In line with my "make it do" motto that I was talking about Saturday I once again decided to craft something out of supplies I had on hand. Plus it was hailing (and now it' snowing as I write this) this afternoon and I didn't want to go anywhere to buy supplies(some Spring break!). I have been eyeing these Elva Fields necklaces for a while now. These are a few of my favorites from the Spring collection.
I love how these beautiful necklaces are one of a kind, and mostly made of vintage materials. I've made a number of vintage re-do's for my sisters, mother and myself using old beads of my Grandmothers. But that's another post. Back to Elva Fields. So I love the look of these with the beads and brooches mixed together. The only problem I have with them is 1) they're expensive (but totally gorgeous if you have the money) and 2) with beaded necklaces like these they tend to pinch and pull your hair (if you have long hair like me) when you wear them.
So I set out to make my own version of a necklace with a similar look (Dear Elva, please take this emulation as a sincere form of flattery), only mine is cheap and doesn't pull your hair (How bad can that be? Hear your inner Ina). And since I've gotten such a great response to tutorials lately I decided to take you along with me for the ride with this beaded necklace tutorial. I love the way this turned out, and plan on making many versions of it. And you can too, these are very easy (trust me) and can be made within an hour or so (especially if you're not taking pictures at every little step :). So there's about to be a lot of pictures in this post, don't get overwhelmed by all of the steps, I just wanted you to be able to see each and every one of them. But before we get started here's the end result, so you can kind of see where I'm going with this.
Trust me when I say the pictures don't do it justice. It might not be an Elva Fields, but I still think it's pretty great. On with the tutorial.
Here's what you'll need. I used some inexpensive faceted glass beads (around 125 or so) and a silver toggle set for the clasp as well as two circle parts from a toggle set (I'll explain that later), an old brooch (I think mine is from Target a few years ago), some wire cutters, a bead crimper, some silver bead crimps, some ribbon (or in my case satin pulls I cannibalized off a shirt) and some beading wire (I used this nylon coated bead stringing wire from the craft store). You could purchase all of these supplies at Michael's or JoAnn's in the bead sections, but I picked mine up at bead shows. Although I have no problem with cheap beads I tend to use sterling silver crimps and toggles, but you certainly don't have to. Here's the bead wire that I'm talking about (it's not really wire, more like fishing wire type stuff).
If you don't know what crimps are, they are these tiny silver tubes that you use to crimp the wire onto your toggle, more on that to come.
And you could use ribbon, but I cut these pulls off the bottom of this shirt. Okay so that's the supplies, now let's move on to the step-by-step how to.
Get your beads ready to go, then line them up on your bead board, or if you don't have a bead board use a bath towel so your beads won't roll off of the table.
I used about 40 beads for my short row, 44 for my medium, and 48 for the long. But this will vary based on your bead size and how big you want the necklace to be.
So before you start you have to crimp your toggle onto your wire.
Cut your wire to the length you want (a little bit longer than your row of beads) and put a crimp onto the end.
Then thread your wire back through the crimp, and now you're ready to use your crimping tool and crimp that crimp into place. Crimp, that's a funny word.
This is a crimping tool. See how it has those funny ridges? You're about to put those to good use.
So line your crimp on the wire with the toggle up with the bottom set of ridges, and smash the crimper down. This will essentially crunch your little tube in half.
Now take your crunched crimped wire toggle thing and turn it on it's side, and line it up with the top set of ridges, and crimp down again. This will smash the smooshed crimp together again. Does that make sense? Hopefully the pictures are helping, because that's a little bit tricky to describe.
Now you should have your wire crimped onto your toggle, like this, and you're ready to string some beads.
A lot of people will use a "crimp cover" which is usually a pretty silver bead designed to cover over your crimp, but I didn't have any, and I'm not that picky, so I just begin stringing my beads on at this point.
Once you get all of your beads strung on then you'll want to add another circular toggle piece to the other side the exact same way we did before. It should look like this.
And then if you're really nerdy like me you'll make it so that not only are your beads smiling, but winking as well. Back to our tutorial.
Since this necklace is going to have three strands of beads I'm going to repeat the same process until I have two rows, and then three, like this.
Then bend the ribbon back onto itself to secure.
I secured mine by sewing back and forth on top of it, but if you don't have a sewing machine (or if it's still in the box and you're afraid of it) you could certainly use a hot glue gun, it should hold just fine.
Now here's where it got a little tricky for me (because I used these thick satin pulls, if you use a thin ribbon you should be fine). You need to thread your other toggle pieces onto each strand of ribbon, so either choose a thin ribbon or a toggle with a wider attachment hole, otherwise you'll be pulling that toggle on with your teeth like me, and your dentist will be mad at you. I somehow managed to get my toggles on, but next time I'll use a thinner ribbon. Be careful not to break your toggle.
Now your necklace should look like this. At this point you need to try the necklace on to see how you want it to fit. Then trim your ribbon accordingly, and sew it or glue it into place at the top of the necklace the same way we did before.
Then you should have a finished necklace with a toggle at the top so that you can undo it to put it around your neck.
At this point your necklace will look something like this. Pretty, right, but wait for it, wait for it...
Ba, da, bing, add some bling.
So much prettier, right? I simply pinned this brooch onto the satin pulls, that way it's removeable, and I can still wear it as a brooch when I want to.
What do you think? I think I love it. This might not be the best picture of it, but it was hard to take it of myself. Anyway the possibilities with this method are endless. I'm thinking I'm going to make one for Hallie with a fabric flower brooch. Let me know if you give this a try, I'd love to see your work!