It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Needless to say, this whole pandemic thing has been a little rough on those of us with anxiety, but it’s been rough on everyone though, right? I can’t help but feel so terrible for everyone who is missing loved ones, everyone who has lost someone to this terrible illness, and those who are finding themselves at a loss when it comes to food or funds because their job no longer exists.
I’m still nowhere near a place where I could keep up a strict blogging schedule right now, but I did want to share a fun DIY dinosaur necklace that I’ve been working on to keep my brain occupied lately. It’s a simple DIY that even kids can put together in an afternoon, and it’s so easy to personalize too!
How to Make a DIY Dinosaur Necklace
This necklace is so easy to put together once you get all of the items needed. The most stressful part of this jewelry making project was finding dinosaurs to use! They used to have tubes of them available at our local craft store, but the only ones I could find were well out of the budget I had planned.
In the end, I went with a package of dinosaurs I found at our local dollar store just to try the idea out. You can get a pack of 72 dinosaurs for a good price on Amazon though if you decide you want to make a lot of these necklaces, or if you just can’t find them anywhere else. ( Who can’t use a few dinosaurs laying around for projects or playing anyway, right? )
Small Plastic Dinosaur (one per necklace)
Screw-in Eye Hook for Jewelry ( one per necklace)
Necklace Chain of Choice ( this ball chain is great to use for kids’ necklaces!)
Acrylic Paint Colors ( 1 per dinosaur, your choice)
Directions to Make a DIY DInosaur Necklace:
You want to pick plastic dinosaurs for your necklace that have a good area on their back to add a screw-in eye hook. Anything like a T-Rex or even a Brontosaurus is a great option here.
Sometimes plastic dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus or the Iguanadon don’t work as well as it’s harder to add the eyehook to them. In this case, you can always use a Dremel to add a hole to the fan or spikes on their back and just avoid the eyehook all together.
Once you have your plastic dinosaurs selected, give them a good once-over to see if there are any off pieces or rough spots that you can file down or even out to make it easier to paint and give you a better looking final product once you have painted your dinosaurs. For the most part, they should be just fine to start painting.
You can skip this part if you want, but I always prefer to do a coat of white on anything that I am re-coloring. Often things like plastic dinosaurs start in dark brown or green tones. To get them the bright colors that I want to paint them it’s just a little easier to change them to a white base coat first. I generally use an antique white, but any white will do here.
The original color of your plastic dinosaur will determine how many coats of white paint you use. For my dinosaur necklace starters, I did about 2 to 3 coats of white to do the base color since I wanted them to end up bright colors like orange and pink. Be sure to let each coat dry completely before going to the next. Usually, about an hour or two is fine.
Once you have your base coat finished you can move on to the colors you are going to paint each dinosaur. If you are doing just one necklace this should be an easy choice. I decided to do the whole package of mine so I went with a bright rainbow of colors that I had on hand. I prefer bright colors because I think they make these dinosaur necklaces a little more whimsical, but if you want a gothasaurus or a mint chocolate chip rex then, by all means, do what works for your style!
The final coat or two that you want to put on your plastic dinosaur is a clear coat to help seal in the paint that you’ve applied. I used a paint-on option with glitter. If you don’t want glitter on your dinosaurs you can just use a basic clear coat ( even mod podge would work if you have that on hand!) A spray-on sealant can also be used to make it a little quicker and easier.
When your plastic dinosaurs are painted and sealed you can add the eyehook to their back. If you prefer you can add it to the head of some of them (like a Velociraptor or Carnotaurus). The eyehook can be a little difficult to get started. You can use a jewelry hammer to tap the eyehook into the plastic dinosaur to start it and then use needle nose plyers to twist it in. If even that doesn’t work you can also use a Dremel to start a small pilot hole to screw the eyehook into.
If you want your eyehook to be a little more secure you can add a drop of superglue or jewelry adhesive but it should hold well for you without needing to do this. I find that once they get fully screwed into the plastic dinosaurs they stay put.
I chose to put my dinosaurs on a 16″ chain. If you want more of a choker you can make your chain shorter. If you would like your dinosaur to sit a little lower you can make your chain a little longer. This is just a matter of personal preference!
Tips for Making a DIY Plastic Dinosaur Necklace
This is an easy and relaxing craft to put together. It’s also a great way to make personalized jewelry and a low-cost craft for older kids and teens to do. It would be a great idea for a slumber party craft since plastic dinosaurs usually come in bulk anyway! There are a few tips that will make putting together your plastic dinosaur necklace a little easier.
- Use thicker dinosaurs vs. thin ones. You want to choose dinosaurs that have been well fed rather than ones who are looking a little starved. This will give the eyehook a little more broad of a “back” to screw into and will give you a better hold.
- Use the best quality plastic dinosaurs you can find. This will help you in multiple ways. For one, the paint seems to stick better to higher quality plastic. Also, higher quality plastic is less likely to break when you work with it or wear it.
- Use high-quality craft paints. The bright coloring of these dinosaurs is really what gives them a new personality. It is best to use high-quality craft paints to help those bright colors pop. In general, kids’ paints won’t give you the richness of color that acrylic craft paints will.
- Measure twice, cut once. When making your necklace it is best to make sure that your measurement is the size that you want it to be before cutting. Also, keep in mind that any clasps or closures that you add may alter your final DIY dinosaur necklace length.
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