- Arts and Design
Let's Make a Skull Necklace and Bracelet Set
Raiding the Bead Box
Raiding your bead box can be a soothing way to pass an afternoon. Using the beads you have (I added some sent by a generous friend) you can make endless varieties of jewelry all for no cost to you, providing you have the materials on hand.
This is an all-afternoon project if you are like me and rather fussy. I kept restringing until I found a pattern I liked and had enough beads to cover my necklace, my need to use the antique pearl beads being my downfall. That and I'm too cheap to invest in a necklace tray.
But I love the final look of the project, and it was fun to sit on a summer's afternoon as the grill heated up and rain fell off and on, just beading and sipping coffee. This is also my first ever project where I used actual jewelry findings, yay me! All photos are my own so if you copy for Internet use please give credit where credit is due and a link back, thank you!
Step One: Pick out your Beads
I had a vision of a necklace with nothing but vintage pearls (well they seem to be real) and silver skull beads. Unfortunately my neck is a lot bigger, than say, a kitten's, so I had to pick out more beads. OK, fine then. I'd use black. Keep in mind I'd already strung beads once, and no I don't have a necklace tray, but I should.
But it still wouldn't be enough length so I ended up breaking apart an old bracelet I got in a used store crafting bag and using those beads as well. In the end all the pony beads did look great and it did a lot to lighten my necklace which could have been swung as a lethal weapon with the first design.
You of course will have a bead tray ready and select your beads. If you are making a skull necklace like mine, there are countless skull beads on Amazon and Ebay year round you will fall in love with.
I can't give you a precise number or types of beads, since I am hoping you are raiding your bead box and using what you have on hand. You could, after all, like butterflies or crosses better, wooden beads or the like.
Give yourself permission the use your favorite beads this time around and see what kind of jewelry you can make.
Step Two: Tie off your first finding.
It doesn't matter what findings you use or in what order you put them on. But after measuring out enough nylon line (18 inches for me) I tied off the end using three simple knots. Sad for a former Girl Scout, but they always held in fishing, so they worked.
Tug at this, making sure your knots don't slip and your finding doesn't move. You may want to use a pair of pliers like I did to tie off the line. It is fine (and I highly suggest) to leave a little tail you can tuck into the beads.
Step Three: Bead
Now we get down to the fun part. Using the edge of my outdoor table I laid out the beads in the pattern I wanted and strung them, this of course being the fourth or fith time I did it, and the scary thing is, I've made necklaces before.
But take your time, tucking the tail of the nylon thread in if need be. You can nip it when you are finished, and yes, you can use any type of wire, string or anything else you like instead. Some crafters seriously use dental floss, some only fine wire.
I enjoy nylon thread since it can take a good deal of pull without breaking. So if you get your necklace or bracelet caught on something you will feel a tug and not just the terrible snap that comes before beads fly off into space.
I like using and wearing anything with a skull motif all year, and so do other crafters, and there are endless types of materials t to choose from. Think about your necklace. Do you want actual bone, metal, plastic? Lampwork beads? Just a few accents or all skulls?
These carved beads come in a rainbow of colors and at sixteen inches a strand several will take you through countless necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other beading projects. Of course you know the rule, buy beads when you see them.
These are really stunning and reminded me instantly of the sugar skulls from the Day of the Dead festivals in Mexico. True they are a little pricey, but if you have an extra special project in mind or craft on Etsy or for profit, go for it!
These tiny skulls glow in the dark! What sort of project could you make? How about a bracelet for dances and concerts, a necklace parties and so on? These would also be great for younger crafters as well.
Step Four: Tie off other finding, celebrate!
Seriously, you have now survived dropped beads, flying beads, and all other sorts of dreadful mishaps if you are a cheap, lazy klutz like I am. I could buy a necklace tray, but no, I have to do things the hard way, figuring I only make one or two necklaces a year, and I never sell them.
The bracelet follows the same directions as the necklace, and for mine I had to use different beads in between. I used two giant vintage faux pearls off-center to give it a fun, fresh look, and kept the turquoise pony beads for a bit of Southwestern flair.
If you have the beads you could use genuine turquoise with the silver skulls and perhaps freshwater pearls and another gem of your choosing. But it depends on the style you want and you may hate blue or silver with a passion.
The Finished Set
All this cost me was one summer afternoon spent on the porch listening to the rain patter as I beaded. I didn't have to rush anywhere, pay another beader for an attractive set, or do much of anything else except sip coffee and watch traffic go by.
Well OK, there were pictures to take for the lens, but that was it. Best of all there are enough skull beads and pony beads left over thanks to my friend that I could always craft earrings as well.
Tips: I used the very scientific method of using an old bracelet to see how much nylon line I'd need then added to the length to make tying off the ends easier. I think some people say to add a half length or double so you don't run out of room, and adding a half length on the necklace worked out fine, since by my estimate you loose two inches or so in tying off.
The go-to glue for crafters. Many jewelry crafters will put the tinest bit on knots to prevent sliding on the finished product.