How do I untangle my chains?

How do I untangle my chains?

Untangling chains is something I STILL struggle with, and I've been making jewelry for over 30+ years!  

When it comes to untangling chains, there are so many options to choose from.  I'll list some here, plus I have some tips to avoid this to begin with.

Untangling the mess

  • First step is to undo the clasp if possible.  That way its easier to pull chains through the open end.  
  • Find a flat surface where you can lay the chain(s) while you work on them.
  • Try to untangle a single chain if possible.  Sometimes it just takes one to get the rest to loosen up. 
  • If you don't have longer finger nails, try tweezers to help hold on to sections of chain while untangling.

Pull out those sewing needles! 

  • Sewing needles work great to get into those tiny crevices.  If you don't have a sewing needle, a pin or safety pin will also work, it's just not quite as small. Wiggle the pointed end of the needle into the knot and wiggle it a bit to try and loosen the knot. Once the knot is loose, thread the chain through the loop to untangle the knot. 

Soak your jewelry

  • Use warm mild soapy water to soak your jewelry for a bit. This helps lubricate the chain. Don't soak it for too long to avoid loosening any glue that may be securing a gemstone.  Do not soak a strand of pearls because the water will loosen the knots and possibly stretch the string. I don't recommend baby oil because it could alter the color of the chain depending on what kind of chain it is. 
  • Rub the knot between your thumb and forefinger to loosen the knot. 
  • Using a needle (above 👆) to help loosen the knot.
  • Once done, wipe it dry with a soft clean cloth. 

Spray your knots with Windex

  • Windex helps lubricate the knots like soapy water.  If you have multiple knots, give this a try and follow the steps above.

Preventing those knots from coming back!

Here are some ideas to help keep your chains from getting all tied up in knots...again!

Use Gourd Pins, Straws, a Jewelry Tree or Jewelry Bags

  • I discovered Gourd pins work really well to help keep those chains from tangling. 
    • Open the pin and slide each clasp or the end of the chain onto the pin. 
    • Once you have a few on each pin, either lay them flat inside a jewelry bag or pouch with the gourd pin hanging out the end of the pouch, or hang them from a jewelry tree.
    • I have also put them in ziplock bags with the gourd pin hanging out the top, then zip the top as best you can to keep the pin from sliding inside. Lay flat to help with that. 
    • If you pick up the chains by the gourd pin, the chains are much less likely to tangle. 
  • Straws are a great way to keep your necklaces separated.  Thread one end through the end of the straw and clasp on the other side.  Cut the straw into smaller sizes for those shorter chains.
  • Jewelry trees are a great way to hang your necklaces, avoiding those nasty tangles.

This is always a work in progress.  I started using the Gourd Pins lately and they have worked well for me.  

I haven't used all these methods, so be sure to email me if they work or you have an even better suggestion!

Here's a handy video from Halstead on untangling chains: 

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