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Upcycled vintage bead necklace

A gift of long-forgotten beads gives way to a versatile necklace

My friend found these black beads in bags and bottles at an estate sale during the early ’60s. Can you believe they sat on a shelf until now? If you like the vintage touch, look for similar crystals in jet, or opt for pristine crystal AB. Make a necklace, or two, or three. Each strand is detachable, so you can wear as many or as few strands as you wish.

SUPPLIES

necklace 23 in. (58 cm)

  • 2 18 or 28 mm crystals
  • 4 15 mm bicone crystals
  • 2 14 mm round crystals
  • 12 mm round crystal
  • 6 8 mm round crystals
  • 80–110 6 mm round crystals 
  • 6 4 mm bicone or round crystals*
  • 4 g 9/0 seed beads
  • 6 3 mm round spacers
  • flexible beading wire,.014 or.015
  • 8 6 mm split rings
  • 13 crimp beads
  • 2 lobster claw clasps
  • magnetic clasp
  • chainnose or crimping pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • split-ring pliers (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Upcycled vintage bead necklace 1
Step 1
To make the tassel: Cut three 10-in. (25 cm) pieces of beading wire. Fold the wires in half and string a crimp bead over all six ends, leaving a 1⁄8-in. (3 mm) loop. Crimp the crimp bead.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 2
Step 2
Over all six ends, string a 14 mm crystal and a 6 mm crystal. On one end, string: 2 in. (5 cm) of 9/0 seed beads, crimp bead, 4 mm crystal, 9/0. Go back through the 4 mm, the crimp bead, and a few 9/0s. Tighten the wire, crimp the crimp bead, and trim the excess wire. Repeat on the remaining ends.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 3
Step 3
Cut a piece of beading wire for the shortest strand of your necklace. Cut two more pieces, each 4 in. (10 cm) longer than the previous piece. On the shortest wire, center a 12 mm crystal. On each end, string five 9/0s and a 6 mm. Repeat until the strand is within 2 in. (5 cm) of the finished length. End with a 6 mm.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 4
Step 4
On the middle wire, center a 14 mm. On each end, string: two 9/0s, 8 mm crystal, two 9/0s, 8 mm, two 9/0s, 18 or 28 mm crystal, two 9/0s, 15 mm crystal, two 9/0s, 6 mm, two 9/0s, 6 mm.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 5
Step 5
On each end of the middle strand, string a 9/0 and a 6 mm. Repeat until the strand is within 2 in. (5 cm) of the finished length. End with a 6 mm.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 6
Step 6
On the longest wire, center the tassel.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 7
Step 7
On each end of the longest strand, string: three 9/0s, 6 mm, three 9/0s, 6 mm, three 9/0s, 6 mm, three 9/0s, 8 mm, three 9/0s, 15 mm.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 8
Step 8
On each end, string five 9/0s and a 6 mm. Repeat until the strand is within 2 in. (5 cm) of the finished length. End with a 6 mm. 
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 9
Step 9
On each end of each strand, string a crimp bead, a spacer, and a split ring. Check the fit, and add or remove beads from each end if necessary. Go back through the last few beads strung and tighten the wire. Crimp the crimp bead and trim the excess wire.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace 10
Step 10
On each end, use a split ring to attach a lobster claw clasp and half of a magnetic clasp.
Upcycled vintage bead necklace alt
Design alternative
If you are sure this necklace will be worn strictly as three strands, skip the lobster claw clasps. Just finish your necklace by attaching half of a clasp to the three strands on each side.
FIND MORE: stringing , necklaces

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