Beaded necklaces have always been my favorite type of jewelry to make. Maybe it's because I got started creating peyote stitch and netted amulet bags when I first started beading back in the Dark Ages. Maybe it's because I love the long tradition of self-adornment of the neck and chest. (Did you know that the first Stone Age necklaces date back to around 40,000 years ago?) Ancient cultures believed that the throat and the neck were a source of power, so they created necklaces and adornments for it. When we studied the chakras in my yoga teacher training last winter, we learned that the fifth chakra, called Vishudda, is located at the base of the throat where there is a bundle of nerves and blood vessels in the physical body. This energy center is thought to be the center of our creativity and self-expression -- important stuff for those of us who bead and write, wouldn't you think?
So maybe that explains a little bit about why I love necklace making projects. And one of my favorite ways to create beaded necklaces is to use components.
Why Necklace Making with Components?
Necklace making with components is perfect for the impatient beader. (Like me, maybe?) What I love most about making necklaces using components is that with each finished component, I feel like I'm making real progress towards finishing it. Not just inch by inch, but in big, whopping, giant steps. One more component finished? Into the box it goes! It's like joyfully checking off items on my never-ending to-do list, and it keeps me moving towards the finish line.
I also love necklace making with components because I can play with attachments and connections. There's more than one way to link a couple of beaded components, and it seems that the variations are limited only by my imagination. It's a challenge for sure to get some of these components to lie flat or to get just the right spacing for the finished necklace length, but all of those skills go into my toolbox to make me a better beader.
Getting Started with Components
Getting started with your own necklace making designs using beaded components can be as easy as bezeling a handful of cabochons, or making a few peyote stitch rings. Need something even easier? How about a dozen peyote stitch tubes in assorted sizes and colors?
Your beaded components for necklace making don't have to be intricate or difficult to make. In fact, some of the most beautiful beaded necklaces that I've seen made from components have relatively simple designs to them!
Plan Out Your Necklace Design
Before you start to attach your components, take some time to plan out your design, arranging and re-arranging the components. I like to use a model drawn on a piece of paper to get an idea of how my necklace will "flow" between each component. Use a necklace template or draw a circle that's about 22 inches in circumference on a piece of stiff paper or a manilla folder, and use that to lay out your components as you stitch them.
|Use a simple paper template to help you plan your finished necklace design made using beaded components.
If you're lucky enough to have a dressmaker's form, you can pin your components to that as you play. And don't forget to do just that -- play! Make it fun. Line them up, re-arrange them, switch them around. Ask yourself, "What if?" every time you make a new change. Don't attach yourself to one idea of a finished piece. You may surprise yourself!
Attaching Your Beaded Components
For me, the fun challenge comes not just from creating the beaded components, but from coming up with different ways to attach them. Will you use a bead-weaving stitch like peyote stitch to attach your finished components? Maybe they can be strung together? Maybe a combination of stringing and stitching?
This is where I wish I had a dressmaker's form, but my favorite large jewelry display/necklace bust comes in handy. After I've attached a few of the components, I use beading thread or beading wire to hold the piece on the bust so that I can see how it drapes as I continue to work.
It usually takes me two or three attempts to find the perfect technique for attaching each of my components, and that's okay! I use that time as a way to play some more with the final design, and also to figure out where the fringe and embellishments will be attached.
Fringing and Embellishing
Fringing my beaded necklaces is always the most difficult part of the whole design process. I always have to remind myself that more is not necessarily better when it comes to fringe and embellishments, and that there's always more than one "right" way to fringe and/or embellish a beaded necklace made from components.
A few things to keep in mind when designing your fringe and embellishments:
- KISS: Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. Especially if your beaded components are visually complex, you want a minimum of fringe on your finished piece.
- Don't be afraid to rip it out. Bead like no one is watching, and don't be afraid to tear out your fringe and embellishments if you don't like them or don't think they work with the overall design. It's worth a little extra time to have a well-executed design at the end.
- If in doubt, try it on. Before you decide how much and what kind of beaded embellishment to put on your final piece, try on your necklace. Think about things like weight and wearability before you decide to move forward with that last bit of embellishments.
Try the Star of India Necklace Making Project by Jean Campbell
The Star of India
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Do you like to design beaded necklaces using individual components? What tips would you share with someone who wants to get started designing their own beaded components? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your ideas with us!
Filed under: Peyote stitch, Crystals, Beaded Beads, Bead Making, Stringing, How To Bead, Seed Bead Patterns, Bead-weaving, Beading Tools, Necklace Making, Beaded Jewelry Design, Beads, Jewelry Making, Beading Daily