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.
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.
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.
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.