BIRTHDAY pARTy: Chanel-Chic Pearl and Ribbon Jewelry


BIRTHDAY pARTy: Activity 4

Chanel-Chic Pearl and Ribbon Jewelry

Theory & Practice : Supplies : Preparation : Action : Results : Printable Card

Theory & Practice

When I think of Chanel, I think of two things: suits and pearls. (I suppose we could add handbags and perfume to this list, but I’m not that type of girl). Since we weren’t about to start a sewing workshop in the middle of a craft-packed birthday party, I thought about making some sort of jewelry for the day.  Browsing the local dollar store, I found a rack full of small packets of good-sized plastic pearls, the perfect beginning!  Next, I gathered some stretchy jewelry cord, spools of gauzy coloured ribbon, and some paper plates, and I headed straight to the check-out counter.  The total cost of the craft supplies maxed out at $20 for the lot. After some hijinks during the experimentation process (i.e. spilling beads everywhere, and repeatedly), I had a plans for us to make both a double-stranded bracelet and a single-stranded necklace on the day of the party.  _____________________________________


$Store Package of Plastic Pearls
1 per guest
Gauzy Ribbon
2 – 1/2M/18in lengths per guest
Stretchy Plastic Jewelry Cord
1 – 17in/43cm length per guest – bracelet
1 – 24in/61cm length per guest – necklace
Paper Plate
1 per guest
Plastic Cup
1 per guest
Roll of Masking Tape & Pen
1 Bottle of Dark Nail Polish

Avery Labels printed with each guest’s name
Ziploc-style Bags 

Optional Loot Basket for all Activities 
9x12in Plastic Basket for each guest
Avery Label printed with each guest’s name


First, I labeled a set of clear plastic cups with labels printed with the name of each guest. Then, I filled each cup with a packet of beads and two strands of ribbon, each about 18in/46cm, give or take an inch or two. As I had different colours of ribbons, I figured that it would be best if I disseminated the colour choices before the girls arrived so there would be less “grabbing” for a favourite hue. [I made sure to give the white ribbons to some of the younger girls who will be making their First Communion at the school this year, just in case they wanted to doll themselves up on the big day.]

Next, I prepared “beading boards” for the girls by taping two lengths of plastic stretchy jewelry cord, one 17in/43cm, and one 24in/61cm to one edge of a paper plate, leaving just about 1in/2.5cm of each cord beyond the tape. [The picture to the left shows pink Avery labels doing the job, but masking tape will work much better – I had to replace those pink labels before the party because they came loose when tugged]. I used a pen on the tape to designate which strand was for the bracelet and which for the necklace.  Then, I used nail polish to mark a starting point just by the inside edge of the tape, and I placed another dot of polish at a length of 15in/28cm from the first for the bracelet and 22in/56cm for the necklace. This leaves about 1in/2.5cm on either side for tying.

I placed the prepared cups and plates in a plastic tub with a pair of scissors and some extra jewelry cord. I set this on the sideboard next to the three other craft buckets. Later, I added a box of $store ziplock-style bags to the supplies, in case the girls needed to take 1/2 of the project home with them – as they did.

Optional Loot BasketThe week before the party, I picked up a 9x12in basket for each guest at the dollar store and placed an avery label with their name on one of the handles.  I had these stacked in a pile at the outset of the party. These came in handy as a place for the guests to deposit their finished crafts after we’d finished each one.  Towards the end of the party, I snuck in the pre-wrapped Take Home Craft, and I placed their plastic-wrapped Mini Action Painting in this bucket, too.  This way, each girl went home with a basket full of goodies.   _____________________________________


For the Bracelet

After handing out the cups of beads and ribbons and the beading boards to the guests, they got to work on their bracelets, stringing pearls from their cup onto the plastic cord. The cord was thick enough that the girls needed little or no guidance.

When a guest had finished,I asked her raise her hand so I could help her tie the bracelet strand in an oval using tight knots. Since the jewelry cord is plastic and stretchy, you really need to pull tight to keep the knots firm or else the beads cascade all over the table and onto the floor in their merry little way.

If this were the necklace, one would stop here, tying a knot and bow with the gauzy ribbon wherever one wanted along the strand.

Continuing on with their bracelet-making, with the knot at the top of the oval, the girls flipped one side of their oval over so as to form a figure eight.

Gathering the two tips of the figure eight together, the girls tied a knot and bow from tip to tip (i.e. NOT in the crossed section but on the loose edges).

Unfortunately, we ran out of time for the necklace. We were overdue for our cupcakes and juice. So I had the girls insert their ribbons and beading boards into a ziplock-style bag. They poured the remaining beads in, sealed the tops, and placed this necklace-half of the project into their loot baskets with their finished projects.  It was about that time I added the Take Home Crafts and the wrapped-up Action Paintings to their baskets, too.

Of course, I included a set instruction cards for all of our activities in their loot baskets, so they were able to make the necklaces with their parents at home. I’ve seen a few on the playground, since. They must have been a hit! _____________________________________


The full-length necklace is pictured first, followed by the finished bracelet, then, to mix it up,  a shorter necklace made with the bracelet-length string of beads, and, finally, the necklace and bracelet hanging on a old-fashioned framed photo of my daughter’s great-grandparents on their wedding day:



Printable Card

Here’s the text of the printable Chanel Chic Pearl and Ribbon Jewelry Index Card I sent home with the guests.


Supplies: Stretchy Beading String, Pearl Beads, Ribbons, Tape, Ruler, Plate, Nail Polish 

Tape 2 beading strings (17in for the bracelet and 24in for the necklace) to a plate, one inch from the edge of each string. From the tape, measure 15 in for the bracelet and 22in for the necklace, placing a drop of nail polish at your finishing point. (Done already). Thread your beads onto the beading strings until you reach the polish mark. When you reach this mark, STOP and ASK FOR HELP!

For the bracelet: ASK FOR HELP tying the strings together in tight knots and trimming them with scissors.  Place the bracelet on the table in an oval with the knot at one of the far ends. Flip one edge of the oval over to form a figure 8. Join the top and bottom of the 8 together. With a ribbon, tie a knot and a pretty bow attaching the bracelet together at those far edges and over the beading-string knot.

For the necklace: ASK FOR HELP tying the strings in tight knots. Anywhere on your necklace, knot the ribbon and tie a bow.




Coco Chanel was a famous fashion designer from Paris, France. Actually, she was a fashion pioneer! Before she became a designer, women wore long heavy skirts, tight, uncomfortable corsets, and itchy lace blouses. Chanel helped change all of that!  She designed comfortable and stylish clothing women could wear for both work and play, like slim, short skirts and stream-lined suit jackets.  She is well known for her suits… and also for her signature pearl accessories! Coco was famous for giving ladies the advice that they should always “take off” one accessory (a bracelet, a ring, a scarf, or a chain) before they left the house – because she thought that simple dressing was chic and sophisticated. Still, you never saw her without at least a string or two of pearls around her neck or wrist!

CHIC (pronounced “sheek”) = stylish, elegant, smart, posh, fashionable, or dressy!!


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