Same old story with most of my DIYs. I have an idea of a something I’d like (in this case, a metal detachable collar), I go to the store and can’t find anything thats just right (even the expensive ones aren’t quite right) so I go home and make it.
The metal collar necklaces I found in stores, their curves didn’t quite sit right along my neck and collarbones. Thanks to A Pair and a Spare, I found the perfect material: Aluminium Roof Flashing. I got it for $6.35 a metre at my local hardware store (such friendly staff!) it’s flexible and easy to work with and you can cut it with ordinary scissors. This was my first time using this medium, and it worked amazingly.
Metal Collar Tutorial
Tools and Materials: Aluminium Roof Flashing (You only need the size of an A4 page)
3 Silver Jumprings
Silver Chain (Use large links so that the necklace height is adjustable)
Lobster clasp (or other silver jewellery closures)
Scissors (I used an old blunt pair, so as to not ruin my good set)
Needles/pins of various thicknesses
Before we start: Basically, this necklace is made up of two halves of the collar (think of a shirt collar) joined with a jump ring and fastened with chain around the back.
This Tutorial can be summed up in 6 simple steps:
- Make a pattern of your collar from paper
- Trace said pattern onto your aluminium flashing, leaving 5mm of ‘seam allowance’
- Cut out the two pieces and cut the corners off at 45 degrees and trimming the seam allowance like a fringe
- Fold over the fringing to make a smooth edge
- Use the pins to pierce holes to join the two pieces at the centre with a jump ring
- Pierce holes and use the remaining 2 jump rings to attach a chain and lobster clasp
In case you want better instruction I’ve written out what I did in more detail:
Step 1: Make a Pattern for you collar. I used a hard headband to get a sort of egg shaped inside curve (Remember, your neck isn’t a perfect cylinder, so the inside curve won’t be a perfect circle) My angle between collar points was 80 degrees, the length was 5cm that gradually tapered in to 3 cm at the back. Adjust your pattern for personal taste, then cut it out and try it around your neck (I used sticky tape to join the middle corners for fitting purposes).
Step 2: Trace pattern onto aluminium flashing. Leave a 5mm boarder around the pattern, because we’ll be folding it inwards to smooth the edge. It doesn’t matter what colour your marker is, because since we’ll be folding it inwards and covering the lines anyway.
Step 3: Cut out the two pieces. Make sure to cut the corners off at 45 degree angles (so that when we fold the edges over, it won’t overlap. The photo below shows the left edge already folded) and cut the edge into a fringe (about a centremetre between cuts) I then used P180 abrasive paper just to smooth any jagged edges (be sure to trim any spiky bits for obvious safety reasons!)
Step 5: Pierce holes for jumprings. My jumprings were 8mm wide so I made the whole about 3-4mm from the edge (i.e. half the diametre of the jumpring) To be precise, I held the two halves of the collar to see what angle I wanted them at and then lined the holes up accordingly. I used two needles of different widths, changing from thinner to thicker to widen the hole. Be sure to pierce it from the smooth side (not the folded inwards side) so that the holes won’t have metal sticking out.
Step 6: Attach the chain. Pierce a hole on either end of your collar (in the centre) I held the collar to my neck at the highest on my neck I’d like to wear it, and also the lowest. While trying it on, gently bend the metal to match the curve of your collarbone. I made my brother use the measuring tape to find out how long my chain needed to be. Since my chain has fairly large links, the necklace length is adjustable.
And there you have it!
This is probably one of my favourite projects: Cheap materials, simple to do and effective.
The beauty of this accessory is the flexibility. You can adjust the height to match the neckline of whatever top you’re wearing and since the aluminium is malleable (The guy at the store said it’s pretty much really thick alfoil) you can shape it to match the curve of your body, something that I couldn’t have with the store-made ones. If you want to reinforce it/increase the comfort of wearing it, cut out fabric slightly smaller than the collar and glue it on the back. This will also hide the folded edges more.
I wore it to my costume meeting the very next day to show as an example of a potential material for our steampunk accessories. Je l’adore beaucoup!