DIY Beaded Tassel Necklace
I was invited to a bead show many years ago and I had no idea what I was getting into. I do remember being flat broke and purchasing the cheapest beads I could find and some beading wire I was told I simply had to have because I would never find it any cheaper. You see, once I walked around seeing what everyone was selling and checking out their displays they made with their goods I was hooked. I wanted to be able to make beautiful things like that.
Now I must admit I only very occasionally make things with the immense amount of beads I have collected over the years. With all things crafty I go through phases where I have to make everything out of plaster/beads/yarn/whatever and then I have my fill and move on to the next crafty compulsion.
Rather than any sort of craft phase, for this project I was mostly encouraged to make this fab tassel necklace when I saw one online for $145. I really liked the necklace but not more than about $10. Dang! So I ran to the store to buy some turquoise colored seed beads and made my own. And since, like so many crafters I have a craft stash, I had everything but the beads making this necklace only cost me $1.76 which is only 1.2% of the price of the necklace I loved would never buy. Boom.
For this project you will need:
- 11/0 seed beads
- eye pins
- beading needle
- end caps
- jewelry chain
- jump rings
- decorative beads
- jewelry tools
- super glue or jewelry glue
This is an eye pin. You get them in the jewelry making section with the other findings. They come in various lengths but I tend to keep long ones, like 2″, for projects like this. You can always nip these guys shorter but you can never make them longer. As such, I always purchase a little longer than I think I need.
See how there is a bit of a gap there on my eye? Use your pliers to smash that sucker shut.
Next tie your string onto the eye of your headpin.
Now I’m using upholstery thread right off of a spool. You see I didn’t have any bead cord and, to be honest, I use my upholstery thread more often than not, anyway 🙂 Thread a beading needle with the string tied onto your pin.
Run your first bead onto the string and push it all the way to the eye. Tie a knot to keep it in place.
Next string many beads onto the string until you get the length you desire. Now see how I’m holding this here? Hold your strung on beads just like so…
…and push your needle up through the bottom of the top bead and run it all of the way through. Now you’ll have the string sticking out of that bead but it will be more securely in place (if you mess with it enough you can loosen it up and muck up the whole business so don’t mess with it!)
Since we don’t want the string sticking out of the bottom you’ll need to return it to the top of the strand where it meats the eyepin. Simply push the needle through the beads until you reach the end. If your needle is a bit short, as mine was, you might have to do it in sections rather than run it through all of the bead in one go. Just pay attention and it shouldn’t be a problem.
Now we have our first strand of beads for the tassel and our string is back up at the eyepin to start all over again. First mark this length onto a piece of paper and keep with you as you work. It will be your guide so that all of your tassel strings are approximately the same length. Now it’s time to keep on making these strands until you’re happy with the fullness of your tassel.
Using your jewelry pliers take the eye pin and sort of wind it up until it’s a knotted mess. Using super glue affix this knot inside of an appropriately sized end cap. I purchased a set on ebay with lots of sizes so that I always have the size I need. These “lots” you can purchase of various jewelry findings can make homemade jewelry sessions so much easier!
Once the glue sets the tassel is complete!
Now we’re going to use silver beads, eyepins, jump rings and jewelry chain to finish up this necklace with some interest. Sure you can just string it onto a piece of leather cord but I wanted something a bit fancier…
Run your eye pin through your first bead and using round nose jewelry pliers curve the other end inward. You might need to trim the end to be the proper length. Don’t worry about perfection. My loops have gotten a lot better but they are far from perfect. That has never, ever prevented somebody from giving me a compliment on things I have made myself. If trying to sell your jewelry perfection is more of a concern, but when making for yourself or friends or family I can tell you it isn’t noticeable enough to lose any sleep over. Try your best and know that you’ll get better with the more you do!
In the end this is basically what you want, a bead with loops on both ends with the bead smack dab in the middle.
Using these loops connect the beads together using jump rings.
Find a pattern you like that is approximately 1-3 inches long and make two matching lengths of chain in that pattern. Using a jump ring attach both to the top of the end cap of your beaded tassel.
Again, using jump rings connect your beaded sections to a length of chain. Now you might wonder, when are we going to put a necklace closure on here and the answer is whenever you want to, if you want to. Since I made mine long enough to pull over my head it is literally unnecessary and since findings that don’t grow on trees, well, you get the picture 🙂
If you want your necklace to have a layered look, you can connect pieces of chain within the loop of the necklace, taking are to make sure each side is connected very closely to the same distance away from the tassel so that it will sit prettily and evenly when worn.
And there she is. At just over 1% of the purchase price of what I had found and drooled over online this accessory was a total steal. PLUS I was able to make the design more “me” having a silver chain with a bit of decorative beads near the tassel rather than a solid bead necklace the whole way around. Yes, I saved a ton of money, but let’s face it I’m never going to spend that kid of money on a necklace, anyway. For me, handmade jewelry means I can have things similar to what is popular and often expensive on my itty bitty fashion budget!