Mixed Media Knotted Bead Tutorial

Mixed Media Knotted Bead Tutorial

Today I have a fun and unique tutorial for you!

I have been working on a necklace that is inspired by a nature themed art journal page I recently made.  You can read more about it here, but here’s a photo of it.

Nature Themed Art Journal Page

The process of art journaling has really inspired my jewelry making lately.

This knotted bead will be the focal point of the necklace I’m making.  (And I’ll share the completed necklace when it’s done, too.)

Mixed Media Knotted Bead Tutorial

I had so much fun making this knotted bead, I figured you would love it, too, so I made a video tutorial!

You can watch it here:

You can get really creative with this!

After you make your version of a knotted bead, take a photo and upload it here in the comments (where it says “reply.”)  I would love to see what you made!

Have fun and get creative!


Kim  :)


Nature Themed Art Journal Page

Art Journal made with Binder

As I’ve been sharing, I’ve really been into my Art Journal and Nature Journal lately.  Of course, my main passion and creative expression is jewelry making, but expressing your creativity in a way that’s not your usual medium can inspire you in different ways and even bring more creativity into your main medium as well.

Let’s take a look in my art journal at my latest page.

Nature Themed Art Journal Page

I finished this page last night.  I had the idea percolating for a couple of days.  I had been wanting to try some of the watercolor techniques found in this awesome post.

Also I started reading Art Journal Art Journey by Nichole Rae and wanted to make a list for a page as she does in her art journals.  I’m also drawn to her use of her own photos in her art journal pages, so I knew I wanted to include some photos of my own.

We had visited C & O Canal in Williamsport, Maryland a couple months ago and I took tons of photos, especially of the dragonflies.  This year more than ever before I have seen so many dragonflies everywhere and at the canal there were tons of them.

C & O Canal

The other photo on the page is from a boat trip we took up the canal.

C & O Canal

More than just a reflection of this trip, though, my art journal page is about my feelings about being in nature.  So while the photos are from this trip, the emotions I am expressing are about nature in general.

How I made my page:

Nature Art Journal 9-30-15 b

I made the background using a salt technique with watercolor using both yellow and green watercolors.  (I found the salt technique on the website I linked to above.)

Nature Art Journal 9-30-15 b

I made a word association list for the page about nature.  I simply typed whatever came to mind in that moment.  (Since then more words have come to mind of course, but this is what happened in that particular moment.)

I have an old dictionary and I made a copy of the page with “nature” on it.

Nature Art Journal 9-30-15

I cut my photos out into circles.  I have circle templates that I used.

Once the watercolor background was dry, I attached the dictionary page and the word association list.

To make the painted circles around the photos,  I made the two sizes of circles on scrap paper and put them on the page and painted around them.  And then I added the photos.

The circles are painted with acrylic paint.

Nature Themed Art Journal Page

What I got out of making this page:

1.  Watercolors are fun!  I used to use watercolor more often in painting until I discovered acrylic and never went back to watercolors.  When I found the post with all the different techniques, I knew I wanted to try some of them.  It is so much fun to experiment with watercolors.

2.  Inspiration.  I am so inspired to make a piece of jewelry inspired by this page now.  Spending the time thinking about and working on the page makes me want to create the same emotions and feelings for a piece of jewelry.

3.  Patience.  Acrylics dry so much faster than watercolor.  I had to wait for that background to dry before I could continue.

Have you done any art journaling?

If not, maybe you would like to try.  You can doodle or write poetry or try just making a word association list if painting makes you freeze.  (You can use the prompt nature and just see what comes up!)

Let me know if you do try!  (You can hit reply and leave a comment here on this post.)

{Note:  The link above to the art journal book I mentioned is an affiliate link, which means if you click on it and purchase the book, I get a tiny percentage.  You do not pay any extra and it helps me.  I love this book, so I have not been influenced by the fact that I am affiliate for Amazon to suggest it for you.}

Print book

Want to Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry?  Check out my book based on my popular eCourse.  It has 5 modules that each include a creativity boosters, jewelry making lessons and jewelry projects.  The 6th module brings everything together.  Order a print book here:  Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry Book.

5 Tips for Working with Chunky Beads

5 Tips for Working with Chunky Beads

In my last ECT TV episode, I showed you how to make a necklace with some chunky beads and chain.

When you’re working with heavy or chunky beads, there are some special considerations to think about.

5 Tips for Working with Chunky Beads:

1.  Use spacer beads, knots or wire wrap the beads to get them to drape correctly.

With smaller beads you can just string them all together.  When you’re using chunky beads you have to either use smaller spacer beads or knot in between the beads or the jewelry piece will not lay correctly.

Alternatively, you could wire wrap each bead and connect them.  (This is something I teach in my eBook, Wire Wrapping for Beginners.)

If you do not, the piece will be stiff and not drape well.  The beads will become a solid block.

In the necklace from ECT TV 50 (pictured above) I used spacer beads, but they kind of look like knots to me.

2.  Use less of the beads in your jewelry piece. 

Chunky beads are also usually heavy.  I hate that heavy feeling around my neck.  So instead of creating an entire beaded necklace, I use half chain and half beads.

3.  Use 2 crimp beads.

I use 2 crimp beads in all of my pieces that I’m stringing, but with chunky beads it’s even more important to use 2 crimp beads to really make sure that your piece is secure.

(I show you how to crimp in ECT TV Episode 50.)

4.  Use strong wire.

There are a variety of stringing wires with different “strands.”  The higher that number is, the better the quality of your wire.  Lower numbers have less strands and are more stiff and break easier.  Higher numbers have more strands, are more flexible and are stronger.

Use the highest strand number you can within your budget.

(This is also something I talk about in ECT TV Episode 50.)

5.  Use just one bead as a focal point.

Another way to use chunky beads is to use just one of the beads as the focal point for your jewelry piece.  You can then use smaller beads for the rest of a necklace or bracelet or create a pendant and slide it on a chain.

Bonus Tip:

Make sure your clasp will work with your chunky beads.  If you’re stringing a bracelet, for example, make sure that the last few beads on the bracelet will fit through the clasp.  I often will make chunky bracelets with big beads and then use a big clasp that the beads will fit through if I’m using a toggle clasp.

Alternatively, you could use a lobster clasp or other clasp that the beads do not actually go through to close.

I hope these tips help you work with chunky beads successfully!  Now go into your stash and get those beads you’ve been hanging onto until you figured out what to do with them (I know you have them) and create something!

Need some direction?  Check out the eCourses, eBooks and eWorkshops in my shop:)


Earrings Every Day Month, Final Day

Earrings Every Day Month, Final Day

September has been Earrings Every Day Month here at Emerging Creatively Tutorials.  Each day we’ve been making a pair of earrings.  I’ve been showing you what I’ve been making (links below) here on my blog.

The end of a month long project is always so bittersweet, isn’t it?

On one hand, I’m proud of all the earrings I’ve made.  I had so much fun and creative inspiration the entire month.

On the other hand, I’m sad it’s over.  It’s become such a part of my daily routine to make earrings each day.

Simultaneously with this project, I’ve been doing a daily scrapbooking project as well this month.  And it feels so weird that both are over.

But the thing about it is it doesn’t actually have to be over.  I can keep making jewelry every day and I can keep scrapbooking each day, too.  And I just might do that.  :)

I wanted to share my last couple of earrings from Earrings Every Day Month/Earrings eCourse.


Day 29:  Chain and Bead Teardrop Earrings

Chain and Bead Teardrops

These earrings were a new edition for the 2015 Earrings eCourse and so much fun to make!

The beads are beads are from a necklace that I took apart that I got at a used jewelry sale.  (I used beads from the same necklace for these earrings, too.)

I made my own earring wires as usual.  That’s something I’m finding I did more often this year.  I think I used earrings I made myself for all of the earrings this year instead of using any store purchased.

It is pretty quick and easy just to make your own earring wires.

Day 30:  Beaded Square Earrings

Beaded Square Earrings

These are also new for the 2015 Earrings eCourse.

I chose to just use a variety of randomly colored beads, just pulling out beads from a bag of multicolored beads I had.

I used brass wire and, of course, made my own earring wires.

Well, that concludes Earrings Every Day Month for another year!

If you are in Earrings eCourse, you have continued access the the class and can keep on making earrings with the tutorials.  And if you are an Earrings Every Day participant with either the paid (Earrings eCourse) or free version and feel “behind,” just keep on going.  You can still make earrings.  Don’t feel behind.

If you missed out this year, don’t worry!  There will be Earrings Every Day Month again in September 2016!

Here are links to the previous earrings:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Days 6 & 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Days 12, 13 & 14

Day 15 (ECT TV Episode 49)

Days 16, 17 & 18

Days 19-23

Day 24

Days 25 & 26

Day 27

P.S.  Earrings Every Day Month (and Earrings eCourse) will be held again next September.  Signups will be open sometime in August 2016.

In the meantime, you can find all kinds of eWorkshops, eBooks, print books, individual jewelry tutorials and other eCourses here.

ECT TV Episode 50: Chunky Beads and Chain Necklace

ECT TV Episode 50

In today’s episode of ECT TV, I’ll show you how to make this lovely necklace.  It was inspired by the chunky beads and my need for more necklaces in my life.

Watch the video tutorial here:

Tips for Working With Chunky Beads:

These beads were big and chunky, which is why I loved them.  There are some considerations when working with big beads, though.

1.  You can’t just strand them altogether on beading wire.  There has to be some separation between them or your strand doesn’t drape nicely.  It will just be stiff and not have any movement.  I think the little beads in between look almost like knotting in between the beads.  (And knotting is a good idea for chunky beads.  See knotting instructions here.)

2.  The beads were too heavy for me to use all around my neck.  The weight would make it uncomfortable.  That’s why I opted to use a chain for half the necklace.

3.  I always use 2 crimp beads when I’m string anyway, but in this case it’s especially important because of the weight.  You want to make sure the beads are extra secure.

ECT TV Episode 50

Repurposing Used Jewelry:

I also mentioned that I got this necklace from a used jewelry sale.  I love finding supplies at sales like these or at thrift stores.  In this case, I purchased the necklace because of the chain and it’s a great compliment to the beads.

When purchasing used jewelry at a thrift store or used jewelry sale, look for something in the piece you love, even if you don’t love the piece itself.  And watch the price and make sure you’re not paying too much for whatever it is you’re purchasing.  $1.00 for all that chain seemed like a great deal to me.

ECT TV Episode 50

Step-by-Step Instructions for the Chunky Bead and Chain Necklace:

ECT TV Episode 50

Tools and Materials:

  • Chunky beads (mine came from A.C. Moore)
  • Chain (I took apart an old necklace, but you can use new chain)
  • Spacer beads for in between the chunky beads
  • 4 Crimp beads
  • 4 Crimp bead covers (optional)
  • 2 Wire guards (optional*)
  • Jump Rings
  • Clasp
  • Beading wire
  • Crimp tool
  • Wire cutters
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Bent nose pliers

* If you aren’t using wire guards, here is a stringing tutorial without the wire guards.  Here is a video tutorial that shows you how to use chain nose pliers instead of a crimp tool.  You can string right to the chain in this case or use a soldered jump ring then attach the soldered jump ring to the chain with a regular jump ring.

ECT TV Episode 50

Beading Wire:

I used 49 strand beading wire for this necklace.  It has more strands so it’s stronger and is also more pliable and flexible and gives your necklace a nice drape.  It also is expensive compared to others.

Buy the best material you can with the budget you have.  19 strand wire would probably be fine in this case, too, but I wouldn’t use 7 strand or something similar because you’ll run the risk of your necklace breaking.

Step #1

Decide how long you want the beaded part of your necklace to be.  You probably just want it across the front of your neck.

Then place your beads in a design that you’ll bead on the beading string.

Step #2

Cut a piece of wire the length of your bead design plus a few inches on each side extra.

Step #3

ECT TV Episode 50

A wire guard looks like this.  It has 2 tubes on the ends of the U and the curved part is open on one side.

ECT TV Episode 50

Slide the wire up through one of the tubes.

Step #4

Using a wire guard

Pull the wire around and back down through the other tube.

Step #5

Using a wire guard

Pull the wire tightly into the wire guard.

Step #6

Using a wire guard

Pull a crimp bead up against the wire guard, making sure to go over both wires.

Step #7


Using the crimping tool, crimp the bead.  First put the crimp bead in the larger notch that’s closer to the handle of the tool and close it.


This is what the bead will look like.  It’s flattened and it also has a crease in the middle.

Step #8


Now place the crimp bead in the other notch closest to the tip of the tool.  Close the tool to fold the bead in half.


Step #9


Optional step:  Place a crimp cover over the crimp bead.  This makes your necklace look more complete.  You could also use a bead with a hole large enough to go over the crimp bead instead.

Step #10


Place a small bead onto the wire and then another crimp bead and repeat the process for closing the crimp bead and covering it again.

Step #11

Stringing beads

Then you can start stringing the beads onto the wire working from one end to the other.

Step #12


At the other end, repeat the process of crimping again, but now since there are beads on the wire you have to add the crimp beads and wire guard in the opposite order.

String your last spacer bead, then a crimp bead, then a small bead, then a crimp bead and finally the wire guard.  After going around the wire guard, go back around through the crimp bead, small bead, crimp bead and then through the spacer bead and the first big bead of the necklace and pull everything tightly, but not too tightly.

You need to leave some space to add the crimp covers over the crimp beads and they are slightly larger than the crimp beads.

Step #13


Then follow the same procedure and close the crimp beads and add crimp covers.

Step #14


Trim off the excess beading wire.

Step #15

Measure around your neck to decide how long your chain should be and cut the chain to the appropriate length, remembering to take the clasp into consideration as well.

Step #16

ECT TV Episode 50

ECT TV Episode 50

Use jump rings to attach the chain to each end of the beaded piece.

Need help opening jump rings?  This video will help.

Step #17

ECT TV Episode 50

Add a clasp to the necklace.  (I used the clasp that was on the necklace that I took apart.)

ECT TV Episode 50

And that’s your completed necklace!

Additional resources:

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If you make this project and share it on Instagram, use the hashtag #ECTTV and you can follow me here:  @KimberlieKohler

Or you can post a photo on my Facebook page.

Or leave a reply below and upload a photo.