DIY Craft: How to Make a Quick & Easy Beaded Ribbon Necklace
Ribbon necklaces are a popular fashion trend and this beaded version is beautiful, easy to personalize, and quick to assemble. With the beads strung on a length of ribbon, this necklace has a romantic, yet relaxed look. This project is a fun way to update old necklaces to give them new life and a new look!
Because there are no tools involved, this beaded ribbon necklace is a great jewelry project for older children and teens. And this necklace is easy to make with materials that are readily available at your local craft store!
Beads, Beads, Beads
There are lots of places to get beads. For instance, you can use beads from your old unworn jewelry. I had previously strung most of these beads on regular beading thread, but rarely wore the necklace. I didn't really like how some of the beads looked together and it didn't sit straight on my neck. By recycling these beads into a new necklace on ribbon, I created a new piece of jewelry with a funkier yet more polished look.
You can find large variety of beads at most discount stores and craft shops. The widest selection is usually found at specialized bead stores or on web sites, but they can be expensive. Another great source for beads is buying vintage jewelry at thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets or online, then taking it apart to use the various pieces. You can find some really unique beads by recycling old necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry.
A bunch of coordinating beads - how many really depends on how you want to build your necklace. However, because your beads are being strung on ribbon, you need to choose beads with large center holes for this project. You can also add a center pendant if you want to your necklace design.
4 feet (48 inches) of ribbon (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide) - I know this seems like a lot, but I only used 36 inches of ribbon and wished that I had more. The ends of the ribbon will get frayed as you slide your beads along, so you will need trim them as you assemble on your necklace. You will also used up some length when knotting the ribbon.
Scotch tape (optional) to wrap around the ends of your ribbon.
I always lay out my beads first in a circular arrangement as I want to string them. I start with the center bead and work out, building both sides at the same time. The rest is really a matter of personal taste.
I like symmetry in my design, so I place beads of the same size on each side, but the beads don't necessarily need to match. I like a balanced design, but with some electric flair to the beads. Another hint: this may seem obvious, but I put the beads I really love in front, where they will be seen (instead of further up the necklace where they might be hidden by hair or a collar).
You should plan out your beads to suit your personal taste. If you are unsure about your design, let it sit out for a few days and look at it every once in a while. See if you still like the arrangement. If you like it, go ahead with your necklace. If not, change the order of your beads or make substitutions.
Assembling Your Necklace
To make it easier to get your beads on your ribbon, you may want to wrap the ends of the ribbon tightly with Scotch tape, like the ends of shoelaces. I actually found it easier just the twist the ends of my ribbon, but I had to re-twist them every time I put a bead on.
Then I folded my ribbon in half, making a crease at the halfway mark. I slid my center bead or pendant down to this center crease as my starting point. I then added more beads, working both sides to make sure my design looked balanced. I continued to trim the ends of my ribbon as it became frayed. Keeping the ends cut clean made it easier to get the beads on my ribbon.
I couldn't use smaller spacer beads because their center holes were too small. So instead, I just tied a knot in my ribbon to create a spacer. These knots also kept my beads from sliding if I wanted them to stay in place. I like the way the knots become like a bead and add interesting texture to my necklace.
Finishing Your Necklace
Once you have added all your beads to your necklace, smooth out any creases that have developed in the length of your ribbon and freshly trim the ends. Then tie off your necklace with a generous bow (I wanted my bow to be bigger, but didn't have enough ribbon).
Depending on the weight of your beads, you may find your knot will slide and come undone. I suggest that you tie your necklace so that it is long enough to slip on and off over your head without undoing your knot. Then when you've got your knot just as you want it, take a needle and thread and sew a few stitches in the center of your knot to secure it. This should keep your bow from coming undone.
This ribbon necklace has a fresh feeling that's perfect for the spring season. I hope you enjoy making your own!
Looking for more jewelry projects?
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Check out my other tutorials: