Buying your own clothing and accessories can be so limiting sometimes. Certain outlets don’t carry your style, or you have a really cool idea for an outfit and nothing you can find online or in-store even comes close. When it comes to jewelry, why not gather up some materials, sketch a few designs, and make your own necklace? It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s rewarding when you can finally create something you’re proud of and ready to wear.
This guide will give you the inspiration and the how-to for making three different types of necklaces. No matter your style, learn how to make your own necklace here.
To start, check out this introductory guide on designing your own jewelry.
Make Your Own Necklace: Beaded
The first thing you want to do is find the right stringing materials. You’ll need beading wire for the actual necklace, and beading thread for stringing your beads together. Necklaces are more than just strings and charms. The beading wire is a sturdy material that will make sure your necklace isn’t flimsy or fragile. You can make a necklace from beading thread, but only if your beads are particularly small.
Measure out how long you want your necklace to be, adding an additional 5 inches or so to leave room for the clasp and to make stringing easier.
At this point, you’ll need to select the beads you want to use, large ones (or whatever size) and a few small ones, a clasp, and two crimp beads. Slide a few of your smaller beads onto the wire. You can use as many as you want. Functionally, these are just there to separate the primary beads of your necklace from the clasping mechanism in the back. After your small beads, slide in the crimping bead, then the jump ring, stringing the thread to create a knot.
String the beading wire into the clasp, and use a pair of small pliers to compress the beads into place. Once you have this end of your necklace complete, you can start stringing beads into it. If you’re using the same beads for the whole necklace, then this process is easy. If you have a design in mind, you might want to measure everything out and make sure you’ve counted the right amount of beads. Make one mistake, and you’ll have to remove everything just to fix it. Don’t forget to leave a few inches empty for the other end of your clasp.
String the crimps, beads and clasps the same way you did on the first end. This time, string the remaining wire into the beads, as far as it will go, while leaving some room to make sure the necklace isn’t too tight.
Check out this professional pearl and bead stringing course for a more in-depth, illustrated guide.
Make Your Own Necklace: Wire
If pearls or beads are too thick or heavy for your preferences, why not try a wire necklace? There are many different kinds you can make. In this guide, we’ll go over a custom chain-link necklace made from individual pieces of wire. This takes precision and skill, which will come with a lot of practice.
For this, you’ll need wire cutters, a pair of jaw nose pliers, round nose pliers, and of course, wire.
Decide how long you want each chain link to be. Cut a piece of wire, and round one end of it into a small loop using your round nose pliers. For the other end, twist the wire into a kind of figure eight shape, leaving some room to link the loops together. This is your chain necklace, so the links can be as small or large as you want, and they can be whichever shape you want. Make sure when you go to cut your second piece of wire, it’s the exact same length as the first.
Continue the process until you have enough chain links to work with. Depending on the shape you’ve chosen for each link, you can insert beads into the wire to separate each link in the chain. Or you can link multiple loops of wire at once, with a bead appearing every three or five links. It’s your design! Don’t forget to add clasps to the end of your necklace, an easy process given the adjustability of the wire. Or, you can make a long necklace that doesn’t require a clasp.
You can also use wire to wrap found objects into pendants for your chain or wire necklace. Check out this course on how to use wire to wrap custom-made pendants.
Make Your Own Necklace: Hemp
If shiny beads, pearls, and chain isn’t your style, hemp necklaces are a good alternative.
Hemp necklaces can be complicated if you don’t have any knitting or braiding skills, since you’re essentially just taking three strings of hemp and braiding them together.
What you need is to cut one long length of hemp – long as in, a couple yards. Cut a second length of hemp that’s twice as long as you want your necklace to be. This means if you’re looking to make your necklace a foot long, you’d cut a piece of hemp a little over two feet long, just for some extra room.
Next, fold each length of hemp in half, and place the shorter rope inside the longer rope. At the tip, where fold of the ropes meet, tie them together with an overhead knot. You can learn how to tie various knots in this course.
This is where it gets tricky. Take the rope on the far right, run it beneath the two middle ropes, and over the leftmost rope. Create a loop by running this same cord under the two leftmost and over the rightmost one. Tighten the knot, and repeat. Once you get halfway, you can add a bead to the middle, and then continue knotting, or you can just go for a plain hemp look.
Once you reach the end of your necklace, tie a loop on one end and leave the other end free. You will clasp your necklace together with simple knots.
Getting into jewelry making as a business? Learn how to market your custom-made jewelry with this course.
Don’t forget to check out this jewelry making ideas guide for more inspiration.