You know you don’t have to wear an oversized crushed-velvet leprechaun’s hat or a flashing neon shamrock pin to dress up for St Patrick’s Day. Instead, why not make a sweet emerald-green bauble necklace to celebrate March 17, and add a bit of class to the day’s festivities? Better still, you can wear it again! Here’s how to make your very own lucky necklace.
- Round nose pliers.
- Chain nose pliers.
- Wire cutter/snipping tool.
- Chain. I used a 50.8cm (20 in) chain.
- Beads. For this necklace, I used three different sized beads that were all in a similar green/blue color scheme. To complete this necklace, it took a total of eight large beads, 15 medium beads, and 12 small beads.
- Eye pins. I used a total of 35 eye pins in various metal finishes on this necklace. Using different metal finishes for your eye pins gives the necklace a fun mixed-metal look. However, I’ve also completed this necklace with entirely silver eye pins (on a silver chain) in the past, and it looks great that way as well.
- Two jump rings.
- One lobster clasp.
Step 1: Prepare the First Bead
This necklace is made in a somewhat random pattern. I didn’t want it to be completely symmetrical or too matchy-matchy, but I also didn’t want it to look completely dysfunctional while it was hanging around my neck. For this reason, the necklace starts off with a symmetrical base, and then beads are added in a more random fashion.
To start this symmetrical base, you need to thread your first bead onto an eye pin. I started with one of my medium sized beads.
Next, with your clipper tool, trim off some of the excess end.
Now, use your round nose pliers to pick up the straight tail end of the eye pin. Make sure the end is flush with the pliers. Holding the bead end with the thumb and index finger of your left hand, turn your right hand counter-clockwise, wrapping the wire around the pliers. You’ve just created a loop!
Just under that loop, use your pliers to bend the pin backwards just a bit. This will make everything nice and straight.
Step 2: Locate the Middle of the Chain
The bead you just prepared is going to be the middle of the symmetrical base design that you’re creating. It’s also going to be the middle of the necklace as a whole, so this would be a good time for you to locate the middle of your chain. You can do this easily by simply folding your chain in half.
Step 3: Add the First Bead to the Chain
Now that you’ve located where the bead will go, it’s time to attach it. With your round nose pliers, slightly pull back and open the loop that you just made on your first bead. Attach this loop to the middle of your chain and close the loop back up with your pliers.
Step 4: Prepare Two Double Beads
You’re going to add two double-beaded pieces to your necklace in the next step. One of these will go to the left of your first bead, and one will go to the right of it, completing the symmetrical base of your necklace.
Creating these doubled-beaded pieces is very similar to step one, except that you will put two beads on your eye pin. To begin, place a medium-sized bead on one of your eye pins. After that, put a large-sized bead on the same eye pin, right on top of the medium-sized bead.
Then, with your clipper tool, trim off some of the excess end and use your round nose pliers to create a loop at the top of the double bead piece. Finish it up by using your pliers to bend the pin backwards a bit at the base of the loop that you created.
Go through these same steps once more so that you have a total of two double bead pieces.
Step 5: Determine the Edges
The double bead pieces that you’ve just created are going to be the far edges of the beaded part of your necklace. No other beads will travel further up the chain than these pieces. So, before you add them to your work, you should decide how large you would like the beaded section of your necklace to be.
You can simply choose a spot while your work is laid out flat, or it may help to hold your necklace up around your neck in front of a mirror. Remember, no matter where you choose to end your beaded designs on the edges, the bead that you’ve already placed on your necklace should still remain in the middle of your design.
Step 6: Add Both Double Bead Pieces
Once you’ve determined the edges of your beaded design, and in turn located the places where the double bead pieces will go, it’s time to attach them. Just like attaching your first bead, you’ll use your round nose pliers to slightly pull back and open the loop that you’ve made, and attach this loop to the desired area on your chain. Then, close the loop back up with your pliers and attach the second double bead piece to the other side of the design area.
Step 7: Fill the Space
Your symmetrical base is now complete! Now it’s time to randomize.
This step is one of the easiest, and one of the most fun! Simply start adding random beads (small, medium, and large) to fill the spaces on your chain that lie between the middle bead and the double bead pieces on the edges.
Step 8: Double it Up
After a while, you’ll notice that although you’ve added beads to just about every link in the spaces between your middle and edge beads, your necklace still doesn’t look as full as you’d like. That means you’ve reached the next step in the project.
Now it’s time to start randomly adding more beads to a few of the links in the chain. Yes, this means that some of the links will have more than one bead attached to them at a time. I promise, this will help your necklace really fill out and look more substantial.
Step 9: Add Beads to Beads
At this point, your necklace should be looking fairly full, but it might seem to hang all on one level. The solution to this is simple!
Randomly throughout your design, add beads onto a few of the beads that are already attached to the chain. Rather than attaching to links in the chain, you’ll attach the new beads to the bottom loops of the beads that are already attached to the necklace.
Continue doing this until you feel that your design looks full and complete.
Step 10: Add a Jump Ring
Your design work in complete, but you still have a couple of important things to do before you can say the same about the necklace as a whole. In this step, you’ll be attaching a jump ring to one end of your chain.
With two pairs of pliers, pick up a jump ring. Slowly, while holding the jump ring between the two sets of pliers, move your left hand away from you and your right hand towards you slightly. This will slowly and carefully open the jump ring, allowing you to attach it to one of the ends of your chain.
Once the jump ring is attached to the end of the chain, close it up with the pliers by moving your left hand towards you and your right hand away from you.
Step 11: Add a Jump Ring and Clasp
In this last step, you’ll need to add a jump ring and lobster clasp to the other side of your chain so that the necklace can be properly opened and closed.
Open a jump ring in the same way that you did in step ten. Carefully thread a lobster clasp onto the open jump ring, and then attach it to the end of your chain (the end that does not yet have a jump ring attached to it). Close up the jump ring, and your necklace is complete!