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How to Make Sundance Style Jewelry with Crystal and Pearl Beads
Sundance Style: Vintage Button Gypsy Bracelet
Tools Needed For Project
round nose pliers
awl (for placing knots)
Misc: Clear Nail Polish to hold Knots
You can use a large sewing pin in place of an awl.
You will need:
A 4 or 5 inch scrap brown 1 mm round leather cord
16 4 mm Czech glass beads for loop
5 3 mm crystal bicones amber
12 6 mm assorted crystal bicones
Several pieces of chain
gold-fillled open jump rings
1 Vintage self-shank button for clasp
12-15 inches C-lon cord
silk thread w/needle to string freshwater pearls
2 clamshell fold-over crimp covers
Tip: When making jewelry, save leftover bits of leather cord, excess Beadalon wire, sections of C-lon thread, etc. in a clear plastic bag for using in future projects. This Gypsy Bracelet is perfect for using up some of your scraps, including sections of chain. Simply join assorted lengths of chain using jump rings.
This Gypsy bracelet was inspired by a necklace I found at my local Goodwill. I deconstructed the piece to make three sections consisting of bits of chain (joined together using 4 mm open jump rings. To make these sections begin by placing a freshwater pearl on an eye pin. Next add a 6 mm crystal bicone and another freshwater pearl. Trim the eyepin so you have enough wire to form a loop. Make a loop with your round-nosed pliers and cut off excess. Now you should have a loop on each end. Repeat 10 times.
Eye Pin Tutorial
Make the Pearl Dangles
The dangles on this bracelet are created by placing a freshwater pearl followed by a seed bead on a 1.5 inch goldplated headpin. Loop each dangle onto a piece of chain. Alternate your spacing when attaching the dangles to the chain by skipping one link in between dangles. The dangles on this bracelet create movement. Once you have completed the dangles on one section, proceed to the next section.
Work This Bracelet In Sections
No Need to Measure Bracelet Sections
Use your wrist as a measuring tool. While working on this bracelet, I checked the length by determining how it fit my wrist. I like my bracelets a bit on the big side so I have plenty of room to move. Most women prefer a more tailored size. If you know who you are designing for, you can measure it out to make sure your finished piece will fit that person's lifestyle.
The best part about this bracelet is the Sundance-inspired feel. Bohemian style jewelry combines different styles for a charming effect. Beads look like they were placed randomly. Using various elements like leather cording plus metal chain creates a one-of-a-kind look.
For the freshwater pearl strand, string your threaded silk strand through a fold-over crimp cover (looks like a clamshell with a hole. Tie a few knots, use a bit of clear nail polish to keep your knots in place. Let dry before closing up the clamshell and trimming excess thread. On the remaining thread, string 7 freshwater pearls followed by a 3 mm amber crystal bicone, clear Czech glass bead, a larger top-drilled freshwater pearl, another clear Czech glass bead, a 3 mm amber bicone and repeat this pattern two more times. String the thread through the other silver clamshell crimp cover, tie a few knots in place, seal with nail polish and trim extra thread away. Once the nail polish dries, close the crimp cover and squeeze tightly shut with your flat nose pliers. That strand can then be joined with a bit of chain to your other sections.
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Make A Basic Crystal and Button Dangle
4 1/2 inches 0.6 mm gold colored wire
2 hole button
Round nose pliers
A. Thread the gold wire through the hole with the button in the center of the wire. Carefully wrap one piece around the other 2-3 times. Take the remaining piece of wire and form a small loop above your wrapped wire. Wrap with remaining wire and trim excess.
Save Your Scraps For Future Projects
Find Vintage Buttons On Ebay
I love to use antique and vintage buttons in my jewelry designs. My favorite are steel-cut and glass ones. Modern buttons are mostly plastic but the old ones have such great weight and were extremely well-made. I'm an old soul and love this very tangible link to the past. Ebay is a great place to find vintage buttons. If you can't get your hands on older buttons, there are plenty of modern materials that will give you a similar look. Most modern plastic buttons are extremely lightweight. I prefer the weight of the vintage buttons. They were made to withstand heavy use and even washing. Although vintage buttons are tricky to find, the payoff is well worth it. Many of my customers appreciate quality and are willing to pay top dollar for custom jewelry designs. Keep your eyes open and ask Grandma if you can take a peek in the family button jar.
Use Clear Nail Polish To Secure Knots
- When using knotting techniques in jewelry making, ALWAYS apply several generous coats of clear nail polish to keep knots secure for years. If you work with stretchy material like elastic, clear nail polish is a must. The flexible elastic has a way of undoing your knots and you are likely to have your just-finished piece wind up scattered all over the floor. Secure your knots with nail polish to prevent losing hours of time gathering beads. This is exactly what happened to me the night of my senior prom. My entire multi-strand necklace busted and I had to search all over a friend's bathroom for my beloved beads.
Cut Your Leather On the Long Side
- Knotting requires lots of C-Lon, leather, hemp or other stringing material. Be sure to measure out lots of material because you can't add on if your piece is too short. You will end up restringing the bracelet or necklace. Better to have extra at the end. Simply save those leftovers for another piece.
Not sure how to get started? One of my favorite jewelry designers is Tokyo based Takako Samejima. Her books include Bead Fantasies II, III, and IV. Her work is perfect for more advanced jewelry designs. She uses great illustrations to show bead placement and works with gorgeous stones including agate, garnet, turquoise, citrine and more. I definitely recommend this free download of her book Bead Fantasies III. You won't be disappointed. Start with her basic designs and then try her more advanced tutorials. You can do it.