Kids' Crafts

How to Make Jewelry with Gimp

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"How to Make Jewelry with Gimp"
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Necklaces, bracelets, anklets, zipper pulls, backpack buddies, pins, key chains what do you want? With very little money, a few findings, and lots of imagination, you can make a whole treasure chest full of gimp jewelry! Gimp is actually a flat, thin and stretchy plastic lacing. It comes in a multitude of colors, and is versatile, strong and waterproof. You'll be able to wear your new jewelry anywhere!

At the end of this article there is a two strand basic pattern that can be used to fashion a ring, bracelet, anklet and/or necklace. After you try the basic pattern, look around! Today, there are lots of project books with instructions for making all kinds of accessories, including zipper pulls, backpack buddies and pins. Projects range from basic to very complicated. There are plenty of web sites that offer instructions and ideas for gimp; also called boondoggle, and craft lace. Any instructions you find for macram hemp jewelry can be adapted for use with gimp. Scoubidou (pronounced Scooby-Doo!) directions work perfectly for gimp projects, although Scoubidou is actually tiny plastic tubing. Some gimp projects call for adding pony beads, other beads and/or findings your options are wide open!

For this project you need:

• Two strands of gimp in complementing colors
• Hooks and closings (optional)
• Beads or charms (optional)
• Button for ring (optional)
• Sturdy card board or preferred work surface
• Safety pin

How to:

Cut the first strand about 2 times the length of your finished project. The second strand, which you will be using to tie all your knots, should be 4 times the length of your finished item. For example; if you want an ankle bracelet that is 9 inches long, you need one strand 18 inches long. The second strand should be 36 inches long.

Holding one end of each color together and even with each other, tie one overhand knot several inches away from the gimp ends. This is your starting knot. Pull this knot tight. Stick a safety pin through the knot and attach the pin to a piece of sturdy card board or other work surface. Tip: Old pillows and 3-ring binders make great work surfaces!

You will want to start very close to the starting knot. Take the longer of the two strands and loop it around the shorter strand. Move down, over and to the right. Bring the longer strand back up, to the left and under the shorter strand. Most importantly, you will finish with the longer strand end ABOVE where you started. Keeping that in mind, you are basically just wrapping one strand around the other. In macram, this is called the half-hitch knot. There are plenty of books and websites that have diagrams and/or illustrations of the "half-hitch."

Once you understand how to do the half-hitch knot, just keep repeating that same knot over and over until your piece is the desired length. Rings can be made rather quickly! As you continue with the half-hitch, the work will begin to turn or spiral. Just keep working the half-hitch and let it do its spiral thing!


Tie another overhand knot (with both strands!) very close to the last half-hitch knot completed. Thread a loose gimp end in an upholstery needle. Insert needle into closest knot; thread gimp strand through and under a few knots. Remove needle and trim end close to work. Repeat for each loose strand.

If you want to attach a hook, toggle and/or clasp, simply wrap loose ends tightly around your finding before threading them through knots.

Note: Many patterns instruct to use glue for securing your loose gimp ends. Keep in mind, if you will be wearing a piece, the more movement or elements to which the piece is exposed will cause the glue bond to break. This is why that method is not recommended here.


1) To add a little more pizzazz to your gorgeous creation(s), string any desired
beads and/or charms at desired intervals on the shorter piece of gimp.
Continue working the half-hitch with the longer strand right beside the

2) An easy way to complete a necklace quickly is to have more space between your half-hitch knots. This also gives more of a chain appearance to the
completed piece.

3) A fun way to make a ring is to finish your little piece by tying all the gimp
ends to an old funky button very unique!

4) You can leave loose ends as ties. Keep them long enough and you can tie bows to close your bracelets and necklaces. Just don't forget to make the final
overhand knot to secure all those half hitches!

More about this author: Cindy Hartzell

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