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.
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.
Step-by-Step Instructions for the Chunky Bead and Chain Necklace:
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
- 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.
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.
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.
Cut a piece of wire the length of your bead design plus a few inches on each side extra.
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.
Slide the wire up through one of the tubes.
Pull the wire around and back down through the other tube.
Pull the wire tightly into the wire guard.
Pull a crimp bead up against the wire guard, making sure to go over both wires.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then you can start stringing the beads onto the wire working from one end to the other.
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.
Then follow the same procedure and close the crimp beads and add crimp covers.
Trim off the excess beading wire.
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.
Use jump rings to attach the chain to each end of the beaded piece.
Need help opening jump rings? This video will help.
Add a clasp to the necklace. (I used the clasp that was on the necklace that I took apart.)
And that’s your completed necklace!
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