I've been browsing for bridesmaids' jewelry online for awhile now, and I just haven't been able to find anything that matched both the dresses and my budget. So I caved and stopped by Hobby Lobby during my lunch break last week, and left with a bag full of jewelry making supplies (they're half off this week if you live near one!). I took a little inspiration from my own jewelry I had made by an Etsy seller, and the necklaces I created actually turned out better than I could have imagined, since they match the style of my jewelry!
- Jewelry chain (either cut in lengths or one long one that you can size yourself)
- Clasps and rings
- Small jumper rings
- Pins with a small head (the same as the ones for DIY hair flowers), 2" works best
- Jewelry pliers
- Wire cutters
- Beads of your choice, I used chocolate & ivory pearls, brown swarovski crystals, and champagne & clear glass beads
Start by taking a pin and threading a bead onto it. Place the jewelry pliers about 1/8" above the pin and bend the wire over the pliers.
Then wrap the wire horizontally around the 1/8" area under the pliers, wrapping about 2 times around. It helps if you can hold the wire with one pair of pliers and use another pair of pliers in the other hand to wrap the wire.
Cut the excess wire, and finish wrapping the loose end. You'll end up with a small wire loop at the top of the bead.
Repeat this step with different beads until you have a stockpile. I found it was easiest to wire all the beads first, then assemble them onto the necklace.
Next, cut your jewelry chain to the desired length - a standard necklace is between 15" and 18". Find the center of the chain and attach a jumper ring by opening the ring, threading it through a link, and closing it again. Take another jumper ring and string one of your wired beads onto it, leaving it open. Then loop the open ring through the ring that you centered on your chain, attaching the bead to the necklace.
Then take another bead and repeat the previous step, this time looping the jumper ring through the ring that holds the first bead to create a chain. You're building a cascade of beads that will get longer each time you add a new one. Repeat this step until your strand of beads reaches a length you like.
See how it gets longer every time you add a bead? Once you get to a length you like, stop adding beads to the bottom of the chain and begin adding them to the cluster, making it thicker. I didn't use any particular order, I just added a bead where it looked thin, and used different colors and shapes.
Once you've finished, add a clasp and ring to the end of the chain, and you've got a necklace! It may look like a lot of work, but it only took about 2 hours of on-and-off work to make 5 necklaces. Did I mention the supplies only cost $25? Yep, 5 necklaces for $25 - totally worth it!