Make Joan Holloway’s Pen Necklace

Please give a special welcome to my blog mentor, Heather Mann, from Dollar Store Crafts.  It was because of Heather’s encouragement that I started blogging in the first place, and her support has gotten me to where I am.  Many of you are following me today because of her, so I am thrilled to have her posting on Mad in Crafts for the very first time! 



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When Jess said she was celebrating the return of Mad Men with a series of MM-inspired DIYs, I was on board instantly. The next thing I did was call dibs on DIYing Joan Holloway’s Necklace! If you are a fan of the show, I hope you know which necklace I mean! The pretty gold pen necklace, which sends the message that Joan is stylish AND practical.


joan holloway snapping


I kept this project as simple as possible so anyone can make it. The supplies are simple and can be found at your local big box and craft store. Ready? Let’s go!


joans necklace supplies 

Project Materials:

  • 1 pen with a top loop (I used a 4-color Bic pen), $2
  • 1 jar of gold model paint (found in the model car section at my local craft store), $2
  • 1 throwaway paintbrush, on hand
  • 1 jump ring, on hand
  • 1 coordinating chain (about 30″), on hand or about $3 and up
  • Paper to protect your work surface
  • Optional, a pair of needle-nosed pliers (or 2)

Total: $4 and up


About the supplies:

gold model paint


Paint: In the past, I probably would have used spray paint for this project, but thanks to Mich L. in LA, I recently learned about the wonders of gold model paint. I can’t rave enough about this paint. It is perfect for painting on plastic, it goes on smoothly, and doesn’t show brush strokes, and the finish holds up pretty well. In a word, this is going to be a must-have supply for many future dollar store crafts.


Pen: I chose the Bic pen because it is easy to find (I got mine at Target), cheap, and it already has a loop at the top. There is one problem with this pen, though — it is ginormous. If you want a more petite pen like Joan’s, you’ll have to shop around. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head are those mini Sharpies that come with a rectangular loop at the top.


Chain: Make sure you choose one that is proportionate to your pen. In my case, I chose a chunky chain I bought for $2 at my local craft thrift shop Knittn Kitten. You can find chain in your craft store for about $3, or recycle an unworn necklace you have in your jewelry box.


Jump Ring: Just a little jewelry loop used to attach your pen to the chain. If your chain is narrow enough, you can also just pass it through the loop on the pen, but I like the movement allowed by using a jump ring. If you don’t have one in your stash, you can remove one from an old piece of jewelry or buy a small package of them from the craft store for about $3. Again, to keep things proportionate, my jump ring was large — about 4mm. You can use needle-nose pliers to pry the jump ring open, or you can use your fingers.


To Make Joan’s Necklace:

painting joans necklace


1. Lay out paper to protect your painting surface. Paint the pen with the gold model paint and a paintbrush that you are willing to throw away. (I’m sure you can clean it, but I don’t know how, and the bottle of paint didn’t have any instructions on it). I just used a ten cent dollar store paintbrush. The model paint self-levels, so you won’t have to deal with brush strokes, so a cheap brush is fine.


2. Let the first side of the pen dry before you turn it over and paint the second side. An hour drying time should do it.


3. Paint the other side and allow it to dry. It’s okay to paint the little colored levers that release the ball point pens because they still work, even with paint on them. It will just be a surprise which color you’ll get!


joans necklace


4. Open the jump ring, feed it through the pen loop, and then around the chain. My chain is long enough that I didn’t add any closure, so the two ends of the chain come together in the jump ring.


5. Close the jump ring.



Heather is head of Dollar Media which includes all these fabulous sites: Dollar Store Crafts, Décor Hacks, Dollar Store Mom, Crafterminds, and CraftFail.  Make sure you pay them all a visit!

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  1. says

    As a long time jewelry maker and oil painter and crafter with a husband who loves to put model cars together and paint them or has me do it, go figure he’s a guy. They do sell whats called in the same spot where you would buy your model paint, a jar marked “paint thinner” it will be in same size bottle but it will be a clear liquid but make sure you read the lable and it says enamel thinner, if you get that it will clean the paint out of your brushes instead of continuing to buy 10 cent brushes all the time. Also, you could go to your local craft store that sells painting supplies like brushes,paints,canvas boards etc and they have paint thinners to clean brushes in different sizes but if you go that route make sure you get the oderless type because some types can be very strong smelling and you need a well ventalated area to clean your brushes if not oderless. Also,read on the container to make sure it cleans out enamel paints some do some don’t. Anyway I love the pen necklace, great idea I’m going to give it a try. Hope you’ll try the idea of the thinner and it works out for you.

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