Customizable Stringing Styles for Your Jewelry Making

Nov 1, 2010

Kristal Wick
Kristal Wick
is the editor of
Beading Daily

I don't know about you, but I'm an "over-the-top-funky-chunky" kind of jewelry designer. I love textures, 3-dimensional surprises, mixed media, big baubles, and bling. Having had years of experience selling my creations at shows (L.A. Gift show, Buyer's Market of American Craft, Quilt Market & Fest, to name a few of the biggies) and online, I've heard every type of customer comment you can imagine, kind and not so kind! One of the more commonly heard comment is "Oh, I simply could not wear THAT to work, it's too much." While the "more is better" design style is hot in my book, I realize not everyone enjoys a neck full of baubles, so I came up with a way to customize a necklace design to please everyone! Join me in creating a new look.

Simple strand for simple tastes

Wearing a simple strand comes in handy and is definitely more "wearable" for work or playing on the weekends. I throw in a mixture of metal colors so my necklace will go with silver, copper, and gold. That way I don't have to worry about matching my accessories.

1. Make this easy strand with seed beads and Swarovski pearls and bicone crystal.

2. Crimp small loops on each end.

Double the fun

Now, let's create a second strand with a bit more color and texture. Keep it simple or add a blast of bling (you know I can't help it, Kristal is my name after all!). I used my Batik Beauty fabric beads with crystals for this strand.

3. String a more complex strand with more components than your first strand. Make sure this strand is a bit longer than the first one.

4. Again, crimp small loops on each end.

Take it a notch up

This is my fave strand, adding even more unusual elements. I love throwing in a few resin nuggets for a sea glass effect without the weight. This strand is also where you may like to include some large holed beads. I call this strand my "party strand." This is where I can go over the top and design this strand for holiday party-going!

5. String this strand a bit longer than the other two strands.

6. Crimp small loops on each end.

The finishing touch

You can either create all your strands long enough to go around your neck and finish off with a toggle or clasp. For a more cost effective design, I like to add chain as the back of my necklace. Usually my hair covers that part anyway, so sometimes I feel like I'm wasting my precious baubles by doing a whole necklace with components.

7. Add jump rings and a small lobster clasp to both ends of the chain, as well as to the back of your chain.


Clip your desired number of strands to each end of the chain. Single, double or triple strand masterpiece. You can also wear each strand separately so you essentially have a dozen different styles to choose from in one simple necklace!

Create your own design, or fill your noggin with hundreds of design inspirations from Stringing. I just love flipping through my copies when beginning a new project. I can take a bit from the design on page 4, and that pretty toggle from page 45, and that color pallet from page 67 and on, and on, and on....

Come bead with me.


Related Posts
+ Add a comment


grammajojo wrote
on Nov 1, 2010 10:29 AM

Kristal, I just tried making a necklace similar to this a couple of weeks ago, but it looked so "unfinished" where the three strands connect on to the chain that I gave up on it.  Now I'm thinking that if we brought the three strands up through a large bead before crimping them together in one loop to fasten to the chain..........hmmmmm think I'll try it and see what it looks like. I'll let you know.

Phantastes wrote
on Nov 1, 2010 11:51 AM

This style was my New Interchangeable Necklace idea that I presented in August at the Eureka Reagan Festival in Eureka, IL.  But it didn't go over very well.  People didn't seem to know what to think about it.  They could buy different sections to make different lengths of necklaces.  They could even buy pendants I had to go with them.  Great idea, right?!  I only sold 2.  I will try it again at some point, but it just seemed that people want what they see and that's it.  They didn't want to have to pick out different parts.  Too hard to choose, I think.

MaryW wrote
on Nov 2, 2010 6:30 PM

I think this is a really nice idea! I saw a necklace by a famous maker in a department store recently that had 3 strands with small lobster clasps at each end to attach to the chain. To me it seemed very bulky.Putting only one clasp on the chain makes it much less bulky but every bit as interchangeable. I'm going to try it. Thanks.

VonnA wrote
on Nov 9, 2010 9:32 AM

I designed something very similar in June to wear to a show.  Very nice design, Kristal. The piece is simple, elegant with the texture and fun you have so many ways to wear this. The interchangeable element is the key.

I don't really visit the retail stores to look at what is out there I wait to see what my daughter and her friends are wearing. You truly have to make a piece to fit the consumer's budget these days.

To appreciate the handmade quality of an artisan piece the consumer has to feel it touch it wear and hopefully buy it.

Damyjo wrote
on Nov 9, 2010 4:43 PM

Love the idea of being able to add more or less thanks Kristal for the ideas