Here is a fun project to make a lightweight necklace in any shape or theme that you like. The hardest thing is waiting for each step to dry. I made two necklaces - a blue sea shell themed one and a red fish one.
The project requires cross-stitch canvas from the fabric store, gesso and acrylic paints. The cross stitch fabric is sold in the embroidery section. It comes folded into a square. You do not need a lot of cross stitch fabric to make the necklace.
The first step is to take the canvas and paint a layer of gesso on the top side. The gesso is a primer and will increase the thickness and stability of the fabric. Work the thick gesso into the canvas, using either a foam brush or a pallet knife or even a popsicle stick. (I don't like using paintbrushes, because even a speck of dried gesso will ruin a brush.) Let the fabric and gesso dry. Gesso dries faster than paint, so it doesn't take long. Then, do the same thing on the back side of the fabric.
After the gesso is dry, start sketching your images. I chose simple to cut, rustic images and sketched them on with a pencil. Then, I went over them with marker. You can skip this step - but I wanted to be able to see the images well. Then, slowly cut out the gessoed shapes. You will feel what a difference using the gesso makes, as the shapes will be stiff and the canvas fabric won't fray.
Then comes the fun part. I added lots of layers of acrylic paint. I used the inexpensive acrylic paint that comes in a bottle and sells for $1 each container. Don't be afraid to mix colors. Add some lighter colors in the center of your shape to give dimension to the image.
Here I made a rustic starfish.
And then I combined them with jump rings and added them to an old chain. I also had a stray earring that I added that happened to be the same color blue!
I did a similar thing using a fish shape and the lots of red paint.
Same procedure, I added color with acrylic paint.
I added some more and punched a hole in the top to be able to string the fish.
Then, I added some more paint to created a bit of detail. It was a very rustic shape and I like that it is abstract. The shape is what dictates the image, not the details.
And this fish, I hung on a chain and used an capiz shell for a background. That stray earring came in handy again. There I have something fun to wear with a tank top, tee shirt or beach cover up.