DIY: Upcycling a Necklace into a Panja Ring-Bracelet

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Diy upcycle necklace to panja

My style changes. A lot. The same charm necklace I fell in love few years ago now sits in the corner of my jewelry box, gathering dust. For today’s DIY, I decided to transform a simple necklace into something über trendy: a panja.

But pray tell, what is a panja? They go by a lot of different names, though most would recognize it as a ring-bracelet combo (because that’s what it actually is!). It also goes by many other names, like a hand harness, armor bracelet, or hand flower. Now that you know what a panja is, I’m going to show you a super-easy way to DIY one – let’s get to it:

Materials

Materials DIY Panja

  • Simple charm necklace (look for one with multiple small charms)
  • Jewelry pliers (the essential three, shown from left to right: wire-cutters, flat-nose, round-nose)
  • Ring base
  • Strong glue (I used a glue gun, but crazy glue or E-6000 works too.)

Step One:

Step 1 DIY Panja

Using your jewelry pliers, completely disassemble the necklace. Most jewelry charms are connected to the necklace chain with jump rings (little wire circles), which can be easily be opened (as shown below) by gripping one end with round-nose pliers, and prying it open on the other end with flat-nose pliers. The same motion is used to close them.

Pliers jump ring

Step Two:

Step 2 DIY Panja

Wrap the now-charmless necklace chain around your wrist and secure the clasp so that the chain fits somewhat loosely. Using your pliers, detach and remove the rest of the chain. My jewelry chain was comprised of larger chain links, so I could simply remove them by opening up the jump rings (see step one). Thinner and/or finer chains can be cut with wire-cutters.

Step Three:

Step 3 DIY Panja

Drape the rest of the chain onto your hand. Measure a length of chain from the bracelet to around the base of your finger. Again, detach this from the rest of the chain.

Step Four:

Step 4 DIY Panja

Attach a larger jump ring to this end of the chain. Attach this to the bracelet portion. I find that the bracelet is easiest to remove when the clasp is on the side of the hand, so I positioned it so it’s “halfway” down the bracelet chain when clasped.

Step Five:

Step 5.1 DIY Panja

Pick several charms and connect them to the jump ring. The photo below is how your panja should look after closing the jump ring.

Step 5 DIY panja

Step Six:

Step 6 DIY Panja

Almost finished! Glue another charm onto a ring base (make sure the charm has a loop for a jump ring). Connect the ring to chain that’s connected to the bracelet.

The Finished Product:

Finished Product DIY Panja

That’s it – You’ve created a trendy panja out of an old necklace! Feel free to play around with embellishments different combinations of chains and charms.

Feedback please:

What do you think about panjas, or body jewelry/unconventional jewelry in general? Would you do this DIY? Are there DIYs you want to see the tutorial for? Let me know in the comments!

13 thoughts on “DIY: Upcycling a Necklace into a Panja Ring-Bracelet”

  1. Nice DIY….
    But I think this is one trend that people will look back on and think, why did I ever wear that?!…just like the 90s fad of gluing a gem to the corner of your eye.

    Reply
  2. @Lauren:

    Only time will tell. Many old trends that people find horrifying often surfaces a few decades later. Remember how everyone shunned at all that neon and craziness from the 70s? They’re back! I find that body-jewelry is a nice subtle way to be a little edgy, make a little statement. Fashion trends are too short lived to play it safe.

    Also, I find that the techniques in this tutorial may be more important than the actual DIY. Just my own opinion. Thank you for your comment!

    Reply
  3. @truebluemeandyou

    Thank you back! You know what a huge fan I am of you. Strangely enough, it’s not very mainstream where I am, which is ironic, since my town prides itself on being hipster.

    @Jaclyn

    I don’t like to use the term “slave bracelet” I think it’s a little offensive. Though bravo for being ahead of the trends, and I agree, it really depends on how it’s styled.

    Reply
  4. @Jaclyn: It’s strange, because I haven’t heard of that term until I read about it on truebluemeandyou’s blog. Most sites I’ve seen these referred to them using the terms I mentioned above. And thanks 🙂 The idea came to me after I re-fashioned a necklace that my little sister’s ex-boyfriend gave to her (lol).

    Reply
  5. @Sarah M.

    It might be because I took Sociology and Women’s Studies in college, they make me go crazy at everything that can be perceived to be culturally insensitive/inappropriate, which I know that the fashion world does a lot and we’ve just taken some things to be the “norm.” I won’t rant too much, but I’m glad you liked the tutorial, hopefully you’ll love your own custom pieces!

    Reply
  6. @BS Look I’m sorry for bringing this up, I didn’t mean for this to be a debate. The way I see it, “panja” is the culturally-appropriate term therefore it is not offensive (for example, you know those traditional Chinese garb? I am ethnically Chinese, and I want people to refer to them as “QiPao” not something that has negative connotations if you know what I mean), versus the topic of slaves and the whole social hierarchy thing is a touchy issue here in the United States, and that is usually the first thing that Americans think of when the term “slave” is used. Some food for thought for you.

    Reply
  7. Also, I’m sorry if my first comment seemed like it was vitrolic! That was not my intention at all! I also didn’t realize “slave bracelet” was such a touchy term, as I had always heard it called such in the context of BDSM. I didn’t mean to start a debate either. I hope my second comment clarified my originally-intended point.

    Reply
  8. So much angst and over-thinking. This is Gramma’s take on it: It is a beautiful piece of DIY jewelry. The tutorial was first class. I will make one. That is all.

    Reply
  9. I also know them as slave bracelets, and I kind of like the edgier tone that comes with it! lol-well depending on who I am talking to! Regardless of the many terms these adorable creations are known by, I absolutely love this tutorial and this jewelry piece. I always wished that this would have caught on in my area but it never did. My mother gave me one when I was about 13 that has hearts styled like the yin & yang symbols with real Amethyst and Mother of Pearl. The attached ring also has a heart yin & yang symbo and there is a beautiful heart ” flourish” design that sits on the top of my hand. It has an antique look and is one of my most cherished material possessions. I rock it out when I need something to make an outfit more me. Thank you for this tutorial! I so love my mother’s gift, and I cannot wait to make my own custom piece!

    Reply
  10. Regarding the use of “slave bracelet”. I think the Refinery29 artice is pretty good: “Some “slave bracelet” makers contend that the term actually refers to the fact that the attached ring is chained to the bracelet in a “slave” relationship. The historical origin of the term escapes us, but we venture to guess that it’s a nod to a general pre-Byzantine aesthetic of adornment probably found on harem slaves… but forgive us for feeling that, even with the obvious physical relationships and the 1,500 years between us and the reference, using the word “slave” as a descriptor still feels spectacularly inappropriate.” I’ve never seen the panja linked to the BDSM community so I was surprised that that was even brought up (and I’ve been following jewelry trends for a long time). The refinery29 article is here: http://www.refinery29.com/slave-bracelet-meaning There are so many articles about the “slave bracelet” debate and I’m thinking if this smacks of slavery in anyway, then why use the term that is so hurtful to so many? I’m surprised by the vitriol I’ve seen on this site.

    Reply
  11. “Slave bracelet” refers to a kind of jewelry within the BDSM community, whereas “panja” refers to a kind of jewelry worn in India. That means the first term makes this LESS “insensitive/inappropriate” than the second, as the second could imply cultural appropriation, whereas the first simply refers to a subculture. Just some food for thought, since you said that things that are “culturally insensitive” bother you.

    Reply
  12. I make these as well, but call them slave bracelets. I own a very pretty antique one from a yard sale. I got it for seventy-five cents and got several compliments that day. I got it about 3 years ago and still wear it regularly. They can be very elegant or punk rock, it all depends on how you style it.
    <3 Jaclyn

    Reply

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