Make Your Own Jewelry: How To Bead A Necklace | Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What You'll Need


    • 3.

      Selecting Beads


    • 4.

      Necklace Lengths


    • 5.

      How Many Beads?


    • 6.

      Laying Out the Design


    • 7.

      Stringing The Beads


    • 8.

      Attaching The Clasp


    • 9.

      Finished Necklace


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About This Class

Have you ever seen a beautiful strand of beads at the craft store and wished you knew what to do with them? You are not alone. The top three questions we get are:

  • How do I turn beads into a necklace?
  • What should I string the beads on?
  • How do I put on a clasp?

In this class, we’ll answer these questions while we show you how to make this beautiful beaded necklace. 


We’ll show you what tools to get. All you need are wire cutters and chain-nose pliers which you will use over and over again in jewelry making! We’ll show you what kind of wire to string the beads on and how to put on the clasp and finish the ends.

We’ll also share our process for picking out beads and arranging them into a design using a Design Board. (The Design Board is completely optional, but it is inexpensive and easy to use, so we wanted you to see how they work.)

Making jewelry is so fun and once you learn these basics, you can make all kinds of necklaces and bracelets too!

And remember, while you are working on your necklace, we are right here to help! Just leave us a comment and we'll reply!


Jennifer & Kitty

Meet Your Teacher

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Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

Running With Sisters: Come Craft With Us!



We're the O'Neil Sisters! Kitty's on the left and Jennifer is on the right. We really are sisters and we live about 40 minutes from each other in the San Francisco Bay area.

We started working together over ten years ago when we wrote our first book Decorating With Funky Shui. Since then we've authored five more craft books and our craft projects have been featured in Woman's World magazine, Create and Decorate, Craft Ideas, and Bead Unique. Our work has been featured online on the sites of HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Homes Journal, and Parents magazine.

We do all kinds of craft how-tos. We love to mosaic, we enjoy candle making, and spa crafts are always fun. But our favorite craft is jewelry making, because the materials are so beautiful and when ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Kitty and I'm Jennifer. And we're the only all sisters. We're gonna show you how to beat a necklace, even if you've never made any jewelry before. You can absolutely do this cause we're gonna show you everything you need to know. We're gonna tell you about necklace links. We're gonna shake what tools you need. We'll tell you what kind of beads to get and what wire in class. And then we're gonna take you step by step through the process of stringing a necklace. We'll show you how to arrange your beads, how to string the beads and then, most importantly, how to put on the class. We can't wait to show you what a fun project this is. And there's a place where you can post a picture. So when you're done with your necklace, we can see it and we would love that. And if you have any questions while you're working, go ahead and post them in. The comments and we'll reply were absolutely here to help you every step of the way. Let's get started 2. What You'll Need: For this project, you'll need two different jewelry tools. One is chained nose pliers, and you can get all of these tools at your beating store Craft store the chain. Those players have a smooth surface on the inside, and they're flat. We prefer using smooth chain those pliers to ones that abridged because we just could leave marks on your mettle. And then we have wire snips or wire cutters. They're also called flush cutters. They're called flush cutters because one side of the cutters is nice and flat and the other side is angled said. This is the flesh side and this is the angled side, and we'll tell you more about that as we make our necklace. Bead Stringing wire is great to use When you're doing a beaded necklace, you're going to string the beads. It's stronger than thread. It's really like a bundle of wires. Here's a little picture on the back here that shows that it's a little bundle of wires that are coated in nylon, and it makes it very flexible but strong at the same time, and you can buy the beads Stream. Wire in three sizes is typically what we see at the craft store in at Our Bead Store. The three sizes are seven, 19 and 49 that number refers to how many strands are in this bundle. The seven strands has good flexibility. The 19 Strand has better flexibility, and the 49 Strand has the best flexibility. So why wouldn't you? Always just by 49 it's also the most expensive. So seven is cheapest, 19 is right in the middle and 49 is spendy, so we kind of go to 19 allots kind of the Goldilocks of bead stringing wire. Another thing to know about beats train wires that it comes in different colors, black and white and silver and gold. And you also want to pay attention to the size of the school. When you're buying it, you might think you got a deal on it, but this one's only 10 feet and this one's 30. So you want to look for that to when you're buying your beat stream. Where to finish the ends of your necklace, you'll need crimp beads, and these were sold in the same section where you find beads at the craft store or you don't see them at your independent be retailer the crimp EADS and the crime covers and the class so called findings the creepy. Just like a little silver tube. It looks like a B, but it's meant to be flattened or crypt, and we're gonna cover that with a crimp cover. So this is like an open clam sort of metal and will close it over this crimp, be don't make it look nice and pretty like a silver bead. And for this necklace, we've chosen a taco class, and it comes with two parts the bar part and then the target around part of the class. 3. Selecting Beads: When you go shopping for beads, you might notice they have these beautiful strands. Now we call them inspiration strands where they've mixed a bunch of different beads together. And what we really like about this is they have special beads like these with little metal on them and some pearls mixed in. And they've already done some of the work for you designing your necklace so you could just use this as your inspiration. We looked at the ones that we picked out, and we decided that we really like this strand. This sort of blues, it looks like denim a little bit. Kind of like an everyday necklace. Nice color story. Go with everything. Absolutely so what we did. And this is what we usually do is we take this inspiration strand and walk around the beating section of the craft store and look for beads and strands of beads that kind of go with this. That just looked pretty with it. We take it shopping. What exactly? So we picked out a couple different strands. We picked out some ham a tight because we love hematite way wanted some shine, and we picked out these square crystals and these are really beautiful because they haven't a be finished A B stands for aurora borealis, and it's kind of an oil slick finish. And we also picked out some extra blue beads. We thought those were pretty, But once we got them all together, we didn't necessarily like them all together. Yeah, we decided that this blue, it just kind of kills the blue. That's the star of our show in this necklace and in this strand, it's a little too purple. Yeah, just go. Does that rule that one out? And then we also decided that even though we love hematite, heaven is a little heavy. A little dark? Yeah. It also is the same size as the crystals, but really like the square crystals. And we don't need a lot of the same size beads. What we want are some small, some medium and some large. Yeah, that way the necklace will sort of go in and out and kind of be interesting. So we're not going to use the appetite even though we love it. So we kept looking for something a little bit silvery and add a little sparkle, and we picked out these Randal's. We just liked the silver of this. It kind of goes with the silver that's in her necklace and adds a little shine. These air faceted Randall's. So there are a lot of surfaces to reflect light that's gonna give us a lot of sparkle on the necklace. I think that's a nice company. Why you to think we were just 4. Necklace Lengths: when it comes to making a necklace. One of the decision Joe wanna make is how long you'd like your necklace to be. There's some standard links out there, and we have a couple examples here. This longest one is with the tape measure. Here. You can see it's 15 inches this way, so 30 inches total that one's called upper length is pretty dramatic. This centre one. If you use a tape measure here, hold it up. It's 11 times to so 22 inches thereabouts. That's called matinee length. And then the shortest one is called Princess. It's about 16 18 inches long, and that's what we're wearing. It sits up high like this, but we think the best way to determine the length of necklace that you'd like is to take a tape measure and just go ahead and put it around your neck and pull it down to where you'd like your necklace to to hit. But it looks like you think 20 inches. There you go. That's the best way to do it, and then you just make your necklace that long 5. How Many Beads?: The next question is, do we have enough beads to make our necklace? There's definitely enough beads on this strand. Make a bracelet. But for a necklace we're gonna want to do to be beside an 18 inch Yes, we're gonna do 18 inches. The class is about an inch, so we need 17 inches of beads. So we could just add up the length of this strands that went seven. And this one's 9 16 inches. Place says it on it just right on their side. You print? Yeah, but if it doesn't say so, you can also use this trick you can take to your tape measure. We want 17 inches of be. Okay. I'm gonna pull it this way just to hear you go. So we've got from 1 to 7 for the first rammed. So they were right. It is seven inches, and then this looks like another three inches less. So that's almost 10 10 inches. There we add this one in takes us up to almost 15 and there's two strands here, so if we take the second strand, it definitely is more than 17. So that's just a little trick to make sure you buy enough beads you want, make sure gonna be the and that's important. And now we're ready to put those beads into a design. 6. Laying Out the Design: This is a B board. It's also called a design board, and we like it because it has these channels that you can put your beads in. And then it also has measurement, so you can measure how big your necklace is going to be, right? So you see the numbers around the edge here and zero in the center. The zero is where your focal bead will be here for the center of your necklace and what you'll do that it's layout your beads up to half of the length of your necklace. For example, if we're making a 16 inch necklace, we want to go to eight inches on both sides, and then your next will be a little bit longer, cause when you put on the class would be a tiny bit longest. You want to take that into account. That's right. It's also nice if there's three channels here, you can use the outside channel and the channel and make a two strand necklace. Regan, use all three and make a triple strand necklace. That's nice, and they also have some little pockets that you could just store some beads and that's great and it's covered in flocking, so it's soft and the beads don't just roll over the table. So what we want to do now is take our beads that we picked out and we want to cut them off the strands that came on, got them in our little channels here. And then we like to start with the biggest feeds first to lay out the design. And if you're doing a symmetric necklace, you could lay it out symmetrically. But we want to do kind of a random design. It looks a little modern right now to do that, so we'll just take some of our biggest to be joined a graphs and reason. The outside channel. So we're just gonna lay them around and then what kind of check and make sure we don't have to next to each other that air the same. Make sure it's not to say metrics. We don't want to be. That's right. We're building up to what we say. We went about 17.5 a little yet a little over eight s, so we'll go a little bit every it doesn't have to be precise. I like the little silver guys other, so I don't want the silver guy next to this silver right you put in here made their their perfect. So now we're gonna go for our medium size beads and these have the silver that faceted. I love the faceted beads, and then we're just delay those around the same way. We tend to use smaller beads toward the where the class. Yes, it just makes it easier. Close the clasps. Can I just laid there a little bit, like, evenly distributed. Here we go. Then we have the little A B member that was there. A Bora Bora Ellis finished on these little Q B beings that are so cute. Love those. And we'll put these in between the other beads and you could put one in between every bead . But you could also put to in some spotter mix it up a little bit. Whatever you want to do. That's the nice thing about laying the beads out ahead of time. On your be bored as you can, you can change your mind. You could see what it looks like. Move him around. You don't agree. String the whole thing right now. If you have gaps like this, When you string all these, they're gonna be pushed down, close together. That's right. You won't have enough beats. You want to make sure that these air all pretty much touching in your design if you wanted to be the right length. So once you've laid out all your beads, you can push them down together so that they're touching and then go back and check your measurements. Make sure that have these. Yeah, I didn't like that. So this is pretty good for a couple of room for a couple more here and then we have extras if we need them on the end. If we don't have quite enough that length, and then the nice thing to as you can look at it here. This is kind of big, maybe to be better than it is to fund what we swapped out with that. Yeah, I think that's a good idea to swap. So now, because they're not on the string yet, you can move them all around, get them how you want them in. These two could be swapped. Yeah, that's good. And we like to make sure we don't have to alike next to each other like? Yes, to a little bit too somewhere. Probably to be next to you at one of those. And do you swap it for this silver one? Let's do that. Yeah, that looks good. So this design board just let you lay out your design, which is why it's called the design Board. We think it's really helpful, and this looks good. We're ready. The string. 7. Stringing The Beads: we're ready to string. The beads have got them all in order. And so now we're just gonna put them on our bead stringing wire. That's the speed stringing part of the necklace. Got a bead stringing wire. Here, take the little protector thing off and find our end and just stretch it out here. We wanted the necklace to be about 18 inches. When it's done well, want a bigger piece toe work with? Because we need extra on both ends to put on the class. What kind of 23 inch piece? Okay, why? I got a tape measure here. I'm gonna pull it to the end here. That just a little bit more. There were 23. Great. And I kind of got a straight my wire cutters here. We like having a little bit extra in the end, because if you really need a little bit extra when you're trying to finish the ends, yes, you needed to move around the class, so we're almost ready to string. But if we put a bead on right now, it would come right off the other end. Here's a trick. This is a great trick. Just got take some masking tape and put a little fold a little piece of it right here over the end. And now we can start stringing on the other end and the beads won't slide off. So now we're just going to start adding the beads onto our bead stringing wire at one end and just follow the design that we've already laid out. So now we've got all of our beads on our bead stringing wire, and I'm just gonna slide it down to the end. Where? Tape this. It looks fantastic. Look at that. That's wonderful. And next we can put on the class. 8. Attaching The Clasp: we're ready to put on the clasp and we're just gonna start on the end. It doesn't have the tape on it. Good place to start. And the first thing I do is feed on a crypt bead. And so this is this tiny little metal bead, and it's meant to be smushed or crypt, so that goes on first. The reason that goes on first is you're going to put on the Quran peed. You're gonna feed the wire through the class and then back through the Quran, Pete. And that's what's gonna hold the class on the wire. So this is the hardest part is finding a little hole because it's so time, Amy, being now I'm gonna slide it down a little bit. But because we have all this slack, that means there's not a lot of slack at the other end. So I don't want to do this right up next to my being is gonna need this extra slack when I get to the other side. So I'm gonna just pick a spot. And yesterday we just put the class here and then slide beads down. That's right. 90 the class. That's where my parents go there first. And this one, When you're using a toggle, you wanna make sure you find where the actual whole is. I can tell it's this little artsy little toggle said some pretty. So now I'm going to take my feet stream wire and feed it back through that little crimp beads. This is the whole trick of putting a class bond bead stringing wire, and then I'm just gonna pull it. Not super tight, but so it's kind of close like that. And now I'm ready to crimp my little print bean. And then she's just going to use these flat chain those players to press that crypt be closed. Just like that. Very nice. And that's gonna hold that, um, place. You can kind of tug it a little bit. Make sure it's on there. That's going to give it one more little press. Here we go. You can't leave it like this. You want to trim the wire wire, but we think it's nice to cover the current bead with a current be cover this bead that's made specially to cover crimp beads. That's right, and it's kind of hollow. I'm gonna go ahead and trim this first here. Here we go. So that's the crimped bead. And it's like a doughnut with a bite out of it. Exactly. It's sort of an open, hollow bead, and she's gonna slide that right over the flattened crimp. So I'm just gonna feed it over my cramp like this. See that? There it's gonna were gonna nestle the crimp beads right in that little open clamshell hide inside the plant. And I'm gonna take the chain, those players very gently going to just close the little clam over that because you wanted to look like a bead. When you're done, you don't want to smash it and have it be dented or flattened. Exactly. So it'll be disguised as a little silver. He's like a little bead. And now we're ready. Teoh work on the other end. So I'm just gonna slide the beads down to this end like this, right? And we're going to do the exact same thing we just did. You just cut a little piece off here. I was just gonna say, you gonna make sure that you've got the needs all the way down, Teoh and good point, because you don't want slack in there because the beetle site around. That's good that we're gonna take our current be Thank you. You're so tiny. Slide it on just like we did before. Undefeated on like that This time. This time we're not gonna work way out here in outer space. We're gonna slide our current be down almost to where or beat ISS because we want it to be close. We don't want a lot of slack said he said, Then put on the talk apart. Don't forget do that. I almost forgot to do that. I've done I have many times, for instance, a class fun. So we've got our toggle on, and then we're gonna go back through the cramp being just like that by that's you can see what we're doing. And I'm going to just pull this so that we're sure to still be close to that. This bead here? Yeah, our last bead. Does that look close enough? That looks good. Not too much slack in their good. It'll do. You wanna pull it so tight that it's strange your wire might break? That's right. You do want to be pretty snug said the beads aren't sliding right you don't have extra string show, and they're okay. That looks pretty good. So, 19 crumpet, I'm gonna just flatten it with my chain. Those players, like it did before. Yeah, and then I'm gonna trim the wire and the treatment. I'm just gonna I like to use the the flat side of our cutters rather than the pointy side. That way, your cut will be flat. The part that's on the project. Yeah. Lacked. So I'm gonna cut right like that. Careful not to cut through your other piece of wire when you're done that before, to not. And now we're going to take the other. What is it called? Every cover indifferent. It looks finished that way. And that's especially important. If you're gonna make jewelry to sell it, You want it to look finished. And also, the crib bead is kind of flat and square when you finish it. And it could be a little pokey in the back of your neck. Says right print beat cover also protects you from the wires and pokey nous. So I'm just gonna close that over my current bead like we did before. Yes. Trying to be general here. I slid off my my crimped cover a little bit there. That looks great. It's a little crooked on receiving straight. See here. There we go. The ice Dry it up now. Gonna just know your uncles. You can see what that looks to the class pretty. 9. Finished Necklace: Here's our finished necklace. We think it turned out great. It is so wearable, and we would love to see your finish necklace, too. And you know what else is fun when you go shopping for your beads? You can post a picture of your beads before you make your necklace, and that's kind of a before picture. Love that idea, and everyone in the class would love to see your finish necklace. So definitely post a picture of it when you're through and as you're working, if you have questions post a comment were absolutely here to help. Thanks for watching.