Make two necklaces with one custom bead mix

Each container of our bead mix yields enough glass beads to create a collarbone length necklace and a long necklace. Your kit includes the following items: five feet of 49-strand, .015 bead cable; two clasp sets; crimps and a pendant array with three pair of leaf beads. Glass bead mix color shown: Tourmaline.

Before you start, have the following items on hand: wash cloth on which to place beads or work; needle-nose pliers for crimping; scissors; tape measure; light source; sight aids as needed; small shallow bowl for bead mix. Skill needed: ability to finish a strung necklace with crimps. If you need a refresher course on crimping, search for and review an online tutorial before undertaking this project.

Begin choosing and stringing beads from the mix bowl
Pendant and pairs of leaves in necklace front

First, make a short necklace

Pour your mix into a small shallow bowl. We’ll begin by making a short necklace with a central pendant and leaf elements. For a 17″ to 18″ long necklace, cut a cable length of 24 inches — that’s the necklace length plus 3 inches on both sides for finishing. Start by threading the central pendant by its jumpring, then, on either side, add beads of equal size, smallest leaves, equal size beads, large leaves, equal size beads, medium leaves. Check carefully that each side of this central arrangement is of equal length and that the leaves face the same way on both sides. (I confess that when I was preparing this demo I placed some elements wrong and had to unstring and restring the array correctly. You really don’t want to do that, so check your work!).

Pick the largest beads from the bowl, and place a small “E” size (4mm or so) bead between each of the larger beads as you go. Beads decrease in size as you add them to the ends. For best results, the colors don’t have to match on either side but the parallel strands of beads you are creating should have plenty of contrast and a good balance of elements.

Strands should have contrasting beads and good balance between sides. With a bead mix, they don’t have to ‘match’, just look good.

Get out your measuring tape. When you have about 8 inches on each side of the pendant, string only the small “E” beads to 8-1/2 inches on each side, for a 17 inch necklace. Secure one end, thread a crimp onto the other, add one end of clasp through the jumpring, thread back through crimp, crimp and trim. Hold necklace by other end, make sure there are no gaps, thread on other part of clasp though its jumpring, crimp and trim. Congratulations, you’ve completed a nice short necklace.

Now, make a long necklace with remaining beads in mix

The leftover beads in your mix will go into a long 28 to 30 inch necklace. This necklace won’t have a pendant, start with the largest beads, with “E” beads between them and go from largest to smallest.

Pick out the remaining larger beads from the bowl and lay them on a washcloth. Start the long necklace by choosing the largest bead, adding smaller beads on each side and using up the large beads, always with an “E” bead between them. When you run out of the larger beads, keep stringing the smaller beads on each side, selecting the smaller beads to contrast with each other until you have about 3 to 4 inches left on either side. Finally, finish with a series of three “E” beads on each side, check that both sides are equal in length, and crimp with clasps as for the first necklace.

Place small beads from bowl between all the larger beads.
Start with big beads
End with smaller beads
Now you have a smaller necklace and a larger necklace, to wear together or separately.


With your kit, you may choose to make a longer necklace with the pendant array (instead of the shorter one), a shorter necklace with no pendant array, or two necklaces without pendant arrays. If you have your own favorite center focal bead for the middle, start your necklace with it.

Notice that the pendant and the clasp set all have jumprings to thread onto the cable. The jumprings may be opened with two needle nose pliers to substitute another clasp or pendant if, after you make the necklace, you find a prettier clasp or pendant to replace the ones on the necklace. Jumprings make everything work better.

Bejeweled Treasures bead mixes are available in a wide assortment of colors at Bowerbirds’ bead shows and online at my Etsy store, click here to see our bead mixes.

Make a Leaf and Nested Cup Flower Earring

Make a Leaf and Nested Cup Flower Earring

Here is a project using wirework to create dimensional floral earrings. I’m showing specific beads for this example, but you can use other colors as long as the bead shapes are as described here.

What you’ll need to get started

You’ll need the following materials: about 3 ft. of 26 gauge art wire; a pair of 14K goldfilled earwires, a pair of 10mm and of 14mm center-drilled cup round flower beads, a pair of small 3mm firepolish beads; a pair of 18mm flat leaf beads, drilled front to back, and (optional) a pair of small closed jumprings if you like a metal accent spacer element. Use these tools: round-tipped and needle nose pliers, to form the loops at the the top of the earrings, and nail clippers or wire cutters, to cut the wire at the start.

Design and preparation

I offer kits with the beads chosen already in different color ways. If you are choosing the bead colors, experiment, place them together temporarily before settling on your choice. Make sure that the nesting cup flower beads and the little 3mm round bead contrast with one another (contrast is what I aim for when I design). Keep trying till the color combination looks good to you. When you have your beads figured out, lay them out on a paper towel or piece of cloth.

Step-by-step instructions

1. Cut two 8-1/2” lengths of 26 gauge art wire. Fold one length in half. Thread one 18mm leaf in the middle of the fold, pinch lightly and twist twice so that the leaf is secure and doesn’t flop around, then wrap one strand of the wire tightly around up the other strand to an eighth of an inch. Make sure the front smooth side of the leaf is forward. Take the end of the wire and bend it outward at right angles to the central axis formed by the other wire. You will thread the nesting beads onto this wire.

2. In the order shown, thread on the 14mm bead, the 10mm bead, an optional tiny jumpring, and the 3mm small bead. Using your hands, gently bend the wire back over the 3mm bead  and thread it through the 10 and 14mm nesting beads and the small jumpring. When the small 3mm bead is nestled into the 10mm cup flower, pull the wire snug, using any pliers.
3. With your hands, adjust so that the nested flower and the 18mm leaf are facing forward in the same direction. Wrap the wire coming out of the back of the flower around the central axis wire, twist wire around central axis for about 1/8”. Now, smooth both wires together and twist evenly to make a length about an inch and a half. For best results, when twisting, hold the earring’s body still with one hand and do the wire twisting with your other hand.

4. A tidy round loop adds much to the appearance of the earring. Here’s a loop-making method I like: using the needle-nose pliers, make a bend to the right just above the outer edge of the center flower. Using the round-tipped pliers as a mandrel, form a loop. Insert ear wire in the loop. Check that the ear wire has no gaps for the earring to fall out of, and close the earwire tighter with needle-nose pliers if necessary. Holding the loop flat in the jaws of the needle-nose pliers, twist wire end two or three times. Trim it neatly in the back.

Repeat steps 1-4 to make the second earring of the pair. I hope that I have shown you some new ways to use dimensional cup flower and leaf beads. As always, use the techniques you’ve learned here to add dimension and floral flair to your own designs!

The Czech glass flower and leaf beads shown in this tutorial are available in many colors, or in materials kits, at Bowerbirds’ Etsy site,