How to Make a State Necklace {DIY}

I’m pretty sure many of you have seen those state shaped necklaces floating around the Interweb for the past couple years.  I’ve looked into them and debated purchasing, but the $50+ price tag always gets me.  Don’t get me wrong, I support handmade items, but I’m a cheapskate when it comes to certain things (she get it from her momma), especially things I can DIY.  When I start making my millions I’ll by handmade like it’s my job.  Until then, I’ll save my $50 for our electric bill and attempt to make my own.

In attempt to make my own state shaped necklace, I did a little researching last night and found a great tutorial on the blog, V Juliet.  I had everything I needed so no trip to the store was necessary.

Here’s what I used:
22 gauge wire (JoAnn)
round nose pliers (JoAnn)
wire cutters (JoAnn)
masking tape
outline of Indiana (found here)
card stock (Walmart)
chain necklace (Etsy)

I started by searching Google images for an outline of Indiana.  Then I scaled down the image to 2″ by 2″ in Photoshop and printed it onto card stock.  I grabbed my wire and made a loop at the top for the necklace with my round nose pliers.  My loop wasn’t made using a specific looping method.  But if you YouTube search “simple wire loop” you’ll find a bunch of examples.   Plus, it’s easier to watch a video than to try to decipher photos.  Make sure you make a big enough loop to feed your necklace through.

After I made my loop, I started to trace my Indiana shape with the wire and my round nose pliers.  I used masking tape to secure the wire as I went along.

For the Ohio River part of my state, I gently bent the wire with my round nose pliers.  Sometimes I would hold the wire in place with the pliers and bend the wire with my free hand.  Trial and error, people, trial and error.

Be careful when doing twists and turns.  If you put too much stress on the wire it will snap.  Here’s your proof:

After tracing the state, I removed the masking tape.  Then I made a couple loops around my original loop and cut the wire with my wire cutters.  Since I was putting this on a necklace, I gently turned my loop to face the opposite direction so the pendant would look right once I fed the necklace through the loop.

Full disclosure:  I ended up making five Indiana shaped pendants.  Proof that not all bloggers get it right the first time.  The pendants are placed in chronological order– from first to last attempt.

More disclosure: it took me 5-10 minutes to make each pendant.

I like how the rose gold looking pendant (#2) turned out, but I didn’t have a matching necklace on hand to go with it, so I decided to make a sterling silver plated one.  I finally got it on the third try.  I envy all of you who live in states like Colorado.

It turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.  I plan on making some for Christmas gifts, and keeping one (or more) for myself.

Will you dare to give handmade on Monday morning for Dare to DIY: give handmade?  Need some extra inspiration?  See how KimMichelle, and Rachel gave handmade.

What do you think about the whole state shaped necklace craze?
Think you’ll attempt this DIY project?

I’m sharing this at the following parties: Home Stories A to ZTatertots and JelloHouse of HepworthsThe Shabby Creek CottageTidy MomLiz Marie BlogCraftomaniacThe Shabby NestPositively SplendidWhipperberryFunky Junk InteriorsClassy ClutterToday’s Creative BlogUncommon DesignsLive Laugh RoweMiss Mustard Seed, and Serenity Now.


  1. Hill says

    This looks so cute…but being from Colorado don’t you think it would look like I’m just wearing a rectangle around my neck, not a state? I don’t think anyone would “get” it.

    • chelsea says

      You know, I thought about that. I bet if you lived in Colorado other people might know since they’re used to living in a square-ish state. I guess I should be happy that I live in a distinguishable state. :)

  2. says

    That looks perfect! Utah would be so easy. But this looks intricate and I’d probably ruin it. I’ll just admire yours. Very nicely done! This will make such a neat gift.

  3. says

    This is super cute! I don’t wear necklaces but would totally hang one on my xmas tree or hang one in a shadowbox with pretty paper behind it. Now my wheels are turning…

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. says

    This looks totally cute! I’d do it but Maine has a pretty crazy coastline and I feel like it would be so difficult to do… so I’ll just spend my money supporting another handmade business person/crafter and get one made for me. :)

  5. Mari says

    LOVE this idea! I think yours turned out great! I live in Maryland, which is probably next to impossible. I was born in DC though, which will probably be easier :) (except for the Potomac river of course).

  6. says

    Oh my god this is BRILLIANT. DEFINITELY doing this in the next few weeks. I feel your pain though, I live in California so my state necklace will probably be just as hard!

  7. says

    Seriously amazing! This is the only time I wish I lived in a square state. Don’t think I could pull off all the curves! I have no clue what I’m doing for Monday. Wish me luck. I may attempt some jewelry now…we shall see.

  8. says

    I pinned this today and tried it tonight. I would have to say that this borders on life changing:) One minute I cant even bend wire into an “L” and the next I made something resembling Michigan. I would love you to check it out and let me know what you think. I used 20 guage wire and I wonder your thoughts on different gauge wire. What about sterling silver wire? This was my first wire project so I am curious. I want to make just an Upper Peninsula now and a Portugal:)

    Thanks so much for the great instructions from the real side of crafting:)

    • chelsea says

      Holy smokes! You did an awesome job! Michigan is super curvy too, so major props for navigating all that business.

      I would stick to 20-22 gauge wire. If you go too thin it will bend too easily, and if you go too thick you’ll have a tough time bending the wire. I used silver plated copper wire for attempts 3, 4, and 5. You could definitely use sterling silver wire instead of the plated wire.

  9. says

    Very cute! I’m just waiting for my Illinois version in the mail. You know, I want to help you practice. 😉

    I think you should wear them all at the same time. Like a charm bracelet. But with all the same charms.

  10. says

    Anyone getting such a great-looking and personalized gift would be thrilled! Excellent tutorial too, now I want to try this soon!
    Love it!

    Linking back from dare to diy

  11. says

    Very cute (and thanks for showing us attempts 1-4)! Most of my family/friends are in Minnesota & Wisconsin – those states may prove to be a bit of a challenge.

  12. says

    The Ohio River really makes things tough. I cut out a state of Kentucky. I swear Kentucky is the most jagged, crooked state there is. Plus, a part of it is technically in Missouri. How do you do that!?! I need to make an Indiana necklace for my bestie who moved to Clarksville and then when we put ours together the states connect. I should make a Second Street Bridge, too :)

  13. says

    Totally awesomeness. I think Michigan would be to hard to…having two Peninsulas and all. I don’t envy people that live in square shapes, I can point to where I live on my hand (bigger loser its all good) but for this project I think the straighter the state the easier.

  14. says

    Hey! I must be close to your neck of the woods! I live in North Central Indiana (Michiana). I seen your necklace shape on HOH and HAD to come check it out! I may just try making one of my own…southern Indiana might be a killer though. 😉

    • chelsea says

      You are close to my neck of the woods! I currently live in Indianapolis, but I grew up in Michiana. My family still lives up there. You should definitely make one!

  15. says

    Whoa. I’ve been reading you for ages but didn’t realize you were a fellow Hoosier! I grew up in a teeny town about an hour south of Indy. :)

    I really love this idea!! I think I’d like to make Indiana, Illinois (where the hubs is from), and Texas (where we live now) and put them all on together. Thanks for the tutorial!!

    • chelsea says

      Yep! Born and raised. I grew up in Northern Indiana, but I live in Indianapolis now.

      I like your idea of making the different states and putting them together! Let me know if/when you do it.

  16. Karin says

    My state is Flori-duh so I guess I’m in for a real journey when I try this. Note to self: take meds before 1st attempt. Great inspiration, thank you!

  17. says

    Hi! I just made my home state of Florida and a friends, New Jersey! Your instructions are great!
    Here’s my problem…my wire is 22 gauge…and it bends so easily. How do you keep it from bending while wearing it? If it comes in contact with anything, it surely will become misfigured.

    Any suggestions?


  18. Shannon says

    I LOVE these necklaces, but you’re right they are expensive! I think your tutorial is the second I’ve seen but yours is much simpler I feel. However, I live in Maryland. The Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay, and Atlantic Ocean make it a daunting task!

  19. Kitra Woodall says

    Amazing job and a big THANK YOU for the full disclosure 😉 I appreciate in ways you can’t imagine! The last bent wire project I tried was a cursive script of my name that turned out like a one armed blind monkey made it lol. I live in Ohio, which like Indiana at least has two straight sides but is wiggly on top and bottom, but I think I can do it! On the 5th or 6th try! Whoever said that the”3rd times a charm” couldn’t have been a crafter :)

  20. Jane Thomas says

    Love how you stuck with it until you got one that worked. I like the silver one, but am partial to the rose gold. If you think your state was hard, I live in Louisiana. That should be fun and games. :-)

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