Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Variations (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Variations Tutorial - by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Variations (Tutorial) by Rena Klingenberg

Question: If you start out with a mismatched pair of rustic copper washers, how many different necklace looks can you create?

Answer: The sky’s the limit!

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

In this tutorial, we’ll make our rustic copper washers and then explore ways to use them in necklace designs.

Make Your Rustic Copper Washers

My larger washer is 5/8″ size, and the smaller is 1/2″ size – purchased from Harbor Freight.

Rustic Copper Patina - Before and After

In the photo above the washers on the left are nice and shiny right out of the package.

On the right, the washers have an interesting patina created simply with boiled eggs.

For the Patina:

Follow my easy tutorial, Oxidize Sterling Silver and Copper with Boiled Eggsbut . . . for this project, my washers developed the color I wanted in about 15 to 20 minutes.

So keep a close eye on your washers as they oxidize.

After your patina process, when your washers are thoroughly dry, you can preserve your patina color using a clear, matte-finish spray lacquer – three light coats of lacquer on every surface of the metal, drying each coat thoroughly before applying the next coat.

Turn Your Washers into a Pendant

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I stacked the smaller washer on top of the larger one, and put them on a fairly large jump ring.

(If you’re not sure how to open a jump ring, see my quick tutorial, How to Open and Close a Jump Ring.)

Your jump ring will also need to accommodate whatever chain or cord you choose to use for your necklace.

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Ideas

Now it’s time to go wild with your jewelry supplies and come up with creative ways to turn your lovely, colorful pendant into a necklace!

First, you might simply want to hang it on a rustic chain:

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here I’ve used a large aurora borealis crystal bead as a dangle, layered over the washers:
Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here I’ve hung the pendant on a brass neckwire I wrapped with red chenille fabric (see my easy Fabric Wrapped Choker Necklace tutorial):

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here the pendant is strung on a triple strand of choker-length chain:

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Here it’s on a comfortable, rustic leather cord, from my Leather Choker for Pendants tutorial; this look is especially great on both guys and gals:

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

And here the rustic copper pendant is on a dark suede cord. A second jump ring attaches a faux seaglass bead to the bottom of the smaller copper washer:

Rustic Copper Washer Necklace Tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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  • Lynda says:

    Fabulous tutorial, Rena! Love that you share so many variations on this one technique.

  • Diana Redlin says:

    Hi Rena,
    I’d like to thank you also for all your ideas when using just one component piece.
    I think I will be trying your patina to some of my own washers. That look is just what I have been lacking on a bunch of washers I’ve collected over the years.
    Happy Holidays to you :}

  • Thank you, Lynda and Diana! That’s lovely to hear, especially from such accomplished jewelry artists. Wishing you happy holidays too! 🙂

  • Pauine says:

    Hi Rena
    I’ve never tried this process before but I’m considering trying it on some steampunk styled jewelry. I was wondering about the lacquer you use. Can you use modpodge. (I have a gloss one) I also have Crystal Kote which is a picture varnish (again it’s gloss) for oil and acrylic paintings. Would that be of use?
    Thank you!

  • Hi Pauline, I’ve never experimented with using mod podge or crystal kote for sealing patinas. The best way to find out is if you test each of them on a separate scrap or “guinea pig” sample of the metal you want to use for your project, that you don’t mind messing up – and see what happens. Then let these test pieces sit out in the open air for a month or so (or however long it usually takes for metals to tarnish where you live), and keep an eye on them to see how these methods work for you.

  • Sue Shade says:

    I just love how you have done these in so many looks. Great ideas that will catch the eye of many different age groups.

  • Pam says:

    Love this tutorial. Just tried the boiled egg patina process on some copper washers that I purchased. Left them in with the eggs for about an hour but some of them barely got any patina at all? Can I repeat this with the same batch of washers or do you think there’s something else going on that they won’t develop that beautiful rich patina as shown in your pictures. Please help!

  • Thank you, Pam! You should be able to do the patina on the same washers again. But first I would scrub the washers really well with baking soda and dish soap, to be sure there are no oils or other stuff on them that may resist the patina the second time around. Also, I get best results when the eggs are really HOT right out of the boiling water, and crush them up (shells and all) in the bag with the clean, dry washers waiting for them. Good luck!

  • pauline says:

    Ahh I had a similar problem. I’d washed the washer but perhaps needed the baking soda. I’ll use an old toothbrush next time.
    I tried modpodge but it just peels off so I’m experimenting with the spray gloss stuff for paintings at present. If it doesn’t stick I’ll look for something suitable for metal!

  • I was introduced to Renaissance Wax. It goes on with a Q-tip and Here in Arizona (very dry) seems to last a long time. Purchased mine on Amazon. You might try it for your climate.

  • ARTantana says:

    WOW!! What cool ideas…a must try for me. Have a great 2016


  • Keri says:

    Wow! I never would’ve thought to age new washers like that. The result is fabulous!

  • Kathleen says:

    I had no idea you could do that. The necklaces are so pretty. Love them.

  • Linda says:

    Rena.. wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year. Keep up the awesome tutorials! Pinned this post to my Jewelry board. Your friend, Linda @Crafts a la mode

  • gigi says:

    That is such a gorgeous patina Rena!

  • Jennifer says:

    Wow, I just love these. So pretty and creative.

  • What a creative way to reuse materials from around the house. I like the look of these and think they would work with many outfits. Nice project ideas! Glad I found you.

  • Elaine says:

    I love all of the variations!! Who would of thought something you could pick up at a hardware store could make such a pretty necklace!

  • Carol says:

    Brilliant! Love the original and all the variations.

  • Erlene says:

    How neat that a patina can be created with eggs. Never knew that!

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