Beaded Chain Jewelry by the Light of the Moon

Dec 20, 2011
Beaded chains are very symbolic to me.

Tonight is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year here in the northern hemisphere. Years ago when I was a writer of poetry and short fiction, I would always celebrate the winter solstice by lighting a few candles, making a special meal, and having a marathon writing session beginning at sundown and lasting late into the night. (That, of course, was when I worked the afternoon shift and didn't have to be up at the crack of dawn with a four-year-old!)

This year, I'll be celebrating the solstice with my son at a (short) meditation walk outdoors with some like-minded friends and their children, but after he goes to bed, I'll be sitting up with a few candles, some homemade cookies, and a beaded-chain project.

Beaded chains are very symbolic to me, as they represent the flow of days into months, seasons, and years. Each unit in a beaded chain can represent a day, and the entire chain comes to be a way for me to reflect on my life and what's really important to me as I bead. Making beaded chains is probably my favorite way to use my bead-weaving as mindful meditation.

Stitching up beaded chains using 4mm beads makes the project go quickly!
If you've never tried stitching up a beaded chain for a favorite pendant, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Using larger beads such as 4mm fire polished beads or 4mm druk (round glass) beads will make the chain work up quickly while providing a sturdy base.
  • Weave in as much thread as possible when stitching a beaded chain. More than one thread pass through each bead or motif will add strength and structure to your beaded chain, and it will be more likely to last longer.
  • Your beaded chains don't have to be intricate and thick. Stitching up a quick length of right-angle weave can make a beautiful and delicate chain when accented with tiny crystals or silver-lined seed beads in a contrasting color.
  • You can make your beaded chain feel more like fine jewelry by using metallic size 15o beads. (Just make sure that you seal or treat the beads before using if the chain will be for a bracelet.)

Beaded chains don't necessarily have to be used with a pendant, either. A delicate chain of right-angle weave accented with a few tiny crystals makes a sparkling statement all on its own, and a simple beaded chain can be a beautiful and quick bracelet for everyday wear.

If you want more ideas for making great beaded chains, then you'll be thrilled to see the new 2009 Beadwork magazine collection available as an instant download! Every issue of Beadwork magazine from 2009 is included, and it takes just a few minutes to download onto your desktop or laptop computer. Get instant access to over eighty beading projects plus all the fabulous articles and tutorials in every issue!

You can find the instructions for making this easy crystal bead chain over on the Beading Instructions blog!

What's your favorite way to make beaded chains? For a new free beaded-chain project, hop on over to the Beading Instructions blog here on Beading Daily to find out how to make this sparkling beaded chain using two types of crystal beads and seed beads!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

Helen weaver wrote
on Dec 21, 2011 11:01 AM

HI!

What do you mean by: "Just make sure that you seal or treat the beads before using if the chain will be for a bracelet."

Thanks!

Cbernau wrote
on Dec 21, 2011 4:20 PM

Hi, for the life of me, I can't find where the instructions are!  HELP!!

Tia Dalma wrote
on Dec 21, 2011 7:09 PM

Helen Weaver,

I am assuming Jen is talking about the finish wearing off of the metallic beads here and using a sealant of some sort to protect the finish.

Some metallic finishes wear off really fast and others are more durable...a lot of this depends on the quality of the beads as well as the type of finish. Galvanized finishes tend to wear off fairly quickly while metallic iris finishes seem to last longer...then there are the Permanent Finish and Duracoat finish seed beads from Toho and Miyuki. I dont think any of them are actually permanent but they are much more durable.

This also depends greatly on how the piece of beadwork will be used or worn, and the person's specific chemical balance as well as lotions, perfumes, water, light etc.

All of these things will have some sort of effect on the bead finishes...a bracelet for example will have more contact with a persons skin causing more friction and possibly wearing off the finish than a pair of dangly earrings...

So some people recommend sealing the beads with some sort of sealant like Krylon Clear Coat spray paint and other craft sealers. This is usually done before stitching the beads...you can put them in a plastic baggie and spray the sealant into the baggie in spurts then shake it up dispersing the sealant over the beads more evenly!

Then you would lay them out to dry on a flat surface before using them in a project! I have never used this method, but I also haven't had any real problems yet with any of the beads I use...maybe my skin doesn't react with the finish? Who knows why?

But some people have the color come off on their fingers before they are even done stitching and others can wear the same beads with no problems at all...but it does make sense to put some thought into the placement of any beads that might have an iffy metallic finish on them!

Tia Dalma wrote
on Dec 21, 2011 7:11 PM

Cbernau,

if you look at the top of this page and hover over the tab that says Blogs, there will be a drop down list that says:

Beading Daily

Beading Supplies We Love

Beading Instructions

Click on beading instructions and this chain should be the first blog on the page!

JOwl wrote
on Dec 26, 2011 8:00 PM

I am new to beading and have fallen in love with the necklace in the second photo on this page.  Is there a tutorial for this or perhaps it appears in a magazine?  I would love to try my hand at this necklace as it is really beautiful.

It's title is 'Stitching up beaded chains using 4mm beads makes the project go quickly'.

Joan