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The Basics: Make a Necklace With Me!

I'm kinda giving myself away in this post. I'm afraid you'll find out how easy and simple it is to make a piece of jewelry and think to yourself: "Oh c'mon! I could do that!" Which is probably true. But this is a semi-promised entry, so you get it.

Also, be sure to read to the end! There is a surprise waiting at the bottom of this post, one I need your help with! :)

First off: What You Need

#1: Beads! (You can find these online, in craft stores, or even at Walmart.)

#2: Wire

#3: Crimp beads (more about these later)

#4: A clasp

#5: Jump rings for the clasp to connect to

#6: A Crimper and a wire cutter

Secondly: Let's make a necklace!

Here are the things I'll be using. I've got (left to right, top to bottom) 'Beadalon' wire, beads, crimper and wire cutter, clasps, more beads, crimp beads (in the little container) and jump rings.

Rule number one in beading: Use complimentary colors. Okay, that one's obvious.

Rule number two might not be as obvious: Use odd numbers. So when choosing beads, I like to find three, or five or seven (but not very often) different types of beads to use in the same piece.

For this necklace the base beads are aqua-colored seed beads. The bigger beads that are corralled in the upper part of the picture are my center beads. They are sparkly glass spheres that have tints of the same aqua hue as the seed beads. Underneath the blue-handled crimper tool are my complimentary beads. They have some sparkle to them, which is nice, but they are also a different shade of blue. They will add dimension and help make the centerpiece beads stand out.

Above we have the components of the necklace on the work space. This is a bead tray, and boy! does it come in handy! It keeps the beads from rolling all over the place and driving you nuts.

I find the easiest way to start designing a necklace is in the centerpiece. Play with it until you think it looks right, and then expand from there.

The golden rule of beading is the same as algebra: Do to one side what you do to the other. After you get a pattern, be sure to stick to it on both sides, and then all the way up. In these pictures I added more seed beads to the center of the necklace to make the centerpiece larger. This is going to be a princess style necklace, which means around 19" of beads. Cutting a wire length of 26" leaves me a healthy length to work with and plenty of slack to create the clasps on each end.

Once the beads measure the right length, it's time to start stringing them! Putting a 'stopper' bead on the end of the wire you're not using is the safest way to avoid disaster. Then, starting at one end, simply string the beads onto the wire all the way around. Also, you can see in the third picture that there are some metal things near the centerpiece. Those are bead caps, which I'm going to put around the three large glass beads at the drape of the necklace.

This is kinda hard to see in this first picture, but the bead caps are framing each large center bead, helping them pop and stand out to the eye. The second pic shows the entire necklace strung, but not yet clasped. Clasping is the trickiest part. First, you put a crimp bead on the end of the necklace you are ready to secure and string the clasp above it. Then feed the wire back through the crimp bead and down through several beads below. Pull this tight (but not tight enough that the clasp can't swing easily) and you can get your crimper tool.

Crimpers are designed with special notches and dips to 'smash' the (also specially designed) crimp bead into itself, trapping the wire inside. A lot of trust is put into these tiny beads, because they are literally the objects holding most necklaces together! Grab a jump ring if that is what you are using (in second picture) and repeat the crimping process on the other side of the necklace. The last step is to snip the extra wire sticking out of the necklace a few beads from the top. And the necklace is complete!

Well, almost. I personally think the last step is to try your creation on!

Oh, and there's yet another 'last step' if you plan on posting this necklace in an online jewelry store. Naming it!

Which is where you can come in. Post name ideas in the comments and I will choose one as the official name of this necklace. Deadline: Friday, October 14th.

I will choose a name out of the ones you come up with and the winner will receive a 15% discount code for anything in Jewelry by Design's store!

Can't wait to hear your ideas! And also, this necklace is much prettier and brighter and sparklier (I know, that's not a word) in real life than it is in this picture!

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