Punch up your fall neutrals with a fun DIY wooden bead necklace. Paint one bead a bright, contrasting color for an unexpected pop.
I love combining wood and neutrals with little bits of color. If you have a few jewelry making supplies and some basic skills (like me), you can put a simple necklace like this together and customize it any way you want. Choose your favorite bright color to paint one of your beads, or do what I did and use nail polish!
Here are the items I used to make this 21″ necklace.
About 13″ of flexible stringing wire
8″ – 9″ of jewelry chain ( I used an ‘aged brass’ finish)
Basic jewelry pliers and wire cutters
8 large wooden beads (about 18-20 mm?)
Jump rings, crimp beads & necklace clasp (in same finish as your chain)
About 42 flat ‘spacer’ beads ( I took apart a clearance bracelet to get these blue ones)
12 small metallic beads (for in-betweens and ends)
Bright paint or nail polish
First, paint your ‘to be painted’ bead, because it may take a bit to dry. Also, it may not hurt to have an extra bead, just in case you paint like I do, which is to say, I had to try several times to get it the way I wanted. (You also may need to lightly sand your bead first).
I tried painting my bead with a bright orange craft paint, but it just didn’t look bright enough or glossy enough, so I ended up using nail polish I already had — Sinful Colors in, ahem, ‘Boogie Nights’. I really like the bright coral color.
I covered the fuzzy tip of a cotton swab with some clear tape and slid my bead over this in order to make a little handle to hold it on. It looks like a lollipop, doesn’t it? But it smells kind of like nail polish. Anyway, paint your bead first because it took forever to dry. (Oh, and you could, of course, just buy a colored bead, but that seems too easy).
Next, to assemble:
1.) Cut your bead wire to about 13″ long. Bend the end over just a bit to make a little loop and crimp it shut close to the end with a crimp bead and pliers. Make sure to leave a small loop at the end big enough to slip a jump ring through.
2.) Holding the jump ring tight, slide on one of your small round in-between beads and then slide on half of your flat spacer beads.
3.) For some reason, this is where I decided to attach one side of my chain…probably because my painted bead wasn’t dry yet! With wire cutters, carefully cut your chain so that you have two 4″ sections (with an optional 1″ or so piece left). Attach one 4″ piece of chain to your jump ring. Using another jump ring, attach your clasp piece.
4.) Back to the other end with the wooden beads….finish your spacer beads with another small round bead and…
5.) Add your painted bead (make sure it’s not still tacky!) and the other wooden beads, spacing them out with the little round beads in between.
6.) Almost done. Now you just have to create the same wire loop and crimp end on the other side. Before you crimp it closed, try to pull most of the slack out of your wire so you don’t have a lot of excess wire hanging off the ends of your necklace.
7.) Finish by attaching another jump ring to the finished wire loop, and the other half of your chain to that…
8.) and a final jump ring on the end to attach to your clasp.
Now an optional ‘finishing’ touch: I added a small 1″ piece of chain with a little bead on it to the very end of my necklace to finish it (and make it more adjustable).
If you’d like to do this,
9.) use about 1″ of your chain, a small bead and — if you have one — one of those little nail head wire thingies (not sure what they’re called but they are usually a part of the jewelry ‘findings’ kits.)
10.) Slip the bead onto the wire and with a round nose pliers, carefully make a small loop and twist the end around one or two times and trim off excess. (You can google for LOTS better demonstrations of that part!)
11.) You can fasten the clasp at any part on the chain and let the little end drop down in the back for a finishing touch.
12.) And there you have it.
I hope my instructions make some kind of sense! One tip I have before making any kind of necklace is to use one you already own (that you like the length of) as a basic guide for your measurements. Laying them side by side as you go helps too. Also, when making something like this, if it doesn’t work out the way you like, you can always take it apart and start over…