Last-Minute Beading Gift-Making Ideas

Last-Minute Gift-Making Ideas

Many of you reading this know me. You know I’d never attempt to make a turducken. I rarely get organized enough to send out greeting cards. And you know you’d be at the wrong house if there were an inflatable snowman in the front yard. However, these qualities do not confirm Scroogehood! On the contrary–I really love the holidays. I savor the smells of the cinnamon-infused pinecones in my fireplace. I get great joy in hanging the kids’ fading construction-paper holiday art. And having friends and family over for a great meal and a rousing game of Sardines is at the top of my Favorite Things To Do list.

The other thing I delight in around the holidays is the fierce gift-making. At our house we make all kinds of stuff for family and friends, but for me, there’s just nothing like making jewelry for someone else. Keeping the receiver in mind while I place every bead is like spending time with them. Unfortunately for gift-giving jewelry-makers like us, the holidays are right around the corner and our jewelry-making hours are wearing thin. Thankfully there are some beading projects that are so instantly gratifying that there’s still time to squeeze them in. Here’s a few you can easily add to your list:

1.  Pearls for Girls
Every girl needs pearls in her jewelry box, whether she’s the country club type or a head-banging rocker. Plus, pearls are perfect for holiday wear. Go traditional by making a knotted necklace of round pearls on a silk cord, or do your own thing by using a variety of pearl shapes and mixing in crystals, charms, and metal beads. There are all kinds of pearl jewelry ideas in my book Beaded Weddings (how’s that for a shameless plug?), but there’s also some other great projects right here on Beading Daily: 

2. Chain Chain Chains
With the huge variety of chains available at bead shops today and the continued popularity of the look, just linking together a bunch of different chains with beaded links and calling it a necklace is a fantastic last-minute gift. If you’re not the whip-it-together type, try these stylish projects:

3. Meditation Strings
With all that’s going on in the world today, a little contemplation ain’t so bad, no matter what your spiritual beliefs. There are as many types of meditation strings/prayer beads as there are religions, so string some up and give them as gifts.

If you’d like to learn more about stringing prayer beads, check out these links:

4. Earring Bonanza
Earrings are just a given when it’s time for gift-giving. A dangle on a French ear wire is the standard combo for a quick jewelry gift. Consider using hoops, posts, or ear strings for a different look, or try one of these projects:

5. Something Festive
A charm or colorful lampworked bead wireworked to a floral peg is a great androgynous hostess gift—these little picks give houseplants some mid-winter cheer. Really, anything in green, red, gold, silver, or blue works. Be sure to give holiday-themed gifts before the holidays so your giftee won’t have to wait until next year to use them.

6. Thing on a String
Okay, this is just really a no-brainer. Find a string and put on a thing! That means organza + beautiful crystal, leather cord + a handmade pendant, chain + a silver-lined lampworked bead, etc. The possibilities are endless and it will take you only seconds to make.

Are you really out of time? Here’s a GREAT gift idea, sure to give any beader a thrill: Place round-trip airfare or mileage and a Bead Fest gift certificate into a snazzy new storage unit; plop on a big red bow. Done! (No one can call you Scrooge now, Mrs. Fezziwig!)

Do you have some ideas for quick beaded gifts? Share them on the website!

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks! 

Related Posts:


Beading Daily Blog, Beading for Kids
Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  You can also follow me on Twitter at: Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

6 thoughts on “Last-Minute Beading Gift-Making Ideas

  1. Hi,
    I’m a beader from Israel, and we don’t do christmas.
    However, everyone is sometimes in a great hurry for a special gift and it seems to me that you left out the bracelets: stick any number (1, 3, 5…), color, shape or type (simple seed beads or fancy swarowskys) on a headpin, stick the headpin, or 2, crosswise, between 2 lengths of chain and add the clasp. It will take minutes, not seconds but you still have a great gift in a hurry (especially if you work with gemstones and know a healing thing or two about them).

    Another quick solution I use with beading is fridge magnets. I agree it sounds weird, but think about all the pieces of free from peyotte, herringbone or spiral you never got the hang of. Close it up nicely, and a few special beads, or 6 bigger bids shaped like a flower, or even a metal bell (the kind that goes on cats collars) and glue a magnet on the other side.
    Again it may take minutes (depending on the type of glue your using), but again you have a nice, unique gift in a hurry – especially if you have granmothers or gran-aunts you haven’t covered yet.
    A third idea is water-bottle charms, and to make it really quick, you have to use bits of free-form peyotte or metal charms. This trinkets are all the rage for teenagers, and if you use a silver charm, or a few swarowskys (especially the 3 4mm ones in a peculiar color that were left from that project you did at the begining of the year, that you don’t like all that much), or a few gemstones (with the added hoky-poky about serenity, luck or love), it won’t get you the Scrooge label, either.

    Happy Christmas, and Hanucka, and… any holiday!

  2. Ornaments, anyone? Here’s one I’ve made: take an inexpensive focal bead. With 20-gauge wire, make a wrapped loop and string the focal onto the wire. Add a short length of chain to a wire-wrapped loop at the bottom of the focal bead and a charm, big crystal, tassel, chunky spacer, or bell to the end of the chain. With a hanger, either purchased or hand wired, you’re done. (I suggest wire-srap rather than plain dangles in case the recipient has kids or pets who investigate shiny, dangly things.)

    Another thought: use a chandelier with an odd number of loops. Dangle a teardrop crystal from the center loop. Then, make swags of chain or beaded wire from the other loops, connecting them from the center outward. Depending on the size and shape of the chandelier, these can be long and quite showy with little effort.

    Happy beading!

    Jean, thanks for the great ideas and for stimulating my flagging creativity!

  3. Quote: “You know I’d never attempt to make a turducken.”

    Just reading latest newsletter. Now as I am Australian, there are certain U.S. terms that appear unfamilar to me however I am assuming that a “turducken” is a miraculous bird that comes from a merging of a turkey, duck and chicken? Wonder if it tastes good? I have eaten “Mutton Bird” which taste like a combination of chicken and fish (being a bird whose primary diet is fish) – no mutton flavour though – and VERY greasy! Not my ideal menu choice. But in the interest of Food Science, am will ing to have a go at a turducken – if you can ship one to me before the 25th Dec.
    If it fails to arrive, then I guess it will be my planned menu of Roast Pork, Chicken Breasts with cranberry and macadamia
    filling, Baked Barramundi and Grilled Coconut & Ginger Prawns (Shrimps) on skewers.
    The very best to you and all for the festive season and heavenly days of Beading, beading…….

  4. My personal favorite holiday gifts are picture bracelets. They’re a bit like a locket for your wrist! I found kits at a popular chain craft store, and then added swarovski crystals and other silver findings. As for the pictures, the recipient probably needs to be someone close to you so that you have pictures of all their loved ones or you could enlist the help of someone sneeky from their inner circle. Anyone at your local copy or office supply store could probably help you copy and resize the pictures. I’m using a family group picture from my wedding for my mom’s bracelet, so I have everyone in one picture, and can just cut it apart. These work well for moms, moms-in-law (mine adores her bracelet), aunts, or grandmothers. These could also be cute for those who have furry, four-legged children.

  5. Yvonne from Down Under (and anyone else who’s interested)-A “turducken” is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. It has three different stuffings between the meat layers, and when you serve it you cut it like a loaf of bread. My sister-in-law made it once–the recipe was 12 pages long! -Jean

  6. The quickest thing is a beaded keychain. You can make them for everyone including the new teenage driver. Just match the beads to the person you are giving it to. Everyone needs a keychain!