TGIF! It’s time again for another edition of DIY Friday. This week I’m going to show you how I turned someone else’s unwanted chotchkes into a fun, chunky necklace for spring.
I love making beaded jewelry - it’s one of my favorite pastimes. For me, beading is more an exercise in relaxation than a creative outlet. I find it really helps to calm and focus my busy brain when things in my life become too hectic.
A couple of days ago, while I was browsing through the goodies in my local hospice thrift store (another one of my favorite pastimes), I stumbled upon some pretty beaded nick-knacky things – their intended use still evades me. I knew the second I saw them I was going to take them apart and reuse the beads for a jewelry project of some sort. Those beads just screamed re-use me.
When I got home, after dinner was made and the chores were done (yeah right, they’re never completely done), I unearthed some of my beading gear and got to work. First, I carefully took off the beads I wanted to reuse, and then set out to find some other beads to put with them. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to make some kind of chunky necklace with them – they just had that look. Next, I measured and cut my beading wire to my desired length. I wanted my finished necklace to be about 18 inches long, so I measured and cut about 23 inches of beading wire. It’s always a good rule of thumb to cut about 5 inches more beading wire (or whatever stringing material you’re working with) than you need when making a necklace or bracelet. This way you have enough material to work with and can easily make adjustments if necessary. There’s nothing worse than spending all that time and creative energy on a project and then realizing your finished creation doesn’t fit the way you originally intended.
After picking out my beads to work with and cutting my beading wire, I began stringing my beads until I reached my desired finished length. When making any kind of necklace, I like to carefully hold my project up to my neck and look into a mirror to get an idea of where my piece is going to lay before completely finishing it. This way I can add or remove beads without damaging my stringing material. I always keep in mind too, that I will be adding a clasp of some sort to the necklace, which will add more length to the piece.
Once I reached my desired length, I added my spacer beads, crimp beads, barrel clasp, and cut off the excess beading wire – all finished, and it took less than an hour to make. Viola – a fun new piece to add to my jewelry collection (and to probably cut up and remake into something else at a later date).
Here’s what you’ll need to make a chunky necklace similar to mine:
*Note: all beads used in my necklace were either faceted acrylic (plastic) beads, or glass seed beads. Of course any large, chunky beads will do – let your imagination go with it!
- 3 – 25 mm rondelle beads
- 6 – 15 mm round beads
- 2 – 10 mm round beads
- 2 – 7 mm round beads
- glass seed beads
- 2 small silver tone spacer beads – bicone shaped
- beading wire
- 2 silver tone crimp beads
- silver tone barrel clasp
- crimping pliers
- diagonal wire cutters or scissors
All in all, this project only cost me 50 cents to make - the cost of the mysterious beaded chotchkes (plus I gave my money to a really good cause – hospice care). I used beads and findings that were already in my jewelry craft box. The only items that were ever purchased new were my jewelry tools, the beading wire, and the glass seed beads - everything else was purchased second-hand. Enjoy!