One of my favorite things about making my own jewelry is how quick and easy it is to whip up custom jewelry for any outfit I want! I’ve been making an effort to dress up a little more often (nothing really fancy – just nicer shirts and maybe a skirt and/or a cute cardigan instead of jeans and a t-shirt). I really love jewelry (and heels – but that’s another story), but don’t wear it often since it doesn’t really go with my typical attire of a t-shirt and jeans, and so this ‘dressing up’ seemed like a great excuse to make some new jewelry!
One of my favorite tops for which I have no matching jewelry is a pale yellow shirt with a navy cardigan, so I decided to put together a navy and yellow necklace. It’s a really simple necklace, but I think a lot of people think making their own jewelry is really difficult, so I thought I’d share how easy it was to make! All you need are a few simple supplies, all of which can be found at your local craft store at a decent price if you don’t already have them in your house.
For this necklace, I used two types of beads: yellow seed beads and 6mm navy crystal bicones (both from Michael’s). Together, they cost $6. These were the only supplies I needed to buy for the necklace (and matching earrings!), and I have most of the yellow seed beads left to use in a future project.
You’ll also need a few jewelry supplies – a clasp, two crimp beads, and some beading wire. They all come in different styles (especially clasps), but you can see what I like above. If your clasp only has one end (i.e. a lobster hook but no ring), you can generally make the other end out of a jump ring (available in any craft store with a jewelry section) or a piece of wire wrapped around round nosed pliers. These are all individually pretty expensive at any local craft store, but sometimes come in large packs so an initial expense might be as much as $15 alltogether – but will last for dozens of projects.
Lastly, you’ll need a few tools. For the necklace, I just used some flat nose pliers and some snipper pliers. You can get these in jewelry pliers sets, but there’s a good chance you/your husband/your family has some in the garage – those would work great!
First, you need to cut a length of beading wire with the snipper pliers and attach one end to one piece of the clasp. Clip a piece of beading wire much longer than you want your final necklace to be – you want some room to play with the wire instead of running out of room. I usually cut my wire an extra 18″ or so on top of how long I think I want my necklace – sometimes my plan changes and I’m glad I have some extra room, and even if it doesn’t – that stuff is cheap.
Thread on a crimping bead and then one end of your clasp. Then thread the wire back through the crimping bead – as in the first picture below. Then pull the wire tight, press down on the crimp bead with the flat nose pliers, and trim the tailing end of the wire – it should look similar to the second picture below.
Now my favorite part – start beading! I didn’t want to waste those navy beads on the back of my neck where no one would see them – so I put on a long string of the (super cheap) seed beads first (80, if you’re wondering). When I do a necklace like this, I like to keep count of how many I’m stringing so I can make sure to put the same number on the other end. I’m sure most people could get away with eyeballing it to make sure both ends are about even – but I’m a little too OCD for that. To make this easier, I like to string beads on in even sets (say, 5) and then on a notepad keep track of how many sets I’ve strung on (i.e. 16 sets of 5 – 80 beads). I hold the beads as shown below to making counting sets easy.
Once I had my string of seed beads, I started my pattern – one navy bead, 6 yellow beads, repeat. I think my little trick of holding the beads as above for counting these sets (6 yellow beads, in this case) really helps my sanity.
Once I had enough of the pattern to suit my taste, I strung on 80 more seed beads to finish off the beading. The last task is to attach the other end of the clasp to the necklace. This is done the same way as the first half of the clasp – string on a crimp bead, string on the clasp, then loop the wire back through the crimp bead and pull it tight. You don’t want to have a lot of extra wire showing through the seed beads. I find that it works best to hold the necklace up from the end I’m attaching the clasp to so the necklace is straightened out, and then tug on the tail end of the wire until it is snug. With the necklace straightened out, there’s less extra wire space than there would be along bends between beads, if that make sense. Just press down on that crimp bead and trim the tail – and you’re done!
I also made some earrings to go with the necklace – I’ll have a tutorial up for them soon 🙂
Update: Find a tutorial for the earrings here!
I’ve shared this post at some of these places.