Recently, I posted this necklace to Instagram and was asked how I create bead chains like this [thank you, Anna of Charis Blooms]. If any of my readers have seen my creative work, please know I welcome your questions about it. It informs me as to what instructionals are helpful to y’all, which is a big part of why I blog.
So, without further ado, let’s bead! You will need:
- round nose pliers
- needle nose pliers
- wire trimmers
- beads — any will do; I recommend a box of mixed to pick through, a strand or 2, and some seed beads.
- eye pins
- head pins — optional; these are used for things like earrings and to make your own beaded charms. Head pins look like wire nails. Charms or earrings are built from the dangly-end up, starting with the head pins. See photo for example.
A word on beads:
Beads come in many shapes, sizes and materials. They can even be made from paper, if you’ve the time and energy to do so. I would encourage you to use literally any type of bead you can find. You may eventually find a specific type or style of bead is a bit more “you”, and something you find often complimented.
I’m currently using this box of beads I found at my local Michael’s Craft store. They are a wildly odd mix of glass beads. I imagine if I looked deeper into how these were picked, I’d likely find they are the “throwaways” from a lot of other bead strands. Still useful, just the “ugly ducklings” of the bunch… and yet it was just such a box of beads I used to make my favorite necklace. All that to say, don’t ignore the rejects. They’re beautiful in their own way.
Free Tip: An easy way to get cheap seed beads, if you don’t need a full box of them is to pick out a $1 bracelet. And hey, you might even get a charm out of the deal!
Let’s start with the first “link” in your chain of beads:
- Thread the beads you want on an eye pin. Do not fill it completely. Leave enough
room to create a second loop on the “wire” part of the eye pin.
— If a bead’s hole is big enough to slip over the eye of the pin, consider framing it with your seed beads or the strand beads recommended. This is not necessary, just a precaution.
— Have fun. This doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Taking your round nose pliers in your best hand [I’m right-handed], grab the
remainder of the pin as close to the top bead as possible. Bend the end of the pin away from you in any general direction. Do not bend it all the way, just at an angle will do…
- Grip the pin with your round-nose pliers again, just a bit higher up the pin. Bend it carefully around the round nose of the pliers, creating the beginnings of a loop.
- Now, trade the pliers for your trimmers. Eyeballing the loop you’ve begun, gauge where you need to trim the wire.
— Quick tip, often the slight corner made in step 2 can be a good point for lining this up. Once your pin is perpendicular to this angle, line up your trimmers and snip there.
- Sliding your round-nose pliers back into the loop you’ve begun, carefully wrap the wire the rest of the way around the round-nose. Bring it around and slightly up,
finishing your loop. The loop can be adjusted a little by shimmying the tip of the pin back and forth till it’s as close to centered -touching the angle you made in the pin earlier- as possible.
To create a chain of these bead charms, make a second charm and hook it into one of the “eyes” of the eye pin in the charm you just made. You can also add these beads to an actual chain by hooking the top into one of the links of the chain. Use a head pin exactly the same way.
Want to see this in action? Check out this Instagram video! Thank you for reading and please let me know how your own creative projects turned out!