The last time I gave handmade gifts to my friends for Christmas I was 11. I hand painted them all little wooden rabbits.
Twenty plus years later I decided it was high time I made another batch of handmade gifts. I first came up with this idea because I wanted to make something ‘bikeish’ for my much missed mountain biking buddy in Reno. After making a bracelet for her I loved it so much I made more. Who knew you could make something so ascetically pleasing out of an old bike chain and some utility cord.
Here are the supplies you will need:
- An old bike chain (I had one out in the garage in our box of spare parts, you can also get used chain at your local bike shop).
- Beading pliers (or something similar).
- Cord Clasps (bought at any craft store, there are a variety of options).
- 3 – 5mm utility cord (bought by the foot at REI, I used 3mm).
- Chain tool (you can get these are discount stores with a bike section, but be aware that the cheap ones, like the one pictured below, are a pain in the you know what).
- A good degreaser.
Here’s a photo of the goods, minus the degreaser.
Step 1: Rip apart your chain. To do this you will need a good chain tool (unlike the one pictured above). Take the chain completely apart until you have a pile of chain parts.
Step 2: Clean. (note that at this point you could go to step 3 and just pull out the chain pieces you’ll need, I washed all the chain peices just incases I wanted to use them for something else later). Put the chain pieces in a tupperware with a lot of degreaser and let them soak. I let mine soak for a few days, but not on purpose, I’m sure a few hours would do the trick. Pull them out, lay them on an old rag and wipe them vigerously. Then put them back in a fresh batch of degreaser to sit some more. Keep doing this until the chain links are all clean.
Step 3: Sort. Pull out all the flat chain links, unless you did this as step 2 (pictured below).
Step 4: Get the clasp ready. Using the beading pliers, take off all the extra chain on the cord clasp (see photos of step 7 to see what pieces you need to keep). Better yet, find a better cord clasp, I know there are more options out there.
Step 5: Cut Utility Cord. Cut the utility cord to the desired length, burn (melt) both ends with a match.
Step 6: String. String the chain links onto the cord.
Step 7: Attach the clasps. Using the beading pliers attach the clasps, one half to each end (as seen below). Note that because I didn’t know the wrist sizes of my friends I sent them with one clasp unattached so that they could adjust the length as needed.
Whala! Your’re done.