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Make a Beaded Necklace

Updated on May 2, 2013

Easy To Make & Elegant Beaded Necklace

This beaded necklace looks intricate, but it is extremely easy to make. Although it looks luxe, the necklace is also inexpensive to make, since all you need are seed beads, thread and a beading needle. It is beaded using a simple netting stitch, which is common in Ukrainian and Russian beading. If you're new to netting, this is a good project to get you started. Get your supplies together and let's make jewelry!

About This Beaded Necklace

Netted Beadwork

The stitch that is used to make this necklace is called netting. You'll see this design in a lot of Russian and Ukrainian beadwork, though variations are found in beading from most cultures. Basically, you could use the stitch to create a net, not just a piece of jewelry.

It is a simple stitch that is easy enough for beading beginners, but there are two things that can trip you up if you don't watch for them. First, be very careful to avoid piercing the thread with the needle. It won't be disastrous, but it can compromise the strength of your beadwork and can make it hard to achieve uniform tension. Second, you'll be working with a long length of thread, which might magically entangle itself every chance it gets. The most common cause of this is accidentally twisting your thread as you work. If you are aware of the problem, chances are you can avoid it. If you do get a twisted thread mess, don't panic. You can work most knots out with patience. If you don't have patience, then cut the thread and work a new one into the beaded necklace design.

Assemble Your Beaded Necklace Materials

This necklace looks stunning, but it is inexpensive to make. You will need:

  • 10 grams size 11 main color seed beads

  • 10 grams size 11 contrast color seed beads

  • beading thread (I used size D white Nymo thread)

  • beading needle (I used a size 10 beading needle)

  • a larger bead or button or a clasp to close the necklace

The look of your finished necklace will be determined by the beads you select for this project. Compare the look of the red and gold necklace here with the blue and silver necklace illustrated in this project. Both necklaces are the same, except the red and gold necklace uses basic beads, which can be somewhat irregular, while the blue and silver necklace was made using size 11 Miyuki beads, which are among some of the finest glass beads that are available. They are very regular, which will produce a sleek beaded necklace.

You can use any beading needle or beading thread. I recommend using a strong beading thread so that you will get a necklace that resists breaking (e.g., size D thread rather than size B). Some beaders use fishing line, which is very strong. That can work very well, though I prefer nylon because the resulting necklace is very fluid and flexible and because it is easy to weave in a new thread in the event it becomes necessary.

Materials at a Glance

Materials at a Glance
Materials at a Glance

Seed Bead Ideas for this Project

Seeds beads are versatile beads, used for so many beading projects! Inexpensive beads tend to have size variations from one bead to another, which lends a handcrafted look, while Miyuki or other name band beads will give a uniform, geometric appearance. Both are gorgeous!

Mill Hill Seed Bead Mini Assortments, Set of 7
Mill Hill Seed Bead Mini Assortments, Set of 7

Why pick one color when you can have an assortment? This necklace works with any two colors of beads.

 
Beadsmith English Assortment So Handy Beading Needles
Beadsmith English Assortment So Handy Beading Needles

I prefer English beading needles over big eye needles for beadweaving because they don't snag threads if you go back through the pattern.

 

Getting Started

Start by cutting a length of thread about 3x longer than the final length of your necklace (about a meter of thread). You could work the necklace from one end to the other, but personally I prefer to start in the middle and do one side at a time. It's easier to get an even tension and you're only working with half the length of thread.

If you like, you can stretch your thread and wax it. It is a matter of personal preference. Stretching the thread can help with tension and may help prevent knotting (though I actually didn't stretch or wax the thread for this tutorial).

Thread your needle and string 3 contrast color beads (silver) and 1 main color bead (blue). Allow the beads to fall to the center of the thread.

Secure the Beads

Pass the necklace back through the main color bead, as shown in the photo. Remember, try to avoid poking the thread with your needle as you pass back through the bead.

Pull It Tight

Pull the thread tight, producing a loop that looks like this. Now, you will only be working with the side of the thread with the needle. You can lay the other side of thread off to the side or enclose it in a small plastic bag to keep it out of the way. Alternatively, some people don't cut the thread at all and just work off the spool of thread. Do whatever works best for you.

Netting Stitch Tutorial

If you're new to this beading stitch, it might help to see how to do netting. Don't work, it's easy!

Add More Beads

Add 5 main color beads, 3 contrast color beads, 1 main color bead, and 2 contrast color beads

Next Step...

Pass the needle through the back of the main color bead shown in the photo (3 main color beads below and above it).

Tighten the Thread

... which should look like this. The thread heading off toward the top of the picture is the side you are not-using. The bottom thread is your working thread.

A Favorite Beading Book with Nettin

If you like the look of this netted necklace, then give this book a try. Varvara's designs look complicated, but they are easy to achieve and extremely beautiful. This is a collection of beading projects that use netting.

Netting All the Way (Beading with Varvara)
Netting All the Way (Beading with Varvara)

I go back to this book for inspiration again and again. Varvara is so talented!

 

Add Beads

String on 3 contrast color beads, 1 main color bead, and 2 contrast color beads. Pass the needle through the main color bead shown in the photo.

Tighten the Thread Again

When you tighten the thread, this is what you'll get. If your beadwork looks different at any point, backtrack and try again. For me, it is easiest to mess up the pattern early on. After a while you will get a rhythm going and the pattern will be obvious.

Add Beads

Add 3 contrast color beads and 3 main color beads, Pass through the lone main color bead in the pattern.

Tighten Your Work

When you tighten the beads up, you'll get this.

Continue Beading

Add 3 main color beads and 3 contrast color beads.

Back Where You Started

Pass the needle back through the last main color bead. Take a look at your beading. See the pattern?

Up the Other Side

Here's what you get when you've tightened the beads up. Now you just need to learn how to complete the side of the pattern (called a motif) and you'll be ready to continue the pattern to complete the necklace.

All Main Color

String on 5 main color beads and pass back through the topmost main color bead.

Netting Beading for Beginners

Even if you're brand new to beading, you can complete the projects in this book. They use the same stitch used in this necklace, to create a variety of different looks. This is another book I turn to for inspiration.

Easy Bead Stitches: Netting (Easy-Does-It)
Easy Bead Stitches: Netting (Easy-Does-It)

There are a variety of projects in this book, including necklaces, beaded beads, and bracelets. Don't be intimidated by the apparent complexity of the designs shown on the cover. Netting is one of the easiest beading stitches!

 

You've Been Here Before

From this point, you're just repeating what you have already done.

Continuing

Add 3 contrast color beads, 1 main color bead, and 2 contrast color beads. Pass through the middle main color bead.

Take a Look

...and here is what you get.

Get the Idea?

Add 4 contrast color beads, 1 main color bead, and 3 contrast color beads, passing through the top main color bead. There are more contrast color beads on the bottom of each motif (4) than on the top (3) because you want the pattern to ease around your neck.

How To End Each Side

Keep repeating the pattern until the necklace is half as long as your desired total length. You can attach one-half of the clasp. Then, go back to the cent

Add or Make a Clasp

One Way to End the Beaded Necklace

I used a bead and loop as a closure for this necklace. At the end of one motif, I added 3 contrast color beads, 1 main color bead, an 8-mm glass bead, and 1 main color bead. I ran the thread back through the 8-mm bead and back through the beadwork to secure the thread. You could use a button or a commercial clasp just as easily.

String on enough contrast color beads to make a loop that will accommodate the bead or button that you are using for a clasp. The exact number depends on what you are using.

Run the thread back through the main color bead to secure the loop. You will want to reinforce the loop by weaving the thread back through your beading and through the loop again, possibly a couple of times. When you are satisfied with the security of the beading, cut the thread. No glue is needed for this design.

Finishing the Necklace

I like to reinforce the entire necklace by weaving back through the design with a thread. Whether you do this or not is a matter of personal preference. It will produce a stronger necklace that will stretch less and resist breaking, but this step is time-consuming and will stiffen the necklace somewhat. Even if you don't retrace the beading of the entire design, be sure to weave the ends of your thread back into the beading enough that they won't work their way out once you cut the threads.

The Finished Necklace

The Finished Necklace
The Finished Necklace

What did you think of this beaded necklace tutorial? If you tried it out, how did you like it?

Your Questions and Comments - Got Something to Say?

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    • profile image

      Jimmie Burgess 2 years ago

      The only thing that would have made this easier is if you had numbered the steps. Trying to scroll back up to match the pic was the only thing that slowed me down. Thank You for such a greta tutorial.!!

    • JamesXavier LM profile image

      JamesXavier LM 4 years ago

      learned to bead awhile ago and wish i had this instructional to help!

    • LeslieMirror profile image

      LeslieMirror 4 years ago

      Hand-made ornaments are great. They have such a special look and you shouldn't worry about if someone else has the same. It is impossible. =)

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      This looks a little difficult, but I think with some practice it would be fun. The results are definitely worth it. Thanks for the demo. The jewelry is lovely and unique.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Your directions are great! I used to own a bead store and lots of my customers made necklaces and bracelets using bead weaving and stitching techniques like this.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      Wow! Great tutorial.

    • profile image

      ivanjones 4 years ago

      it is very nice

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      This is so beautiful!

    • shabbysketchpad profile image

      Elisa Margaret lesmana 4 years ago from Jakarta, Indonesia

      The necklace design is beautiful. I'd love to try crafting one. It looks like fun.

    • Gaby81 profile image

      Gaby81 4 years ago

      Love your necklace. Thanks for the useful tips :)

    • wiseriverman profile image

      wiseriverman 4 years ago

      This is such a beautiful necklace! Thank you for the awesome instructions. Your instructions make it seem easy.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      What a beautiful necklace and easy to follow instructions make it a breeze!!!

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      great lens...thanks for sharing...

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      That's really lovely. Thank you. Now all I have to do is add another 24 hours to me day.....

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I have a fascination for bead but never know where to start without some kind of instructions. I can do free work for most crafts but beads are difficult to imagine for me.

    • Joanne Reid profile image

      Joanne Reid 4 years ago from Prince Edward Island/Arizona

      I haven't tried this yet but I am going to. It looks like a wonderful craft. And I adore necklaces.