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Make a Pearl Illusion Necklace

Updated on September 28, 2010

Beads Seem to Float, Like Magic!

This illusion necklace looks beautiful and requires no knots, glue, or crimps to hold the beads in place. Try it with pearls or accent beads that would be too heavy to use as a full strand. I have shown it as a pearl necklace, with the example done using glass beads. You can make necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. The technique is super-easy, making this a great project for kids or jewelrymaking beginners. The beads seem to float in place on the clear cord.

Illusion Necklace Materials

Clear Beading Cord

e.g., Invisible Bead Cord, 0.010 inches diameter


6, 8, or 10-mm pearls or crystals look great. Feel free to experiment with sizes and shapes.

Seed Beads

e.g., clear size 11 or size 15. I used size 11 silverlined crystal. Very small metal beads work well too.

The most challenging part of making this type of illusion jewelry is adding a clasp. I didn't specify a method for doing this (I included videos), because it depends on the type of clear cord you are using. I have had good luck with metal crimp beads and thicker cord (such as clear elastic). For fine line, like the Gudebrod cord used in this example, I prefer (a) melting the ends of the line into a ball with a lighter or match and attaching the clasp with a clamshell bead tip or (b) I tie the end around a seed bead, glue the knot (be careful to use an adhesive that doesn't dissolve or weaken the cord!), and use a normal bead tip.

Find Project Materials Online - Make an Illusion Necklace

One of the great things about this project is it doesn't take very many beads, so you can splurge on nice pearls or gemstones or you can make a necklace if you only have a small number (even one) of a type of bead you love! You can find materials at a bead or craft store or you can purchase them online.

Illusion Necklace - Step 1

You can either leave the cord on its spool or else cut a length somewhat longer than your desired final length (leave enough length to attach a clasp plus a bit more). If you cut the cord from its spool, go ahead and attach the clasp at one end. String a seed bead and let it fall down to the desired location for your last bead (or toward the clasp). Thread the end of the cord back through this seed bead, as if you were stringing a 'stop bead' (as in the photo, only much further down the cord).

Illusion Necklace - Step 2

String a main bead (e.g., a pearl or other larger bead) and another seed bead.

Illusion Necklace - Step 3

Thread the end of the cord through the new seed bead. Use your fingernail to snug the three beads together. To add another station, string a seed bead, run back through it again (a nice spacing is 1/2" or 3/4"). Add a main bead and another seed bead, string through the seed bead, repeat as desired.

The resulting stations are quite secure, but you can adjust their position if you gently loosen the cord around a seed bead. I gauge the initial distance between the stations visually and then neaten things up using a ruler once all of the beads have been strung. It's probably even easier to get the distances exactly right during the stringing process. Enjoy!

One Way to Attach a Clasp

There are a few different ways to attach a clasp to your necklace. One is to tie knots around a seed bead at each end of the necklace or else crush a crimp bead at each end, enclose the knots/crimp in clamshell tips and bend those tips onto the connectors of a clasp.

Video Examples of Making Illusion Necklaces

Do you have any questions about making an illusion necklace or comments about this lens? You've found the place for them!

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    • profile image

      mina ghana 3 years ago

      From where I am, there are certain accessories I wouldn't get easily to be able to come out perfectly as yours appears. Moreover, can't make some orders what do I do?

      Thus a simple and a brief illustrations you have three thanks.

    • profile image

      PamPeterson 6 years ago

      Fun project, and a beautiful necklace!

    • profile image

      cr00059n 6 years ago

      These are really great artistic pieces. Informative and clearly written.

    • Azareal profile image

      Azareal 7 years ago

      @anonymous: If you're using a really stiff cord, it can appear sort of zig-zag'd between the beads. Sometimes stretching the cord will work. If it's beading wire, the solution would be to switch to a finer wire.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Can you tell me what i am doing that causes the cord to not be straight in between the beads. Kind of like a ( only horizontal?

      Thank you.

    • Azareal profile image

      Azareal 8 years ago

      [in reply to Marian Desormier]

      You make each individual strand the same way as the one I have outlined above, except the usual rule of thumb is to add 2" for each extra strand. I would use Gudebrod monofilament line but any clear beading cord would work.

      The 'trick' to the necklace is a set of metal components near the clasp. They are 2-hole, 3-hole, 4-hole, or 5-hole connectors (depending how many strands). The strands are attached to the connector either by tying/crimping them on (not recommended because the line could abrade over time) or by attaching the strands with bead tips. The connectors are joined to the clasp usually using jump rings. I'll see if I have a set of connectors and if I do I'll write up a necklace tutorial for you to show exactly what is involved.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      I would like to know how to make multistrand illusion necklaces using Swarovski crystals. I am most interested in the best medium to use, using crimp beads and how to finish the multi strand and attach to a clasp. If you are unable to help,can you direct me to where i can find this information? Thank you for your time.