This quick, easy and hell-of-a-lot-of-fun DIY has been done by many and you can find some great video tutorials on YouTube, but we wanted to bring it to you with a special Travelettes spin.

This is the perfect DIY to re-use and up-cycle an old T-shirt that was maybe worn out on a round the world adventure or in my case, didn’t wash too well with a bright red vintage silk shirt. (Oops.) This is actually a DIY that you can do on the road while travelling too as you only really need a pair of scissors.

Materials: Old T-shirt or vest top, fabric scissors and chunky rings to bling it up a bit (optional).

Tips: Cut out any labels inside your top before you begin and choose as T-shirt or top that doesn’t have side seams as this will mean smoother threads in your necklace, though below I do show you a way to cover  these up.

Firstly lay your top our flat and chop off  a 1 – 2 cm section just above above the bottom seam. Keep hold of this for later.

Secondly cut across the top in approximately 1cm strips (you don’t need to measure), stopping just above the opposite side .

You will need to leave about an inch at this seam. Do this all the way up to just under the armpits of the top.

You won’t necessarily be needing that top part of the T-shirt so put that in your scraps pile for another project.

Your top should know look something like a hula-hula skirt!

Now comes the fun part. Pull and stretch out the strands you’ve just cut so that they become thinner, roll up and look more string like.

At this stage I chose to cut the top in half giving me two separate necklaces to make as I wanted to vary the lengths and style a bit. This is optional.

Then gather up all the strands at the top seam, you should be able to see your necklace coming together now.

Use part of the bottom hem (which you put to one side earlier) to wrap around and cover up this area so the necklace will sit smoothly on the back of your neck. Tuck the ends in so they’re hidden.

That’s one necklace done! Nice one! High 5!?

If you want to add a bit more style and glamour to your necklace you can now play around with it a bit. With the other half of my top I chopped the strands near the top on one side and plaited groups of three strands together. This is a great way to cover up where a side seam once was, rather than having them all hang at the bottom of the necklace. Before I then retied them back to the top of the necklace using double knots, I poked the necklace through an old chunky gold ring, which I used to cover up where I retied the plaits. I also used one of the strands to wrap and cover up the tops of the plaits.

You could add many more rings here or even sew on some sequins or other blinging bits. I also stretched out some of the strands in my necklaces more than others to give a bit of a gradient and more of a layered effect.

Now you just need to wear it… Enjoy!

Happy DIYing!


This post was written by Frankie Thompson who was a Travelette from 2012 – 2015. Originally from London, UK, Frankie was nomadic for several years before settling in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she lives with her Australian partner and baby boy. She spends her time buying vintage dresses, riding a rusty old bike around the canals and writing books inspired by her travels. Frankie blogs about travel, writing and motherhood at As the Bird flies blog.