Freckles in April: DIY Morse Code Necklace

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DIY Morse Code Necklace

I've seen a few Morse code necklaces around and love the idea (I just googled it and apparently Anthro had some for a while). I filed it away in my brain box as a possible DIY project and then there was a day last week when I was going to lose my ever-loving mind if I didn't get out of the house so I grabbed the kids and we made a trip to Hobby Lobby.

This SHOULD be a quick and easy DIY as long as you learn from my mistakes. It took me an hour to do necklaces 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 (including a few minutes of swearing and shaking my fist at the heavens in between iterations) so I'm thinking probably only 20 minutes or so. Really. It's fast and easy.

A note before I jump in: I am not a jewelry making person. Honest. I was standing in Hobby Lobby going, "I need a bead that like..smooshes. To hold stuff together. HEY! Crimping beads! That sounds good." So this tutorial probably has glaring construction issues. If you know jewelry making, feel free to leave a comment about how to do this correctly! For example: I feel like I should have used jump rings at some point??

Materials (I spent just under $10):
  • Silk cord ($1.99) - I bought 2 but if I hadn't screwed up a couple times then one pack would have been sufficient. The one I got is REALLY thin, which made threading the beads easy-ish but I think next time I'll go up a bit in size.
  • Beads ($2.99 and $1.47) - you need dots and dashes. Most of my time at Hobby Lobby was spent in careful consideration of my bead options. I ended up using gold crimp beads as my dots (since I needed them anyway) and short gold tubes as my dashes.
  • Crimp beads ($2.99) - if you don't get them as your beads, you'll still need them anyway.
  • A clasp of some sort ($1.47) - mine are pretty big lobster clasps. In the future I'll use something a bit smaller since they seem disproportionately large next to my fine silk cord.
  • Pliers - already had 'em in my tool kit!
1. Figure out what you want your necklace to say. Mine has Aaron's name, Stinky's name and Baby 2's name. Then hop on to Wikipedia's Morse code page and get translating!

2. Take your silk cord off the card. It will have a bunch of kinks in it. You can either iron it out or pull it through your curling iron or straightening iron. It doesn't have to be perfect. The kinks will relax out on their own eventually.

3. Figure out your lengths. This was where I made my first mistake. In Necklace 1.0 the uppermost strand was choker length. It looked awful and didn't feel great either. By the time I got to 3.0 I had figured out that I wanted strands that were 16.5", 17.5" and 18.5". Go longer or shorter according to your preferences and how many strands you want.

4. The silk cord comes with a convenient little piece of thin wire attached to the end for easy beading. I put my beads for "Aaron" on, pulled them to the end, then cut 16.5 inches off that end. Repeat with the next set of beads and cut 17.5". Repeat with the last set of beads and cut 18.5".

5. Lay out your strands how you want them (make sure all the names are going the same way!). If you'd like, tie a little knot by the outermost beads to keep everything in place (I skipped this mostly because I didn't want it messing with my lengths) then take a crimping bead and poke the threads through. This is where I make the fatal mistake with Necklace 2.0- keep the ends even and do the best you can to keep the threads in the right order.  If you start rolling them around then you're going to finish your necklace and the strands are going to be all wonky and you won't be able to untangle them because they'll be crimped in place. No bueno.

Laid out in the right order and right direction

6. Pull the threads through one piece of your clasp then stick them back through the crimping bead. It's easier if you give yourself a looong tail and get the ends through and then scootch everything back toward the clasp. As not demonstrated in the photo below.

One thread is back through
7. Crimp the bead and trim any ends.

You can see how I kept the threads straight and in the right order when I put them through the bead and then crimped.
8. Repeat on the other side with the other half of the clasp. And you're done!

I had a bunch of extra cut cord laying around from Necklaces 1.0 and 2.0 so I made one into a bracelet. I crimped a bead on each end to keep everything in place in the middle of the bracelet. It says "Let it go."


  1. Oh, I love the idea of names! Perhaps a trip to some craft-type place is in order...sometime.

  2. Excellent. I have seen these around, but I thought that surely they were homemake-able. And they are!

  3. I love how they turned out! Next time I head up to Target, I think I will have to make a stop at Michael's as well. And I love how you used your family's names - vain me would probably have just done my own.

  4. Oh, I love this idea. I'm meeting up with a fellow Boston blogger this weekend to check out Hobby Lobby (I'm a HL virgin. SO EXCITED!!), and I think this might be a good project for me. :)

  5. I love this. I have everything on hand, maybe if I can get a minute to myself I'll make one today. Love the bracelet too!!

  6. oh i LOVE this!! I was just looking at morse code necklaces the other day with my friend... but this seems like a much more, er, frugal option!! I'm gonna have to take a trip to the craft store ASAP!

  7. I am going to make matching morse code necklaces for me and Josephine. ;)


  8. This is really adorable. You did a great job.

  9. Wow, I really, really love this - both the necklace and the bracelet. I love the idea of a coded, personalized message along with their simplicity. And you did such a great job! Now, to pull my non-crafty self together and try to make one!

  10. Totally doing this. Love the look of the bracelet. Nice job!

  11. that's so cute :D i love it!!

  12. What a great idea! I love how you did your husband's and kids names. Awesome. :-)

  13. What a fantastic idea! I'm definitely going to try it. x

  14. you make it look easy, I wanna try! great idea!

    --heather anderson @

  15. this is really very cool! I will have to give this one a go!

  16. Love this! I work at a library, and we do an adult craft night every month. This just made the queue!

  17. I love this. Great job!

  18. My dear, I found your blog by chance, while peeking others and I decided to check it out! I’m glad I did it, because I am really delighted with yours. It's beautiful, well structured, interesting… and it has completely got me hooked. I think we're going to get along just fine! ;) Your necklace is terribly intricate and stylish. What a style winner! I’m your new follower and I’d be very pleased if you like my blog enough to follow it as well! I've also rustled up some DIY clothes.... a beaded friendship bracelet!
    I wish you lots of success and will surely come back often kisses Laura www.coffeetoastandlondon xxx

  19. Totally cute idea. I might have to make one of my own!

  20. I shared your wonderful DIY Morse Code Necklace on my blog. So clever.

  21. HEY! Crimping beads! That sounds good." So this tutorial probably has glaring construction issues.

    1. Oh it absolutely does. This is more about the idea than the execution.


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