How to Make a Rainbow Pendant

This is a post about how to make a rainbow pendant from simple materials you might already have around your house.

I was inspired to create this piece of rainbow jewelry by all the rainbows that people have been making around the world as symbols of thanks, hope and solidarity during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Even though rainbows do not seem to be nearly as popular today as they were at the beginning of our health crisis, I hope that this post will encourage you to make a few more rainbows to help brighten up our horizon!

Materials and Tools:

Here is the list of the materials and tools that you will need to make this rainbow pendant:

  • 1 Metal washer (I used one of size M10, with an outer diameter of 21 mm (about 7/8″) and an inner diameter of 10 mm (about 3/8″))*;
  • 1 Open jump ring (I used one with a diameter of 8 mm (5/16″));
  • Drill, with a 1.5 mm (1/16″) bit for drilling metal;
  • Masking tape;
  • 1 pen or marker;
  • Embroidery thread in the colors of a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, indigo, and violet);
  • Clear tape which can be easily removed, like Scotch Magic tape;
  • A pair of small scissors, ideally with thin sharp blades and pointy tips;
  • A tool with a narrow flat tip, like a pair of tweezers;
  • Gloss medium, such as Glossy Accents, Modpodge or clear resin.

*Especially if you have sensitive skin, please select a washer that is corrosion-resistant and safe to have in contact with your skin. Among the metals most commonly used for washers, I believe that stainless steel is one of the best options. However, please note that stainless steel often contains a small amount of nickel. Thus, I recommend that you look for surgical stainless steel or titanuim.

Now, let’s begin!

1. Washers usually have two different sides, one with rounded edges (front side) and the other with sharper edges (back side). Cover the side of the washer with rounded edges with 3 or 4 layers of masking tape, as shown in the image. (This is to help prevent the drill bit from sliding while drilling.)

Determine the position of the hole where you will attach a jump ring to the washer. When doing so, keep in mind that its distance from the outer edge of the washer must be smaller than the diameter of the jump ring. For example, my jump ring was 8 mm (5/16″) in diameter, so I decided to make the hole about 3 mm (1/8″) away from the outer edge of the washer.

Then, mark the position of the hole with a pen or marker.

2. Place the washer on a flat surface that is safe for drilling. For instance, a scrap piece of wood would be good for this purpose.

Using a 1.5 mm (1/16″) metal bit, drill a hole into the washer at the mark you made.

When done, remove the masking tape.

Note: If the edges of the hole are rough, you can use a file to smooth them.

3. Twist open the jump ring, and insert it into the newly made hole. Make sure that the hole is big enough for the jump ring and that its position looks good before continuing. If not, try drilling a slightly larger hole or use another washer!

Once your are happy, remove the jump ring and set it aside.

4. Place a piece or two of clear tape onto the back side of the washer. Make sure to completely cover over its center hole.

5. Cut off 5 cm (2″) of one strand of each of your rainbow-colored embroidery threads: red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, indigo and violet.

Hold them together by placing one end of each piece of thread onto clear tape. Be sure to place them close together and in the right order, as shown in the image.

6. Place the tape with the threads on the lower left-hand side of the washer, so that the loose ends of the thread lay diagonally across the washer.

Press the tape down onto the washer, making sure that the thread is securely attached to the washer.

7. Separate the violet strand with your fingers, and carefully shape it into a tiny arch, centering it over the hole of the washer. (When determining the shape and size of the arch, keep in mind that you will be placing 6 more strands of thread above the violet. So, make sure to leave enough room for the rest of the colors needed to make a nice rainbow inside the circular frame of the washer.)

Using a tool with a narrow flat tip, carefully press the arch-shaped violet thread onto the tape inside the washer.

8. In a similar manner, repeat with the rest of the colors.

When done, place a new piece of tape on the right side of the washer to securely hold the shape of the rainbow.

9. Using the tips of a pair of scissors, press the thread rainbow against the tape on the back of the washer to securely hold each thread in place. Then, carefully cut the ends of the threads along the inner edge of the washer, as shown in the image.

10. Remove the tape from the front of the washer. With the tip of a pair of scissors or another pointy tool, carefully press the cut ends of the thread down and toward the inner edge of the hole of the washer. They can even go a bit under the inner edge of the washer if need be.

When done, the rainbow should be nicely shaped inside the inner frame of the washer and firmly attached to the tape, as shown in the second image on the left.

11. Once you are happy with the look of your rainbow, you are ready to fill the washer’s opening.

Fill the center of the washer with a gloss medium, covering over the rainbow as well as the space around it. I used Glossy Accents, and I am quite happy with the outcome! (For more information on different gloss liquids, you may be interested in this article.)

Let the gloss medium dry.

12. When the glossy center is completely dry, remove the tape from the back of the washer.

13. Insert the jump ring into the hole of the washer, and twist it together to close it.

Ta-da! Your rainbow pendant is now finished!

You can wear your pendant as a necklace, a bracelet, or even an earring. You can also attach it to a key ring. Regardless of how you use it, this symbol of hope will accompany you wherever you go!

If you decide to share your creation on social media, it’d be great if you could tag me (@muumade).

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