I love working with new materials. Whenever I need to buy some beading essentials such as jump rings or ear wires, I try to also buy one new-to-me item just for fun. That's how this pretty cord ended up in my beading studio a few weeks ago.
Portuguese cork cord is cork wrapped around a cotton cord. It has a soft texture and comes in a range of colors and shapes (oval, flat, braided). It's sustainably harvested and makes a great vegan option if you like the look of leather, but don't want to use animal products in your jewelry. The cord cuts easily with sharp scissors.
This cord has a distressed look out of the package and will become more cracked and worn-looking with lots of handling. I wanted to preserve its weathered look exactly as it was, so I opted to create earrings rather than a piece like a bracelet which would get more wear.
According to InStyle magazine, pastels are trendy for spring and summer this year, so I chose a combination of pale turquoise (a shade close to mint green) and pink for this project. These earrings are quick to make and very lightweight to wear, despite their larger size.
2 pink 9x6mm fire-polished glass rondelles
2 silver-plated 4mm daisy spacers
2 silver-plated 20-gauge 2" head pins
2 silver-plated 4mm jump rings
2 silver-plated 8mm jump rings
1 pair of sterling silver ear wires
8" of pale turquoise 5mm flat cork cord
Screw-down hole punch
2 pairs of chain- or flat-nose pliers
Finished size: 2 1/4"
1. Use the 1.5mm side of the screw-down hole punch to add 1 hole about 3/16" from the end of one 4" piece of cork cord. Repeat, adding a hole at the other end of the cord. If you like, you may want to mark the place to punch with a pencil.
2. Use 1 head pin to string 1 daisy spacer and 1 pink rondelle; form a wrapped loop that attaches to one 4mm jump ring.
3. Use one 8mm jump ring to string 1 hole of the cord, the 4mm jump ring attached to the pink dangle, the other end of the cord, and 1 ear wire. Close the jump ring.
4. Repeat Steps 1–3 for the second earring.
Tip: Some shops sell this cord by the inch, while others sell it in longer lengths, so be extra careful when comparing prices!
Resources: These materials were all from my personal bead stash; you will probably find similar materials at many different shops. Cord: Lima Beads. Glass: Raven's Journey International. Spacers, jump rings, head pins, and ear wires: Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.