DIY Chew Necklace
Working in a community-based non-profit, I have become pretty crafty and frugal with supplying sensory tools. One tool that is requested frequently, but beyond our budget to supply, is the chew tube. So I did some brainstorming and came up with my own version of a chew necklace. First, I reached out to plumbing supply companies to find clear vinyl tubing that was FDA approved, food quality, and durable enough for chewing. I found this item, and it was quite inexpensive, about forty cents a foot! I did have to buy a whole spool to save on shipping, but this spool has lasted years!
Then I thought about what material to make the necklace out of that might look natural, so that kids of all ages could use this chew necklace, without it being an obvious sensory tool. It also needed to be durable, and of course, affordable, so I went with faux leather lacing. To make the necklace, I simply braided the leather lacing and added 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces of tubing on at regular intervals, and voila! a hand-made inexpensive chew necklace! Here are my step-by-step directions if you want to try this for yourself or your CHEWER!
~clear vinyl tubing, 1/4″ diameter, cut into three to six 1 – 1.5 inch pieces
~leather lacing, about 6 feet
1. Cut one piece, your preferred color to about 4 feet. Cut the second piece to about 2 feet.
2. Fold the longer piece in half, and make a knot at the fold, incorporating the shorter piece into the knot.
3. Tape it down, and begin your braid.
4. Add on one of your pieces of tubing and then continue your braid.
5. Continue to braid and add pieces, ending with a longer braid, similar to that at the beginning of the necklace.
6. Tie a knot by making a loop and pulling tight, This knot will fit through your initial loop to close of the necklace.
Now that your necklace is done, I would love to share with you why these chew necklaces are so beneficial!
Many of us have habits that provide oral motor input that help us to feel awake or calm, depending on what our bodies needs. Going to a stressful meeting?, chewing gum or biting on your straw can help you to feel calm and in control. On the other hand, going to a boring meeting? popping a chip in your mouth or sipping ice water can help pep you up. Some of our kids and teens that struggle with regulating their bodies haven’t learned these little tricks that we have. Instead, they may chew slash destroy their shirt collars or bite their fingernails. If they are going to chew, why not give them a strategy that can be discreet and helpful?
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