Jewelry Making for Kids – Skill-based Ideas for Toddler Through Teen!
I’ve put together this fun list of jewelry crafts for kids to help you engage your little ones in a productive and fun activity. Jewelry making for kids can start from a very young age – find ideas, resources, and tutorials for all age groups here! This post contains affiliate links. This post was originally published March 2015 and was updated to make it relevant.
I’ve been making jewelry since early high school, and my only regret is that I did not start sooner.
I dabbled in many crafts throughout the year, but jewelry making is the one that stuck. I find it extremely therapeutic, peaceful, and a great way to relax.
Bringing it to creative children is doing them a great service. Jewelry crafts are endless, as you can see from the resources below. They are a great way to promote creativity. But, even more so, the professionalism of the end result is a massive boost to a child’s self-confidence.
Aside from that, and the skills-based or educational lessons many of these projects have, these often promote fine motor skills, and sometimes logic and reasoning to make things “work” (as in the wire wrapped projects).
I used to go to birthday and Bat Mitzvah events to do basic jewelry crafts, and so I’ve included those in the list. You’d be surprised at how young children can begin dabbling in the actual jewelry things (not just the clay beads).
Where to get your jewelry making supplies
I’ve shared in-depth in the past where to get cheap arts & crafts supplies for kids (relevant for more craft-y projects on this list) and best places to buy beads and jewelry making supplies online (for the more jewelry-ish ideas).
A few favorite resources for supplies for jewelry making for kids:
- Michaels – for all types of supplies. Great for when you need less specialized – more variety.
- Walmart – for when you need very basic supplies and want it cheap and fast with a low free shipping threshold
- Jewelry and Findings – A great resource to jumpstart your “real” jewelry making stash
- Annie’s Simply Beads Kit Club of the Month – fantastic for kids who need more of a project-based experience when getting into a new hobby.
And of course there’s always Amazon for when you need something and want it now! They have a HUGE jewelry making selection. I don’t necessarily recommend stocking up/building your initial stash there but it’s fantastic for individual finds.
Jewelry Making for Kids – an age-by-age guide:
So which activities are actually best for each age group? Beyond specific ideas, which types of jewelry crafts are you going to want for each age range? I put together a general outline of age-appropriate jewelry making related activities for kids.
I always hesitate to provide age recommendations. They are a very abstract way to organize crafts as some older kids will like the ones for younger kids, and each kid’s individual skills vary.
However, it does provide a starting point for you.
Of course, the first step is to know the skill level of your artists! If you are doing this in a general group setting, you’ll want to keep it simple, so that anyone can do it. If you’re working one-on-one with a talented child, you can take it a few notches up.
This categorization is PRIMARILY based on what I’ve done in a party setting. The key to doing jewelry making activities in a group setting is to leave it open ended!
Offer a large variety of beads, cords, or whatever the key component of your craft is. You may find, if you’re doing an activity with a large group, that some will need help finishing bracelets, or whatever it is. This is totally fine – as long as they designed the piece on their own!
Jewelry Making for Toddlers
Toddlers as young as 18 months can start by stringing large-hole items on something stiff, even if it doesn’t make a final piece. M used to enjoy stringing pipe connectors onto crayons.
The primary focus would be to develop fine motor skills. Slightly older toddlers can string large-hole beads onto a string with plastic ends. I used to do this with M using this set. It can even start looking pretty at this point as you can see below.
Jewlery making for kids – more specific project ideas for toddlers:
1. Wood Bead Bracelets by Rhythms of Play
Your toddler or preschooler will love stringing colorful wooden beads to make a beautiful bracelet. You might have fun with it too! When you’re done, try making necklaces too.
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar necklace by Buggy and Buddy
Yes, book based crafts can be jewelry too! This one is simple enough to be made by the book’s young fans.
3. Ombre necklace by Mama Papa Bubba
Simple gradation turns a simple craft into a trendy ombre necklace, kid-made, of course! Young toddlers will need their beads painted and arranged for them. Older kids can learn about color tones by painting their own.
4. Beaded Rainbow Necklace by Buggy and Buddy
This simple beaded rainbow necklace by Buggy and Buddy is so pretty and classic!
5. Snack Necklace by The Seasoned Mom
Do double duty by turning a fun jewelry craft into an edible party activity.
Jewelry Crafts for Preschoolers
At about age three, they should be able to start stringing smaller beads, also with large holes, such as these. Use yarn, ideally with finished ends (you can tape the ends yourself), or plastic lacing (which can be finished with tape or glue, as it doesn’t knot nicely).
Straw beads, pony beads, and even metallic-painted pasta are perfect jewelry making for kids of preschool age. You can also get started with cookie cutter clay jewelry, or other very simple clay techniques.
Jewelry making for kids – more ideas for preschoolers:
1. Clay Friendship Necklaces
Celebrate a loved with friendship necklaces made out of clay! It shows what you can do with clay as a very beginner.
2. Button Bracelets by Pint Sized Treasures
A great button bracelet puts all those spares to good use! It involves slightly more advanced threading than plain beads and has a nice touch to it, especially when you use ribbon!
3. Phone number bracelets by Danya Banya
You might hope you’ll never need these phone number bracelets – but just in case, they make a great craft for before a trip! They’re also a great way to teach kids their phone number.
4. Foil Beads by Sparkling Buds
Fun foil beads that are kid-made can complement any pretty piece! Combine it with paper beads for a more involved jewelry making for kids session.
5. Mermaid Necklaces by Mama Papa Bubba
These seashell necklaces are so clever – and kids will have fun going crazy with that glitter!
6. Suncatcher Necklaces by Homegrown Friends
Combine skills and get super creative with these suncatcher necklaces! Kids can really get creative while making these, and learn a little science too.
7. Snake Necklaces by The Educators Spin on it
Making these creepy crawly charms takes some mad play-dough skills, transformed into polymer! Show kids how the same things they create for play can be made “for real”.
Jewelry Crafts for 6-7 Year olds
At this point, kids can definitely start making jewelry that LOOKS REAL but requires very basic techniques, with an adult finishing it off. Think outside the box at this age – friendship-style bracelets that require drawing on beads to make it “personal”, painting elements of jewelry making, and more as you’ll see in the projects below.
So essentially, you’re using skills they already have (painting, coloring) and combining them with slightly more refined stringing to make an actual pretty piece that they can gift!
At this age, kids can also get started making more sophisticated-looking clay jewelry such as seashell necklaces with cool textures.
More jewelry making for kids ages 6-7 year olds:
1. Perler Bead Earrings by The Thinking Closet
Get a bit of a 90’s vibe with these fun colorful earrings that use Perler beads in a sweet jewelry making craft for a change!
2. Folded Paper Bracelets by Picklebums
Combine paper artwork with origami and jewelry making in these fun folded paper bracelets. I can see 6-7 year olds making piles of them in their spare time.
3. Bonfire Necklace
This bonfire craft makes a great starter jewelry making craft for kids! It’ll teach them just how cool results can be with very simple clay shapes.
4. Sand Dollar Necklace by The Life of Jennifer Dawn
Can you believe that this sand dollar necklace is actually kid-made? Learn how by clicking the link above. You can make it more kid-friendly by just using more playful beads and adding color – but either way, this is a great gift they can make for others.
5. Storytelling Necklace by the Educators Spin On It
This necklace was made to go with Goodnight Moon but you can use this idea with any book! It’s great for reading comprehension and can be made as a bracelet too.
6. Coded Name Bracelets by Mama Smiles
Learn a little binary code by making a unique name bracelet using regular beads!
7. T-shirt Bracelets by Family Food and Travel
Turn trash into treasure and upcycle old t-shirts with these fun and colorful braided bracelets. Kids will want to stack ’em so you’ll want to plan for them to make a few!
8. DIY Fabric Beads by Happily Ever Mom
No glue fabric beads are a great way to jumpstart fun beaded jewelry. These were made in a holiday color scheme but of course you can adapt this for any color scheme.
Jewelry Crafts for 8-10 Year olds
I’ve taught children as young as eight to start with jewelry making techniques such as finishing a bracelet, or making a loop, and connecting the earrings, and the clasp.
I’d keep the rest of the craft simple, but creative, so that you can focus on the main skill at hand. You’ll especially want to keep in mind the specific skill level at this point: can this child follow directions carefully? What is the dexterity level of this child?
A great craft to start with is this bracelet (you can offer a variety of ribbons instead of leather cord).
Another fantastic jewelry making hobby for kids is to make your own friendship bracelets! They’re cheap, occupy hours, and so much fun.
This is a great age to still focus a lot on the “outside the box” aspect of jewelry making, using crafts that incorporate basic crafting skills (such as painting) and gluing.
My book How to Make Jewelry Out of Anything is perfect for starting out with at this age. It features out of the box ideas that are quirky and colorful, and will grow with your child!
Want to see a sample project?
These watercolor doodle earrings are so fun and open-ended. If your kid can doodle, it’s a great way to combine skills.
More specific ideas for jewelry making for kids ages 8-10 year olds:
1. DIY Seashell Earrings
Teach about gluing jewelry with seashell earrings and other basic jewelry making activities. This pair is very basic but you can take it a step further by challenging kids to figure out on their own what can work as a glued earring.
NOTE: most jewelry making projects at this point that use glue will use E-6ooo or an epoxy, which is industrial strength. If you don’t want to expose such young children to it at this stage, use tacky glue or something similar. It won’t be as strong, but it will stick for a while.
2. Snowman Earrings
Simple stacked bead “snowman” earrings can be made in any color to be worth throughout the year – they don’t HAVE to be snowmen. I’ve made these with children as young as eight years and they are a fantastic way to teach the very first jewelry making skills.
3. Leather Fringe Necklace by Dear Creatives
This boho look will grow with the kids and teach your kids a little bit about measuring for jewelry making projects!
4. Paper Quilling Flower Pendant
Paper quilling is a very basic paper crafting skill and this paper quilling flower pendant makes use of that in cool jewelry making for kids workshops.
5. How to Make a Gimp Bracelet
Learn to make a Gimp bracelet with three simple techniques that actually lie flat nicely. This is a great step toward/variation of friendship bracelet knotting. Watch the video:
6. How to make a Zipper Bracelet
Zipper buckle bracelets make a great fidget toy too! You may want to encourage them NOT to go to school… Watch the video:
Jewelry Making for Tweens
This complicated age, where they’re too big for toys, but not quite out and about yet, is the perfect time to get them involved in jewelry making for kids!
They should basically be able to learn most skills, if they are good with their hands. If yes, make projects that teach more skills, such as bauble rings like this one, and a wire wrapped pendant.
If not, go for open-ended basic beading projects, using nicer, more “real” looking beads, and fishing line or classy elastic cord.
Try things like these wire wrapped bracelets too – they are fun, without requiring a high level of skill.
More specific ideas for jewelry crafts for tweens:
1. String Wrapped Hoop Earrings
String wrapped hoop earrings add a fun twist to knotting jewelry! The knot is a pretty basic macrame knot and the result is super cool. Watch the video:
2. Zig Zag Friendship Bracelets
Taking friendship bracelets to the next level, especially when finished off “professionally” is another great way to make jewelry when you’re a preteen. These zig zag friendship bracelets are tres chic and perfect for that – and I believe the most popular Moms & Crafters project to date!
3. Druzy Earrings
Druzy jewelry are trendsetters, and these faux druzy earrings are made from scratch using glass glitter! The process was thoroughly tested so make sure to follow the instructions for best results.
4. DIY Felt Pendant
Hand stitched a gorgeous layered DIY felt pendant and get creative with color! Bonus: you’ll gain some basic hand embroidery skills.
5. Hair Tie Bracelet DIY
Constantly stuck without a hair tie? This hair tie bracelet DIY is going to be the talk of all your tween’s friends (and yes, your tween will be kept busy making a few for everyone).
Jewelry Making for Teens
The things you can make are endless! My favorite jewelry making workshops were with teens, as they get so creative, aren’t afraid to go a little crazy, and have the same skill level as adults.
You can start to teach wire skills at this age, such as how to wire wrap stones without holes, or basic hammered heart pendants.
Don’t stick to traditional jewelry crafts and beading! One of my favorite crafts for making in a teen workshop (especially where it’s a one-time thing, and people don’t necessarily know the basic skills) is my glitter blocked cuffs.
More ideas for Jewelry crafts for teens:
1. Fringe Hoop Earrings
Form your own hoops to make these super cool fringed hoop earrings!
2. DIY Metal Stick Earrings
Or, craft some elegant stick earrings using your favorite beads – a cool way to learn how to make DIY metal earrings and basic metal working skills.
3. Wire Wrapped Hearts
Try making some wire wrapped hearts and turning them into pendants (or even keychains) for loved ones!
4. DIY Beaded Earrings
These DIY beaded earrings are a little next level because I used a more advanced technique: wrapped loops. It’s still a very classic (and not very complicated) jewelry making skill to know, and therefore perfect for teens. The trapeze style adds a fun twist.
5. Feather Earrings
Feather earrings are way too edgy for me but your teen will rock the look – especially in 90’s neon.
6. How to make tassel earrings
Combine basic wire wrapping with a touch of sass in this fantastic tutorial on how to make tassel earrings.
Jewelry Making Books for Kids & Beginners
To finish off, I thought I’d share with you some beginner jewelry making books, in case your child wants to take things to the next level, or wants more ideas.
Jewelry making is a topic that I cover often! You can subscribe for free to my weekly newsletter so that you don’t miss a single one.