items with a logo from a reputable company. (Fisher Price, Playskool, Disney, etc.)   Avoid off-brand labels.  Eschew vintage items.  Reject no-name toys.   Even though most everything will be made in China, the major brands have manufacturing standards, and you can be confident the beads are non-toxic and safe for chomping.

Cleaning tips!  To sanitize used toys, run them through the dishwasher.  Or swish them in a solution of one part bleach to eight parts water, rinse well, then wash again with soap and hot water.  For new toys, a good soapy wash in hot water is fine.  You can hand wash the finished necklace as often as you like.

One last note.  I am not a mom.  Got no teething babies on hand at the moment.  And yet, I personally wear kooky upcycled baby-toy necklaces all the time!  They are very much my esthetic: bright, amusing and cute as a box of Teletubbies.

Who is with me!?  Would you wear them?  Let me hear you say yeah!

(...crickets....)


Hee hee.  Okie doke, my dears, that's today's upcycle.  Thanks for visiting!



15 comments:

  1. sounds like a fun gift for expecting mothers, but we'll first have to tell them what it is :P like you said not all might dig it or even remember to wear it when with the baby

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    1. Hmm, I sense you are dubious, Divya. No, really, it's a real thing and (for sellers) a very profitable category of jewelry. A search for 'nursing necklaces' on Etsy comes up with 8K items!.

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  2. I never heard of these - they sound great!! I just didn't wear jewelry for a long time...too bad you weren't in my life then!!

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  3. How do you clean them? You said that you sanitize them before use, so what do you do?

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    1. Hi, Imadorable! For the used toys, I run them through the dishwasher on 'sanitize' setting. You can also wash them in a solution of 1 part bleach to 6 parts water, rinse thoroughly, then wash again with soap and water. For new toys, just hot soapy water is fine.

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  4. Well that's just plain fun! You are totally the queen of clever lady!

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  5. I love these so much. Is it weird that I am not a mommy and I would wear them? Unless you count my furbabies. Ahem.

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    1. I knew I could count you in, Shannon! No, we are not weird. Weirdly stylin', maybe!

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  6. How did I get through those early days of motherhood without hearing about these. So super cool, colorful, and clever. I had more than one earring ripped of my ear back in those days, this would have solved that problem.

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  7. Oh Lovely!! I like the colors, totally colorful & pretty.. you are super smart my dear :)

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  8. I've seen these necklaces before, but I've never thought of making my own. Great idea!

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  9. Clever and fun idea. Love the Dr. Seuss inspiration!

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  10. I love it! Great minds think alike - I was literally just brainstorming teething necklaces on Sunday. Pip is driving me nutso. :) I'll have to get some para cord.

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  11. Love this idea! I have had to temporarily nix my necklaces while my new baby is small... in just a week or two, he'll be the target age for this necklace! I'm gonna go for it!

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