We have not reinvented the wheel, fabric tube necklaces have been around for years using anything for cotton balls, Styrofoam, plastic, wood & glass beads or even marbles! Recently my friend Trisha from Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Girls shared a finished necklace she made as a teething necklace for her daughter who is just a few months younger then Kenzie. What is a teething necklace? It is a piece of jewelry for mom or baby to wear that is safe for teething, fussing kiddos to chew on. I saw it and realized she was brilliant, instead of using one of many other harder or varnished covered options she used just regular 100% cotton fabric and unfinished wood beads to make a quick easy all natural teething necklace! Not only that hers turned out cute & I had ideas for my own so I made some up as well as a tutorial to go along with them. I highly recommend prewashing your fabric. Why? Not as much for shrinkage as there are a lot of chemicals on new fabric & I rather not have that in my babies mouth. These are also GREAT for kids with sensory disorder like SPD, Autism & conditions that often lead to kids needing something in their mouth often.
I was so excited about it for so many reasons. #1 being that I can get everything at my local craft store!!! Even at the higher prices of the tiny store I was able to make 3 for the price of 1 of the amber teething necklaces that are popular right now. With fabric as the color it leaves SO many color/style options and I can make them to match clothes I sew. Finally I saw the possibility to make it not only as a teething necklace, but changing the closure up it is more kid friendly if it is to get caught while playing and if you have smaller & bigger kids like me it has all the beads securely enclosed which means I don’t have to worry about trying to beat the baby to the beads that flew all over the floor when my 2.5 year old broke another one of the twins pieces of dress up jewelry.
Tutorial: Fabric Tube Necklace
GREAT Natural Teething Necklace
1 or 2 3″ X WOF (44″is) pieces of 100% cotton fabric prewashed.
Mix of 1/2″, 5/8″ & 3/4″ unfinished wood beads or balls (I like to use 7-9 total)
Metal or Plastic snaps & snap pliers/press (you can sew them together if you want as long as they are long enough)
Large crochet hook, chopstick or other turning device
Sewing Machine, Scissors & Ruler
**Reader Q&A about supplies at the bottom of this post.
STEP 1: Cut your fabric. For a longer necklace you can sew 2 strips together at the skinny ends. Then with WRONGSIDE out fold you 3″ strip in half making it just 1.5″ and sew the long seam & 1 end closed using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
STEP 2: Using your turning tool start at the CLOSED end and turn you long strip rightside out. When finished clip off the sewn end so you have 2 open ends of the tube.
STEP 3: Fold your tube in half to find the center, then slide you hand over 1″ and tie a regular knot making sure to pull it tight. You should now have 1 slightly off centered knot.
STEP 4: Now put your center bead in the tube on the side that is slightly longer. Push it all the way down to the knot, then tie another knot right above it making sure to push the new knot down towards the bead while pulling it tight. If your knots aren’t relatively tight you will loose length.
STEP 5: Repeat this process adding 1 bead to each side of the center bead.
Continue this until you have added he desired amount of beads/reached your desired length. For this necklace I used 3 of the 3/4″ in the center, 2 of the 5/8″ on each side followed by 1 of the 1/2″ on each end. It made a finished necklace that is approximately 23″ from end to end.
STEP 6: Match up your beads & trim your ends so they are even & check the length on you making sure you don’t need to add or remove beads. Then fold them IN 1/4″ and topstitched closed using a 1/8″ seam.
STEP 7: Following the directions with your pliers/press insert your snap. I used Babyville Boutique snap pliers, you can find them as well as their plastic snaps at places like JoAnn’s. If it is just for an adult & is big enough to go over the head you can sew them closed, but I prefer the snaps because they are easier to get on & off at times & for children they are much more likely to release/unsnap if they caught on something. As with all things around the neck you should n0t leave small children unsupervised with them.
DONE! Now you have a fashionable all natural necklace that is perfect for babies, kids (boys AND girls), moms, grandma’s & more! You can make a variety of sizes and layer them or wear them alone. Also using varieties of different sized beads also gives a nice variety. Shorter ones make great bracelets too! The ones in the picture below are 17″, 20″ & 23″ from end to end when unsnapped. The medium & smaller one have just 1/2″ & 5/8″ beads.
I may not be able to answer all questions but here are a few that I think many people would like to ask/have answered.
Tisha: I have a question, I’m not a big fan of the thought of kiddos chewy on hard wood beads…what are softer things you could use in them?
EYMM: My 2yr old doesn’t actually chew on them, for infants & toddlers the firmness is what soothes their gums & why things like the necklaces for moms & wood teething toys are so popular. I don’t know of any nontoxic bead like items that are softer though… you could always wad up small balls of 100% cotton glue free batting? If stuffed with something soft & absorbent you may run into issues with it not washing well and bacteria problems, which is another reason for wood beads.