Monday, April 5, 2010

Beaded Necklace Tutorial

Mondays tend to be catch up day around here. I almost always spend them catching up on laundry, dishes, and cleaning. Mostly because I slack off with the laundry and cleaning duties on the weekend. So today was no exception, and there was even more to do after our Easter celebration last night. But once I got the laundry and dishes under control and both my washing machine and dishwasher were humming I decided I could fit in a craft.

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).

And these are the crimps.

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.

Here's a closer look at the brooch, toggle pieces, and beads I used.

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 stick a circle toggle part onto that.

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 you might think to yourself, "my beads are smiling at me."

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.

Now three. You could make more if you wanted to, but I liked three with this size of bead.

From here you'll need your ribbon (or in my case satin pulls).

Stick one of your ribbon pieces through the circle toggle, and then pull it through.

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.

Repeat this step to both sides of the necklace until it looks like this.

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!


Anonymous said...

argh. you are so freaking cute. How about I just commission you to make me one... I'll pay you. But, it does look semi easy--if I just had the time to go out with four kids to target to buy all the stuff, and then some uninterrupted time to sit and make them...
Hey, come by and see me.

Sarah said...

It's beautiful, Nancy!

Toni said...

I'm seriously hating you right now. I NEED one of those! Looks so adorable with your simple grey t-shirt. And let me just say, you are GOING PLACES with this little blog of yours! You are such a cute little writer....and I'm loving your tutorials. I may have to blog about you. :)

abby said...

that is one beautiful necklace. i love it!

hendywow said...

Awesome as usual! Why o why can't you live here by me still!!? I could come over and you could show me how to do it in person, we would eat yummy food and the kids would play the wii and at the end YOU would have made my necklace! The good ol days!

tiff said...

Those necklaces are so freaking amazing! I love the one you made too! Do you have an Etsy? You might try selling those...I know I would buy!


Dave and Mandi said...

LOVE it!!!! You are so-o creative Nancy!

MarySue said...

Another winner! I so enjoyed this tutorial. Happy day young friend...from you basking in AZ sunshine friend.

Rebecca Irvine said...

Love it! I will have to start looking for some old brooches I like now.

Becky said...

Love, love, love!
Please come visit me in sunny AZ and we will hit the antique shops for some cheap grandma jewelry to re-purpose into fabulousness. You could start your own line and call it Velma instead of Elva! :)

pam said...

Love the way your necklace turned out. I have been wanting to do something similar with ribbon and use old charm bracelets for the necklace part. Now that I have seen how you did it, maybe I will try.

alissa {33shadesofgreen} said...

Your necklace is lovely! I have been wanting to make something similar for a while now and your tutorial is really going to help. I'm stopping over from It's Fun to Craft and am now your newest follower!

Kendra Goodrich said...

What a pretty necklace! I've been wanting to try something like this!

Aubree said...

Found you on the Tatertots and Jello Party. LOVE this necklace. So beautiful!

Sawdust Girl said...

Wow, you make some amazing stuff. Thanks for your comment on my blog and I say definitely get some power tools. We women shouldn't be afraid of a little sawdust. I saw in your profile that you live on an island so when you asked if I would come to your house I say, "absolutely!" Are we talking Hawaii? Have a great weekend!

Megan @ Megity's Handmade said...

Love it! I totally want to make one now. Do you think my husband would mind if I add jewelry making to the list of crafts I like to do?

Stacey said...

I love that. It turned out so beautiful. Good tutorial too. Thanks for sharing at 'Look at me, I'm SO Crafty!' at Fun to Craft!!

Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

Made one finally, and posted about it here!

B said...

What a gorgeous necklace! I love it. I started making jewelry earlier this year and am really excited to try this look. Thanks!

Steph @ somewhatsimple said...

I love this! Your tutorial is great! I am featuring this on my site tomorrow- Monday the 20th of September! Thanks for the inspiration-

HJC Editor said...

Hi! Great tute! I will be linking at in future post.


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rocky said...

Nice collection and among all you can choose necklace designs with price as they are so unique to wear on festive occasions

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