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

Crimping

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.

Crimping

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

Step #8

Crimping

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.

Crimping

Step #9

Crimping

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

Crimping

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

Crimping

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

Crimping

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

Step #14

Crimping

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.

Jewelry Design Inspiration: Strands

Jewerly Design Inspiration - Strands

The question I get most often is where do my design inspirations come from.  So often that I’ve started this Jewelry Design Inspiration feature to hopefully inspire you as well.

Today’s inspiration:  Strands.

Specifically bead strands.

I wrote about playing with materials previously and there are some inspiring ideas for you there about materials.

Today I want to talk about strands of beads.

When I started making jewelry even as a kid what I loved most about it was the beads.  If you’ve been following me awhile you’ve heard the story about how I had this pink unicorn bag (it was a cute little duffel bag shaped purse) where that was just full of beads.  They were all mixed up and in rainbow colors.

When I was moving many years later I found that bag again and started making jewelry again.  Then I started finding all the gorgeous beads there were and I was completely hooked.

How to make a double strand bracelet

Now you can find all shapes, sizes and colors of beads.  It’s almost overwhelming.  If you shop online you can find everything.  But for me there’s nothing like going to a store or bead festival and being able to see the beads up-close and being able to touch them.  (I have to say, I mostly shop online now.  And there is also nothing like getting that package in the mail!  LOL.)

How to Make a Stretch Bracelet

The very first thing I learned to do was to make a stretch bracelet as a child.  It’s the first thing I teach to new jewelry makers, too because you can make a gorgeous bracelet without any special jewelry making tools.

The very next thing?  Simple stringing, which is simply stringing beads on some beading wire and crimping the end to make a necklace or bracelet.  I made jewelry like this for many years before I discovered the wonderful world of wire wrapping.

How to Make a Multi-Strand Bracelet

The multi-strand bracelet above is still one of my most popular tutorials.  Once you have conquered crimp beads this bracelet is simple (that doesn’t mean easy necessarily and it’s certainly time consuming.)  It is also gorgeous.

Multi-Strand Bracelet with Button Accent Tutorial

My inspiration for that bracelet?  Those gorgeous strands of beads.  They are just seed beads.  When I purchased them they were in several strands (like you see above) and looked so beautiful.  I knew I actually wanted to keep the look of all the strands next to each other like how I purchased them.

There are many ways you can use strands in your jewelry designs.  You can simply make a single strand where the focus is the beads.

Simple Stringing Tutorial

Stringing can also free you up to make “intuitive jewelry” where you simply choose some beads and start stringing.

Intuitive Necklace

Double the strands in a Double Strand Bracelet.

How to make a double strand bracelet

Then you can start to get more creative and fun with strands.

These three projects are all from my eCourse Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry:

Loop Necklace Tutorial

Loop Necklace Tutorial

2 Strand Necklace with chains

2 Strand earrings

To learn simple stringing, click here for my free tutorial.

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Q & A: Why Do You Use 2 Crimp Beads?

How to close a crimp bead:

I’m surveying my readers (and if you haven’t taken the survey, you can click here – survey is now closed) and I’m asking what questions you have.

Since the survey is still ongoing, I haven’t really looked through the answers thoroughly yet, but I have taken a few sneak peeks here and there, and found this question:

Q:  Why do you use 2 crimp beads when stringing?

Totally valid question and I think that others might have the same question, so I’m answering it here!

For some context, when I teach stringing, I do suggest that you use 2 crimp beads.  Click here for a Stringing Jewelry Tutorial for Beginners.

Now, the question asker did mention she understood with heavy beads why this would be important, but in normal everyday, typical beads why is it necessary?

A:  I’m going to hold back my answer of “it’s how I learned” and give you a real answer.

You take a lot of time designing your jewelry.  You put a lot of effort into making your bracelets and necklaces.  Even if the crimp bead seems secure, sometimes it is not.  Sometimes you don’t realize you’ve only caught one of the wires in the crimp bead.  Sometimes the crimp bead isn’t closed correctly.  And sometimes you don’t even realize until you’re wearing the jewelry and it all comes falling to pieces around your feet.

Even if you are an experienced jewelry making who has been making jewelry for years, you can still make a mistake.  I like to just take the extra step for an extra crimp bead to be safe.

It’s not required necessarily and as with any of my teachings, you can modify it to meet your own needs.  So if you’re sure and feel comfortable with one crimp bead, by all means use one crimp bead.

If you want a little extra security, then use two.

Thanks for your question!

——————————————————————————————————————

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Stringing Jewelry Tutorial – For Beginners

Simple Stringing Tutorial

This easy beginner tutorial will teach you have to string beads to make a bracelet.  You can use this tutorial to make necklace or anklet as well.

Simple Stringing TutorialMaterials and Tools:

  • ·         Beads (I used about 24, about 8mm beads)
  • Clasp (I used a toggle clasp)
  • Beading wire
  • 4 crimp beads
  • 4 crimp covers
  • Needle nose pliers or crimp tool
  • Wire cutters

Step #1

Simple Stringing Tutorial

Cut a piece of beading wire.  To get the size of the bracelet just about right, measure the wire around your wrist, add a few extra inches and cut.  With the toggle, the bracelet should fit correctly.

A note about beading wire:  you’ll find different “strands” of wire.  I used a mid-range 19 strand wire.  The more strands, the stronger the wire and the better the bracelet will hold up. 

Step #2

Simple Stringing TutorialLay out the design for your bracelet.  You can use a jewelry design tray or put your beads on a towel or a piece of felt so your beads don’t roll around.

Step #3

Simple Stringing TutorialPut some tape at one end of the wire to keep the beads from sliding off.  There are also special tools you can purchase called “bead stoppers” you can use.

 Step #4

Simple Stringing TutorialSlide your beads on the wire in the order you designed.

Step #5

Simple Stringing Tutorial

I like to use 2 crimp beads on each end of the bracelet for extra security.  Slide a crimp bead, a regular bead and a crimp bead.

Step #6

Simple Stringing Tutorial

Slide one end of the clasp onto the wire.

Step #7

Simple Stringing TutorialBend the end of the wire and thread it back through the crimp bead, bead, second crimp bead and then through the next bead or so.

Step #8

Simple Stringing TutorialSimple Stringing TutorialSlide the beads relatively close to the clasp.  Use needle nose pliers (or a crimp tool – more on the crimp tool later) and smash the crimp bead flat. 

Give it a little tug to make sure it’s closed properly and securely.

Step #9

Simple Stringing TutorialSimple Stringing TutorialSimple Stringing Tutorial

Grasp the crimp bead so that the nose of the pliers is in the middle of the flattened crimp bead.

Then bend the crimp bead in half and push it together.

Step #10

Repeat for the other crimp bead.

Step #11

Simple Stringing Tutorial

Simple Stringing TutorialPut the crimp cover around the crimp bead.

Step #12

Simple Stringing Tutorial

Simple Stringing Tutorial

Use needle nose pliers to pinch the bead cover closed.  It should look like a round bead.

Step #13

Repeat for the other crimp bead.

Step #14

Simple Stringing TutorialSlide up all the beads.  Cut off the excess wire from the end.  (Remember, you should thread the wire through one or 2 extra beads first.

Step #15

Remove the tape and repeat for the other side of the bracelet.

 Simple Stringing Tutorial

Enjoy your new bracelet!

 Simple Stringing TutorialCrimp Tool

Crimp tools can make closing crimping beads easier. 

To use, place the crimp bead in the groove further from the end.  Then place the crimp bead in the groove closest to the tip of the pliers and close to fold over the crimp bead.


Want to use wire guards in your stringing projects?  Click here for a video tutorial.


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