Necklace Design

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Materials Needed,  Bead Suppliers,   Types of Beads,
Necklace Design,  Necklace Thread,   Knotting

Here are some hints to help you get started with creating your own necklaces. Threading beads is pretty basic, but it does help to know a few tricks if you are going to add a clasp or if you are planning on knotting between each bead.

Materials Needed to Make a Necklace

Here is a list of the things you will need for the projects presented at this site. You can start with the basics and go from there.

What you need:
  • Beads
  • Beading Thread
  • Beading Needle
  • Super Glue
  • Stretchy Elastic for Bracelets
Other things to consider:
  • Beading Tray
  • Chain Nose Pliers
  • Clasp and Bead Tips
  • Bees Wax for Thread
For knotting you need:
  • Tri-Cord Knotter, or
  • Beading Awl
For chain necklaces:
  • Cable Chain by the Foot
  • Eye Pins
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Wire Cutters

Design Board

Bead Suppliers

I get my beads from these sources. There are many others, of course, but these are the ones I use and I am comfortable recommending them.

  • Fire Mountain Gems: Until recently you could only order a limited number of items from Fire Mountain on-line, but now it seems that you can buy everything you need on-line. You can also request a catalog at their web-site, or call toll free at 1-800-423-2319. They have everything you need to make jewelry, including a great selection of semi-precious gemstone beads. I always receive my order within 3 or 4 days of placing it. Fire Mountain will charge you an extra $5.00 for orders under $50.00.

  • Eclectic Etc. Inc. Beads and Supplies: This is an Internet only bead supplier with a great on-line selection of products. It's very easy to order from their site and I always receive my orders within 3 or 4 days. A big plus with EE Beads is that you can buy small quantities of beads for very reasonable prices. This is a great source for hobbyists who only need enough beads for one or two projects at a time. Eclectic Etc. will charge you an extra $3.00 for orders under $20.00.

  • Rio Grande: Visit their site and request a catalog. They have competitive prices and great customer service. I faxed my order in and received a phone call from one of their representatives to review details of the order. This was very reassuring. Rio Grande has no minimum order and only charges what they pay for shipping.

Types of Beads

I have worked with:

  • Furnace Glass Beads: These hand made beads are made in the United States. They consist of a clear glass shell with a colored core. The shapes are cylindrical, cubic and also triangular and round slices. I buy mine from Eclectic Etc. You get a random selection, but I think that just adds to the fun of working with them.

  • Semi-Precious Gemstones: These beads come in many sizes and shapes and are generally very consistent in quality. Fire Mountain has a full range of these beads, and Eclectic Etc. also offers a nice selection.

  • Czech Glass Beads: Eclectic Etc. refers to these as fancy glass beads. You can get round beads, crystal beads and many different shapes such as hearts and leaves. Czech beads are always consistent in quality.

  • India Glass Beads: These beads may not as consistent in quality, but they are very affordable and each is hand made. They may not be the classiest, but I have received many compliments for my India bead necklaces.

  • Fresh Water Pearls: These are very affordable pearls that will add a great deal of elegance to your necklaces. They may not be perfectly cylindrical cultured pearls, but they do have the same luster.

  • And many more beads, such as wood, bone, shell, cloisonné, gold, silver, pottery beads, etc. Flip through a catalog or surf the net to find your favorites.

Necklace Design

Please check out my necklace examples for ideas. Copy one of mine, or come up with your own design. I don't mind sharing my ideas with everyone. After all, artists have been copying the works of others for centuries in order to learn their techniques. I only ask that you "sign" your own name to your efforts. I also do this because I want people to remember how the Internet started. It was originally developed by scientists and engineers so that they could share research ideas. So, my site is in keeping with that spirit.

The best way to plan a necklace design is to work with a beading tray. You can set up all your beads on the tray and move them around to come up with the best design. If you don't have a beading tray, use a towel to set your beads out on. That way they won't roll off the table and become a cat toy!

I usually try to mix two or three sizes of beads in my necklaces, and sometimes I mix different types of beads. But, be careful when mixing, as this will affect the weight of thread you will use, since different types of beads have different hole sizes.

Necklace Thread

I have provided some hints on picking the right thread for your projects. Please review these to make sure you have the right weight of string, as well as the right length, especially if you will be knotting your necklace.

Once you have your beads arranged the way you like them and your thread ready you can string your beads. If you are planning on using a clasp, then string a bead tip first. I have included instructions for working with a clasp, as well as without a clasp. Please check these instructions out to make sure you get started correctly.


Now you are ready to begin knotting. I have a special tool I use, called a Tri-Cord Knotter. Check out my description of how to knot with one, as well as a description of methods to use if you don't have a tri-cord knotter.

If you don't want to knot just go ahead and string your beads and finish off your necklace. You will have your very own personal creation to be proud of.

Quick Page Links

Materials Needed,  Bead Suppliers,   Types of Beads,
Necklace Design,  Necklace Thread,   Knotting