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Large and sometimes showy, bib necklaces keep hanging around; tips on making your own

This undated photo provided by Chic Steals shows a bib necklace that uses craft-store charms enameled by Carly J. Cais, who blogs about her DIY fashion style at Chic Steals. The bib necklace – often giant, sometimes sparkly -- started hanging around necks a few years ago, and it’s still here. Sure, they're available in stores, but in typical do-it-yourself fashion, some women, such as Carly J. Cais, of Portland, Ore., would rather craft theirs. (AP Photo/Chic Steals, Carly J. Cais)

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This undated photo provided by Chic Steals shows a bib necklace that uses craft-store charms enameled by Carly J. Cais, who blogs about her DIY fashion style at Chic Steals. The bib necklace – often giant, sometimes sparkly -- started hanging around necks a few years ago, and it’s still here. Sure, they're available in stores, but in typical do-it-yourself fashion, some women, such as Carly J. Cais, of Portland, Ore., would rather craft theirs. (AP Photo/Chic Steals, Carly J. Cais)

Who knew that a bib would get so much adult wear?

The bib necklace — often giant, sometimes sparkly — started hanging around a lot of necks a few years ago, and it's still here.

Of course, some women would rather craft than buy theirs. From buttons to lace, here are a few examples:

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Jenny Chapman of Chowchilla, Calif., has turned her love of buttons into expressive necklaces.

"Buttons are so fun," says Chapman, who scours thrift stores and eBay for them. "When you get them and there's a big jar and you have no idea what you're going to find . it's like a treasure hunt."

She sews each button to a slightly larger disk of black felt and then glues them to a sheet of felt with felt glue, available at craft stores. She allows the ensemble to dry and then cuts around the buttons to create the bib. After that, it's just attaching bails — necklace hardware — at the bib's top two corners to connect an organza chain.

"You really don't need to know anything to make it yourself," says Chapman. "The most time-consuming part is figuring out the buttons, but that's fun."

Find Chapman's Bubble Button Bib necklaces at her Etsy.com shop, Jenny's Trinket Shoppe.

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Carly J. Cais of Portland, Ore., makes clever enamel jewelry using craft store supplies and something new: Martha Stewart Crafts Jewelry Enamel and Enamel Activator. The enamel paint lets you colour metal jewelry pieces in two steps, far easier than traditional enameling, which involves kiln-drying the pieces.

"You get the glossy sheen of enamel without all the hassle," says Cais. "It looks like stuff you could buy in the store but still I made it myself."

First, clean the metal charms with alcohol. Then mix the paint (there are 10 colours) with the enamel activator and let it sit 2 to 3 minutes to thicken before applying it with a toothpick to the charm. Allow the pieces to dry 24 hours to harden, and then assemble charms and filler pieces onto larger filigree squares for support. Attach two jewelry toggles and a chain to the upper corners of the piece for wearing.

Detailed instructions with photos for the DIY Enamel Spring Flower Bib Necklace are at Cais' blog, Chic Steals.

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More bib-crafting ideas pour out of Marianne Canada, host of HGTV.com's web series Weekday Crafternoon:

— Spray paint a large, graphic piece of lace, let it dry, and then attach jump rings and a chain for hanging.

— Using an Exacto knife, cut out a graphic shape from leather or a lightweight sheet of balsam wood, then attach jump rings and a chain.

— Roll fabric rosettes and attach them — with beads, lace, buttons or whatever suits your fancy — onto sturdy backing, such as heavy felt or leather. Finish with jump rings and a chain.

Some of these ideas are pictured at Pinterest, the online images "pinning" board.

While the bib and its relative — the collar necklace — have been trendy for years, they have staying power, says Canada. She looks at the fashion world, where necklines often incorporate rhinestones or other "blingy" accents.

"It's such a nice way to update the more basic items in your wardrobe," says Canada.

Making it yourself lowers the cost and carries bragging rights, too — "being able to say, 'Ohhhh, you like that? I made it,'" she says.

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Online:

http://www.chic-steals.com

www.JennysTrinketShoppe.etsy.com

http://www.hgtv.com/weekday-crafternoon/show/index.html

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