Wednesday, July 3

Make It - Mend It: Easy Peasy Boho Bead Necklace

Happy Wednesday my loves! Here's a wee tutorial on making(or re-making) a boho knotted-bead necklace... the knots help to keep the beads in good shape(not rubbing off against each other), and if it breaks when someone small is chewing on it, only one bead will come off, so there is less general chaos and danger! I've never stopped wearing jewellery when I've had littlies, I think there is something so beautiful about their little fingers exploring the different colours and textures, and their little eyes lighting up as they spot their favourite bead or button. FR(9 months now!) is at that lovely stage of coming into my arms for a cuddle, then glancing up to my ear to check which earring I am wearing... and then peering round the other side to eye up and fondle the matching earring. Oh the cute! I've always found that if you keep wearing jewellery and encouraging them to touch it gently, they will learn to treat fragile things with respect. So, without further ado, the necklace.

1) You need some of your favourite beads. For me, a necklace I made years ago that was ABOUT to break.

I just love the colours so much, I was desperate to preserve the 'feeling' of the necklace, while also re-stringing it and making it much longer. Don't be afraid to cut up or otherwise destroy something you've bought in a shop or been given, in order to extract the pieces you love the most.

2). You need a necklace, or picture of a necklace that you want to model your new necklace on.

I made this blue strand out of a combination of several different necklaces last year, and I want to use the same method for starting and finishing the necklace; a 'clasp' if you will, although I intend to make this new one long enough to just pull over my head.

3). If you want to make your new necklace longer than the old one, you will need some extra goodies to fill in the spaces. I had this pack of cheap plastic beads with a gold finish, which seemed to fit in(although I don't want this necklace to look all shiny and sparkly, I think the boho look has room for bits of treasure here and there!), as well as some new beads that my parents brought me back from Murano, Italy(again, I was careful not to choose the really glassy, sparkly or metallic options).

You also need thread or cord to string your new necklace on... I always prefer a waxed or otherwise coated cord, which will prolong the life of your necklace.

Make sure your cord is thin enough to go through the holes of the beads you chose, or that the beads have a large enough hole. If they have very narrow openings, you will need to use embroidery thread, but then you will also have to use a needle - and make sure the beads can fit over the needle... yawn! Very tiresome. So I prefer a thin-ish cord and beads with larger holes. Use a large quantity(at least 2m) of cord or thread, as this design knots in between each bead for safety ... you will be surprised how quickly you will go through a couple of metres of cord!

4) Start! You need lots of room - preferably a tray on a table, but I usually do mine on the couch in front of the TV, so I choose one with a big lip so that the beads won't scatter on the couch. Begin by tying a loop - not too big, just large enough to slip over a small bead - into one end of the cord...things will be a bit fiddly at the beginning because you will be looping a long long cord through everything(I had a length of 5 metres which I then cut in half).

Then you're away... just remember to tie a juicy little knot after each bead, or if the bead has a particularly giant opening, knot it several times on the same spot to make a larger 'bulge'. If you'd like to include a button that has 4 holes, criss cross the thread through firmly so that it sits flat against you... does that make sense? I hope so!

I love the combination of sizes, colours and materials, but you may prefer a more uniform look. For this necklace I am 'vaguely' following a pattern of alternating smaller sized beads or buttons with larger sized ones. It can be genuinely difficult to make something that does not have a pattern or repetition to it; because I like the hodge-podge patchwork effect of different kinds and colours of beads, I have to always check that I am not repeating myself!

5) Keep holding it up against yourself to see how long you'd like it to go(or, if you're an organised person, figure that out beforehand and have a measuring tape handy to see when you've hit the middle), and make sure that you are placing things just right. Because I prefer the organic, step-by-step approach rather than planning the whole piece, I have to check when I get to the centre that the bead in that spot is nicely weighted and shaped, and if you are alternating sizes like I am, that it's a larger sized bead. This will help to hang better. Then just keep on going, till you get to the end...

6) To finish off, you want to tie a knot after your last bead as per usual, and then leave a little space(about 5mm) before tying on the bead that you will use to 'clasp' or shut the necklace. After tying the clasp bead on, tie three or four knots directly onto the cord, in that space that you left. Then tie a knot in the flyaway cord, as close to the other knots as possible, and snip the end.

If you like things to look tidy, you could try and thread the flyaway back through the last bead before trimming it, so that it's partially hidden. You're done! Fling it on, and you're away.

Any questions?


Cat said...

it is lovely Rachel and a great tutorial

Simoney said...

You are so cool and clever. I hope you pinned this tutorial!