Monday, January 25, 2010

Made It Monday with MAB Jewelry

Thank you to Laura from MAB Jewelry for sharing this awesome tutorial on beading a necklace - which is perfect, because I've been dying to try my hand at this for ages.  I have some great beads too.  Now to find all my supplies again!

How to make a simple beaded necklace on beading wire
Welcome to MAB Studios, aka my living room floor.  I'd like to apologize for the state of my poor battered bead board.  I've been using this little guy for about six years now, and I didn't realize how battered he was until I took pictures for this tutorial.
You will need:
Enough beads for your project
A clasp
Enough beading wire for the length of your necklace, plus about an additional 5" of wire
Crimp beads
Wire cutters
Needle nosed pliers

It's usually a good idea to lay your beads out in the desired pattern on a bead board.  When I first started beading, I actually used a cutting board with a ridge in it, so you can certainly improvise and use something handy.  Bead boards also give you measurements along the curved indentation, so you can judge lengths.  I've laid out the main larger beads here, but I usually add smaller beads like bugle or seed beads on the back of a necklace.  The back usually isn't seen when worn, and smaller beads are more comfortable worn against the back of the neck.  Also, I often change the design between the time I lay out the beads and the point where it's finished.  I did with this design!

Cut a length of beading wire about five inches longer than you want your finished piece to be.  I use Beadalon stainless steel wire, .015" for almost everything I do, but different beaders like different wires.  Experiment and find the one that works best for you.  String a crimp bead and then another bead onto one end wire.  Adding another bead at the end of your project will keep the crimp from rubbing directly against the clasp, which will protect the wire and lengthen the life of the piece.  String one side of your clasp onto the wire.  Loop the wire back through the bead and crimp bead.

Pull the wire tight, leaving about 1/4" of a loop between your bead and the clasp, so the clasp can move freely.  Also, leave about a 1" to 2" tail from the wire end.  Crimp the crimp bead flat with a pair of pliers. 

Begin stringing your beads onto the wire.  Make sure the first beads cover the tail you have left after crimping.  I usually measure the piece at the halfway point, to make sure it's going to end up being the length I wanted.

After finishing your bead stringing, add a crimp bead and another bead at the end of your project.  String on the other end of your clasp.  As you did at the beginning, loop your wire back through the end bead, crimp bead, and down through about 1" to 2" of beads in your project.  Pull the wire tight with your needlenosed pliers, leaving about 1/4" or so of room near the clasp, so the clasp can move freely.  Crimp the crimp bead flat with your needlenosed pliers, being careful not to break the beads on either side of the crimp bead.

Trim the excess wire and your piece is ready to wear!
Sounds like fun! I can't wait to try it!  I'll be posting the results of trying my hand at this soon!  In the meantime, if anyone else follows along and creates a lovely piece, drop me an email and send me pics! I'd love to show off some of our creations.  :)

Thank you again Laura!


2kutekreations said...

so pretty... thanks for the post :)

MAB Jewelry said...

Thanks so much for featuring me! And maybe it's time for a new bead board, but this one and I have been through about fifty miles of wire together. I don't think I can replace it!

Amy said...

Well, you could always save it for sentimental pieces. :-)

Pili said...

That's so nice! What an interesting craft!

Anonymous said...

wow thanks for the tutorial-really informative and helpful for those of us who know nothing about beading!!!
I would call it a "nicely seasoned" bead board.