I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve shared a craft with y’all, but looking back at my archives, it’s only been about a month and a half since my hand embroidered sweatshirt tutorial! Regardless, here I am to share another super easy and super quick project with you — a DIY mask lanyard!
Before we get going, all the masks featured in the post are from Gap. The green one above is sold out, but the floral and leopard ones down below are still available.
DIY Mask Lanyard
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m now back in the office one day a week. I’m really enjoying matching my face masks with my outfits and collaborating with teammates. However, I’m also enjoying removing my mask here and there when I’m alone at my desk and the nearest person is 20-30 feet (if not way further) away. When I take my mask off, I enjoy having it super close by, which is where a mask lanyard comes in super handy!
Not only are mask chains + lanyards handy, they can also be super cute! After seeing a coworker with a beaded lanyard from Amazon, I got the bright idea to start making my own.
You may not know this, but back in the day (we’re talking elementary and middle school here), I really enjoyed jewelry making, and it was my craft of choice. I still have all my old jewelry supplies, so I was able to whip up a lanyard (or five) in no time at all!
If you don’t have a bunch of jewelry supplies on hand, that’s totally okay! You’ll only need a few things to get started!
- Beads (You can use glass, plastic, wood, or whatever else you have on hand! I’ve used ivory pearl, black pearl, black glass, blue glass, and more.)
- Beading wire or fishing line (I used fishing line all the time for jewelry projects when I was growing up!)
- Crimp beads (gold or silver)
- Lobster claw clasps (gold or silver)
- Crimp bead covers (optional, gold or silver)
- Wire cutters (These can be directly from your toolbox. Fancy jewelry making tools aren’t necessary)
- Needlenose pliers (These can be directly from your toolbox. Fancy jewelry making tools aren’t necessary)
- Measuring tape or ruler
Before we dive into the instructions, I want to apologize now for my hands in these photos! I have a cut on my finger and my skin is very dry! I apply hand cream every single night and am working to improve their current appearance! LOL
Mask Chain: How To
Start by measuring and trimming your beading wire. I’ve made five mask lanyards so far and will be honest, each of mine is a different length. However, based on my research (looking at the lengths of mask chains for sale online), you should aim for your final lanyard to measure between 24-27 inches long.
So for clarity’s sake, trim your beading wire to 29 inches just to give yourself a little wiggle room. It’s easier to work with wire that’s too long than wire that’s possibly too short.
Next, we’re going to add the first lobster claw clasp and finish off the first end of the lanyard.
Start by stringing one crimp bead and one lobster claw onto the end of your wire like you see above.
Once your crimp bead and clasp are on your wire, fold the wire over and thread it back through the crimp bead. This will create a loop in which your lobster claw can move back and forth (see above right).
Continue to pull the wire through the crimp bead until the loop is very small and your lobster claw has very little room to move. Now at this point, you want your loop small, but you will want the lobster claw to have a little room. The loop should be big enough for the lobster claw to flop over a bit on it’s own accord without you having to force it over. If the loop is taut around the base of the lobster claw, loosen it a little bit.
Once your loop is juuuust right (totally kidding. Don’t fret over perfection. If you make a few of these, you will get into a groove after doing this step a couple of times), take your pliers and crimp the crimping bead.
If you’ve never used a crimp bead before, all you need to do is gently close your pliers over top of the bead to flatten it out. After you flatten your crimp bead, your wire should not budge at all.
The left photo is what your crimp bead should now look like.
On the right, we’re going to grab a crimp bead cover and get ready to add it to our project.
I find crimp bead covers to be slippery little rascals (no joke, I dropped at least seven of these while making my lanyards), so I recommend pliers with teeth if you have them. They seem to do a better job of gripping the crimp bead covers.
Pick up your crimp bead cover just like I’m showing in the left photo. and slide your wire + crimped bead into the opening. Once your crimp bead is within the hollow part of the crimp bead cover, gently close your pliers to bring the two sides of the crimp bead cover together.
When the two sides of the bead meet, they will from a sphere and somewhat of a protective shell around your crimp bead and wire.
This portion of the project is completely optional. If you find the crimp bead covers too slippery, you can totally leave them off! The point of the cover is to create a more polished look, but I’m here to tell you that your mask lanyard will look fantastic with or without the cover. Tons of people make gorgeous handmade jewelry and never even touch crimp bead covers.
Now, it’s time to *finally* start beading!!
Grab the “open end” of your beading wire and begin threading 5-6 beads.
When you move your beads from the top, down to your finished lobster claw clasp at the bottom, you’ll notice that you have a little extra tail of wire.
Simply use as many beads as necessary depending on the length of your tail and the size of your beads (I used five) and thread the little wire tail through those beads like I’m doing on the right. Thread your beads until the tail is completely covered.
As Dory likes to say, just keep stringing, just keep stringing!
For this lanyard, I added my beads in three sections. The first and third sections (the two on each end and closest to my face) were made of black pearls. The second section (the one that will be hidden by my hair) is made up of black glass beads.
I had these black pearl beads in my stash but didn’t have enough for a full lanyard, so I added the black glass beads in the middle as a way to stretch the pearls and make them work for this project. As you’ll see, the end result is sophisticated and works really well!
You can do that same thing if you don’t have enough of your favorite bead on hand OR if you find some beads you really like at the store but they’re super expensive. Plan to buy 2-3 strands of the expensive beads and then 1-2 of a less expensive coordinating bead.
Once all your beads are strung (24-27 inches of beads), it’s time to finish off your mask lanyard and add the final lobster claw clasp.
What we’re going to do now is similar to what we did in the beginning with a few small tweaks.
First, string a crimp bead and a matching lobster claw.
Just like earlier, fold your wire over, slide it through your crimp bead, and create a loop for your lobster claw.
Gently pull the wire through your crimp bead to make your lobster claw loop smaller.
Now, this is where things change a little bit from earlier.
Take your wire tail and begin threading it through your already strung beads. We’re now doing the inverse of what we did earlier when we threaded beads onto our wire tail to hide it.
Thread the tail through 4-6 beads and then begin pulling the wire taut.
To eliminate any gaps, I recommend using gravity and holding your entire lanyard in the air. All your beads will fall to the bottom of your wire, meet the first clasp, and eliminate any loose wire or gaps between beads.
Once you’ve done that, gently pull on your wire tail until the loop around your lobster clasp begins to tighten. When it looks similar to your first clasp, stop pulling.
If at any point your wire starts to gap, hold it back in the air and continue to gently pull the tail. You may need to use your fingers to push your beads around until you get them how you want them.
When your loop is taut, it’s time to trim the excess wire tail.
Take your wire cutters, and trim the extra wire as close to the beads as possible.
After trimming, your tail will look somewhat like the left photo. Use your fingers to tuck the tiny tail into the bead below it.
Once the tail is tucked, it’s time to make your final crimp!
Use pliers to gently mash the crimp bead and lock your other beads into place.
Now, pick up a crimp bead cover and get ready to complete your new DIY mask lanyard!
Gently close your pliers over the crimp bead cover to lock everything into place.
Ta-da! You’re all done and now you have the cutest DIY mask lanyard! Get ready to rake in the compliments when you wear this baby around!
Like I said above, I’ve made at least five DIY mask lanyards over the last few weeks! They’re so easy to make and the results are adorable!
This one I made with these gorgeous ivory pearls I got at Michaels.
And this one is made with the sweetest light blue beads!
If you make a DIY mask lanyard and share it on social media, don’t forget to tag me @pinkbowstwinkletoes! I’d love to see what you create!
Looking for other mask craft? Check this out – Easy DIY: Hand Embroidered Face Mask.
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