Painted washer necklaces

This post is way overdue since my girls made these necklaces back in December to give to their friends as gifts.  But these spunky necklaces would make a great gift any time of the year, and also make a great rainy day activity.  I came across this idea in Family Fun magazine and instantly knew my girls would not only love to make these, but I also loved how inexpensive these would be to give as gifts.  

To make these colorful necklaces you will need:
  • metal washers (between 10 and 20 cents a piece at the hardware store)
  • a spool of skinny ribbon
  • nail polish in a variety of colors (we headed to the dollar store and bought colors we didn't already have)

The magazine article suggested doing a coat of white or yellow for a background, letting that dry, and then painting a design on top.  My 9 year old daughter understood that process a little better than my 6 and 4 year olds, but it actually didn't turn out to be a necessary step.  Most of our necklaces ended up with a top coat of glitter nail polish for the finishing touch.

Here's a quick shot of what some of our necklaces ended up looking like in the end.  My two younger girls just didn't know when to stop.  They were having such a fun time using the nail polish that I had to tell them when enough was enough, and swap out their colorful creations with a new blank washer.  We had to let a few of them dry overnight because of all the layers of paint.

My 9 year old got the idea to create a double-layered look by using two different sizes of washers.  I love her coordinating patterns on this one:

My girls really loved using nail polish to create their own wearable masterpieces.  While my 4 year old had a blast doing this, it was definitely better suited for my 6 and 9 year old girls.


  1. those are so cute! What a great idea. These would be fun to make at a birthday party or other party. So cheep too. I may be making these with my kids for mothers day.

  2. Very cute! How long did these take to dry?

    1. If the nail polish is allowed to dry between each color and layer, it would take about 10 minutes. If the nail polish is applied thick with many wet layers (like how my 4 year old did it), I would allow 30-60 minutes.

  3. Did you clean the washers with anything specific, before applying paint or polish? I'd be concerned that there might be oils from the machine stamping that would make the paints not stick well. A quick cleansing wipe with non-oily polish remover or acetone (let Mom do it) might save some frustration.

    1. Actually, since I purchased the washers from a home improvement store there were no oils at all in the washers. I didn't clean them at all before painting on them. And the paint is still on every single one we still have. I suppose you would need a degreaser of some sort if you found your washers had an oily residue.



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