Now that I’m a couple of years removed from making jewelry for a living, I’m in a place where I don’t mind doing it for fun. I did whip up some glorious earrings for Christmas last year, but that was basically gluing one thing to another and doesn’t count. Anything can be glued. Making jewelry for real, like a necklace, is something I didn’t want to do until now. (I should go back through my Etsy sales and see just how many necklaces I made over the years. Ugh. Hundreds.)
Anyway, my mental break is over and because I still need to use the leftover beads that clung to my supplies like sparkly barnacles, here we are! This necklace is a great project for a beginner: it’s easy to put together but looks impressive when it’s done. Part of what makes it so easy is that it’s long enough to pop over your head–no messing with clasps today.
Here’s what you need:
— embroidery floss
— length of chain (mine was 26″)
— jump rings
— rounded jewelry-making pliers (similar)
— jewelry-making pliers with cutter (similar)
Now, when I say this is easy, I mean it’s easy for older kids (maybe 10+) and adults. There are a lot of pointy/sharp/small pieces that can get into eyes/mouths/noses. I also want to mentally prepare you for the task of making little loops out of metal. You WILL have to practice it a couple of times if you’re brand new to jewelry crafting, but it won’t be torture on par with doing math. This used to be my job and I’m not the kind of gal who wants to do something difficult all day, everyday, for three years. You’ll rock it.
Ready? Let’s warm up with the tassel. Take your embroidery floss and cut it between the two paper labels. I wanted my tassel to be a couple of inches long and I just eyeballed it, but feel free to measure if you want to be precise.
Then take a piece of the floss from the reject side and tie it around the outside of the tassel. This makes the loop where you’ll attach said tassel to the rest of the necklace. Make it snug and tie a knot.
Now it’s time for the beading portion of today’s program. This might LOOK really fiddly and difficult if you’ve never done it before, and this is the part you’ll need to practice as you get used to the feel of the pliers, but after that you’ll zoom right along. Don’t be scared by a new tool!
Grab an eyepin and side a bead onto it, pushing it all the way to the bottom. Using the rounded jewelry pliers, bend the long end of the pin like so:
You won’t need all of that metal today, so use the other, choppier pliers to axe the extra length. I like to leave around 1/4″ when working with beads this small:
Here’s the part that may take a few tries if you’ve never done it before. Hold the end of the pin in the rounded pliers and bend it backwards toward the bead.
There’s not a picture of me actually doing this because I needed both hands (and so will you, unless you’re a wizard), but you’ll end up with a little loop that matches the other side of the eyepin. These loops are how you’ll attach the beads to each other:
Once you slide one loop into the other, close the end with the same rounded pliers.
Repeat for the rest of your beads. I did four on each side for a total eight, but you can do more or less depending on how much sparkle you want.
When you’ve beaded to your heart’s content, use the same open-loop trick to attach them to the chain.
One final loop thing. Grab a jump ring (if you buy a multi-pack, use the largest size) and slide it through both ends of the bead loops, plus the tassel:
Bend it shut using the jewelry pliers and you’re done! New necklaces for everyone!
Let me stand in the basement on a cloudy day and model mine for you:
I’m into it. It’s nice to have a long piece that’s still rather dainty–easy to throw on with a casual outfit when I don’t feel like using my brain. I had a lot of fun with this and I think jewelry-making might end up being my new (old?) hobby, which is probably good because all of my other just-for-fun activities end up being related to the house and I could use some variety. I just won’t turn it into my job this time. Ha.
Have you ever made jewelry? What random supply in your stash tends to stick around forever before you use it? What do you whip up when you want to make something for yourself?