Zipper Tape Necklace

comments (41) April 20th, 2010     

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_nikki_ Nicole Smith, contributor
Love it! 36 users recommend
Zipper tape is easy to mold and combine into any shape your heart desires.
Zipper tape is easy to mold and combine into any shape your heart desires.

Zipper tape is easy to mold and combine into any shape your heart desires.

Photo: Jack Deutsch

Zippers are popping up everywhere these days as designers explore the possibilities of transforming them into rugged yet chic design elements. Here, you can put your design skills into action by coiling and wrapping zipper tape into a chunky standout necklace. You can use separating zippers or buy zipper tape by the yard from your local fabric store. It’s easy to sculpt the look shown here or adapt it to any style you like. This project doesn’t require a sewing machine and is a cheap and stylish way of using up extra notions in your sewing stash.

What You'll Need:
Hand needle and thread
Hot glue and glue gun (optional)
Poster board or a dress form
Separating zippers: 24-inch-long gold (6) and 24-inch silver (1)
Straight pins
Toggle necklace closure

1. Prepare the zippers. Unzip all the zippers, cut off all the top zipper stops, and remove the sliders. 


2. Form the shape. Holding three or four zipper tapes at once, start to mold them into the desired shape. Pin the zippers in place on poster board or on a dress form. 

Mold three or four zipper tapes at a time to form the shape.

3. Add more zippers. Add zipper tapes to create the desired shape. Keep pinning them as you go.

Add more zipper tapes to create the shape you want.

4. Taper the ends. Make the necklace’s center-back taper down to one zipper on each end.


5. Sew the zippers together.
Join the zipper tapes with hand stitches or hot glue. Secure them every inch along the necklace.


6. Sew on a closure. Hand-sew one half of a toggle necklace closure to one necklace end and the other half to the other end.


excerpted from SewStylish Spring 2010, p. 94

posted in: necklace, sewstylish feature, zippers, zipper tape

Comments (41)

neilreyes writes: Wonderful.
Posted: 1:50 am on December 19th
Deonna writes: I have been cutting zippers out of unwanted clothes just to make jewelry. I could see doing this in different colors to match an out fit. This is awesome!!
Posted: 9:18 pm on December 30th
curlyrachel writes: nicole, i love it! very creative and bold way to take something we don't often think about and work so hard to hide, and make it a focal point!

as for the complaints: please remember that just because YOU don't like something doesn't mean it's not stylish or beautiful. it's your opinion, one of many.
Posted: 1:14 am on August 3rd
kaytet writes: wow, what has happened to craft stylish? all that community stuff just went right out the window huh?
nikki, i think this is really cool. i work for a large retailer that sells some crazy awesome jewelry and we would totally buy this and sell it for 300 bucks.
just because you don't like it or wouldn't wear it doesn't make something ugly. it's just not your taste. this is probably a little more cutting edge than what a lot of people are used to- i can see it going over very well in brooklyn.
i like it and would totally wear it.
Posted: 12:19 pm on May 8th
Reinanegra writes: I agree with some of the other comments...This is supposed to be a forum for expression. As someone who's new to the community I am SHOCKED that so many people are being so harsh and unsupportive. I think it's great that we're being exposed to new forms of our craft. Think back to when you started. I'm sure at one point in your life someone made fun of the fact that you had on something that was homeade or "uncool". The purpose of us posting our ideas and creativity here is to abolish that way of thinking. I personally LOVE the necklace. If you're truly an artistic person, you'd learn to make it your own rather than scorn it.
Posted: 2:17 pm on May 7th
sofun2sew writes: I does look like a snake! Maybe in a color other than brown it wouldn't look like that. Can't say as I would make it for myself, but younger gals are into different jewelery than me.
Posted: 10:31 pm on May 1st
petunia4141 writes: Good grief! I did one of those "double takes" and then started laughing hysterically. Come on!! This isn't creative. Just because something is labeled "stylish" doesn't mean it is. Has anyone read "The Emperor's New Clothes"?
Posted: 11:38 pm on April 28th
lwagner53 writes: Somebody keeps deleting my posts. I wonder why. This thing looks like a SNAKE around her neck. I am very disappointed with this issue. Its full of stuff that is just not a good idea.
Posted: 10:55 am on April 28th
allaboutpaws writes: love it love it love it. i am going to do this as a DIY for the library craft classes i teach! good job nikki!
Posted: 11:00 pm on April 26th
rwilk writes: I agree with most posters that this particular design is not something most of us would wear. It is WAY too heavy and weird for most occasions. I have, however, seen some very nicely done zipper tape embellishments - flowers, simple swirls or ruffles - that look terrific attached to a purse or jacket. Just look upon this necklace as a tutorial and come up with your own idea for jewelry or embellishments. Zipper tape CAN make quite a statement and be done in a way that suits your own personal style beautifully.

I'm thinking of combining zipper tape with hardware store finds, beads and/or embroidery. And now there is an image in my head of a swirly corkscrewish earring that I must attempt. I have only to uncover my stash of zippers and some time to play with them. Time, there's the rub...

Thank you for the inspiration!
Posted: 10:58 am on April 26th
sews4fun writes: I for one would like to apologize if my remarks caused hurt feelings. I would like to rephrase what I said and put it like this: It's not for me, I wouldn't wear it but that doesn't mean someone else might not find it quite unique. For the record, it didn't look like a snake to me, it looked like one of those collapsible garden hoses rolled up into a coil. I don't know that that will help any but there it is. As far as the negativity on this blog, I guess the comments could have been a bit more charitable, including mine but I think there is a certain requirement for a thick skin in the design world because everyone is not going to love all of your stuff all of the time. I can tell you, I have been told to keep my daytime job more than once. That being said, I think I will try to keep my opinions to myself a bit more often or at least try to put them in a postitive light if that is possible.
Posted: 4:40 pm on April 23rd
icm58 writes: I think this is a very stunning piece! Have plans to make it myself. I will say I am very stunned by the depth of the negative comments and how nasty they are. Fine to say you don't care for something or don't like it, but "spit in my coffee"? Not so sure I will ever post any finished products on this site if the folks who are viewing and writing are so crass and rude....In fact, I am certain I won't be...

FYI: I have seen similar items and uses of zippers in jewelry, scarves, sandals, and $3000 bags (Nordstrom,Nieman Marcus, Bendel's to name a few) and the designer of this piece has a clear read on style and obviously knows her stuff. Edgy and sophisticated! Great job! And thanks for sharing it!
Posted: 4:56 pm on April 22nd
CostumeMichelle writes: I think this is an inventive transformation of a utilitarian object. I would be proud the wear this as a statement piece - it is whimsical and sculptural!

I understand that this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but some of the nastier comments on here really change my opinion about this community. I thought we were here to encourage each other's creativity. I often see things on here that I don't personally care for, but I would never be so unkind as to write what some of these posters have written. If you don't have something nice or helpful to say...well, you know the rest.

The great thing about CraftStylish is that the projects range from the traditional to the avant-garde. I now feel a lot more hesitant to share my work on here after reading through the comments of these self-appointed critics.
Posted: 2:28 pm on April 22nd
thimble46 writes: I took one look and screamed, "You have got to be kidding me!" I think you can do better.
Posted: 9:08 am on April 22nd
theemptynest writes: Ok....When I first got the e-mail about making a zipper tape necklace, I did not bother to look since I am not really a fan of that style. I logged in this morning and thought " I'll just take a quick peak, the designers here are always so creative. Maybe they managed to make this look pretty and not cumbersome"..........I took one look and about spit my coffee out! Is it me or is this heavy and clunky looking and very overwhelming on this poor model. Then I read the comments and I felt validated. Try not to take the comments too personally Nikki...this was just not one of your best creations and your readers are just being honest.

The comment box is here for a reason and we are just doing what Webster says...;-)
Websters Dictionary
noun : a remark expressing an opinion or reaction

Would you rather we all be dishonest and say it is beautiful...I would not want that..I appreciate the candor. I look forward to your next creation (designers on the runway are not always the best influences)

Posted: 7:28 am on April 22nd
irishwings writes: I too agree-It looks like a snake around her neck.It is very big and clunky looking.Jewelry is an accessory and an enhancement to what a person wears.This is NOT eye-catching in a nice way but rather an eye sore.I don't think anyone is being disrespectful or rude but rather voicing their opinion That is why there is a comment box!!
Posted: 1:26 am on April 22nd
deaneemom writes: i dont usually leave comments...... but this screamed UGLY - SNAKE!!! and when i started reading the comments i got it right. However if you used this idea as piping or to create pleats in fabric it might be really pretty in an industrial type way....
Posted: 11:23 pm on April 21st
xenadome writes: I must say this zipper necklace looks like a brown snake. I hope someone out there can make a better looking one than that.
Posted: 11:09 pm on April 21st
tmms writes: Hmmm.... I get the email newsletter, but I have never felt the need to join before. However, this begged for a comment. This is not something that real women would wear. It certainly attracts attention, but just as certainly is not attractive. It fascinates in the same way that car accidents and fires fascinate. It's creepy. I ran it past my two teen-aged daughters, just to make sure that I wasn't allowing my innate middle-aged geekdom to cloud my fashion sense, but we are all in agreement - this necklace is abominable.
Posted: 9:12 pm on April 21st
csmeja writes: Neat idea. I might like one scaled down a little.
Posted: 6:36 pm on April 21st
nmt60174 writes: This is why "home made" gets a bad rap sometimes. You would only have to wear this once, because everyone would
be laughing or pointing at you. Yuk!

Can't we do better than this?
Posted: 5:39 pm on April 21st
deemorrison writes: this is hideous. a complete waste of time and zippers. this site has zipper necklaces that are actually quite beautiful
Posted: 5:32 pm on April 21st
Labradoodle writes: I know that people are wearing crazy things, but this is beyond crazy. It is UGLY!!!!Sorry to the designer.
Posted: 4:36 pm on April 21st
tessi writes: Hi! Me again!

I realized when looking at the various posts, that I sent "links" which weren't really links!!

Here is what I SHOULD have sent:

Posted: 3:37 pm on April 21st
bebrown writes: Yeah, I agree. Probably one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. It does look like a snake all coiled up and ready to strike. Just because something is seen on runways doesn't mean it's meant to be worn in the real world. Even the model that shown wearing it doesn't look too happy.
Posted: 3:21 pm on April 21st
KayakChickee writes:

Check out this woman in Finland who also makes these wonderful zipper necklaces. She shares links to other designers who are doing equally amazing things with zippers. No, this is not an orignal idea, it's a DIY. I don't care for the extra large clunky ones myself because I'm petite, but I could imagine something styled smaller.
Posted: 3:13 pm on April 21st
liudadovy writes: I think it is pretty hideous: kind of reptilian around the neck! A justification for its' "beauty" is that it is trendy, and that celebs are wearing them, and that they gave appeared in fashion magazines! Displays in galleries are not always pretty either- but hen I am a classic kind of gal.

Posted: 3:10 pm on April 21st
bubblebear writes: Yeah EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 3:03 pm on April 21st
Konni writes: All I can say is "Oh".
Posted: 2:53 pm on April 21st
_nikki_ writes: Hi all,
I personally love the necklace and have worn it out before. I'm currently working on making a smaller-scale one for myself to wear more often. While at the photoshoot, the stylist actually tried to buy the necklace from me and while I was out in Brooklyn, I had numerous people ask where they could find one.
Moral of the story here is that everyone has their own personal style, and while the necklace may not be mainstream, some people love it. -Nicole
Posted: 1:42 pm on April 21st
PatRutten writes: oh for ugly!!!!!
Posted: 1:32 pm on April 21st
mcinva writes: I am with the others on disrespect meant to anyone...even if it is showing up on the runway or red carpets or is not a very practical or attractive item at all. Celebrities are paid to wear things like this or given the item for free...doesn't mean we have to like it and I saw no disrespect, just honest reactions.
Posted: 1:24 pm on April 21st
Sassymedusa writes: Wow, I can't believe how negative these comments are. This necklace is just a take on the very popular zipper tape trend. It can be big and bold like this, or smaller and more delicate with different color combinations. You don't have to make things EXACTLY the way they look in the picture- anyone on CraftStylish should know that. How about giving someone credit for getting creative?
Posted: 1:23 pm on April 21st
Superdude writes: Personally, I think this is stunning. And this is not Nicole's original idea, she is simply showing us how to make something at home that looks like the accessories showing up on the runways. One of the pioneers of this style is Kate Cusack ( and, and her work has been featured in many magazines, worn by celebs and displayed in galleries.

Of course I don't think that everyone has to like the same things, but I think that some of the early comments here are disrespectful, both to Nicole and to the people who WOULD wear this.
Posted: 1:07 pm on April 21st
gauchogran writes: I agree with all your other people today. I thought this was a snake around the ladies neck. AWFUL!!
Posted: 1:05 pm on April 21st
pattypuck writes: I agree this one is not what I would wear BUT... I bought a a black top with matching zipper trim and a lavender purse with matching zipper trim both have the zippers formed into flowers and I like them very much.

so maybe if you saw the trim on an article shapped differently -you might like it
Posted: 12:44 pm on April 21st
tessi writes: Sadly, I have to agree that this is just not something I would ever wear. It is too big and too clunky!

I have, however, seen many other examples of turning zippers into jewelry:

/Users/marsha/Desktop/Zipper brooch:belt2.jpg
/Users/marsha/Desktop/Zipper brooch:belt.jpg

Perhaps a focal piece made from the zipper and then attached to some purchased chain would be less overwhelming in size.
Posted: 12:43 pm on April 21st
sews4fun writes: DITTO!! Can you imagine the looks and the snide remarks you would hear if you were stupid enough to wear this mess out in public? Most of your stuff is top notch and I rarely see something I don't like, this however, is just plain ridiculous! Even the model looks like she's saying " you have GOT to be kidding me!"
Posted: 12:42 pm on April 21st
vickiec writes: OMG, I thought it looked like a snake! If this was April Fool's Day, I would have thought this was a joke. Hideous!
Posted: 12:38 pm on April 21st
celtica98 writes: I concur, it is quite awful. I think the problem is the heaviness of it, I would scale it down a bit, then maybe it would be a fun piece. Otherwise, it is not on my project list!
Posted: 12:32 pm on April 21st
HisChildBeth writes: Personally, I think this is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. Just because you are looking to be original and/or recycle a pile of zippers that you found at the thrift store, this is not it!

Most of the time your ideas are attractive, but this is not!
Posted: 12:10 pm on April 21st
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