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Vintage skeleton key pendants

Give an antique key a modern look by embellishing it with beads, crystals, Lucite flowers, and leaves in designer Diane Hyde’s Key to Happiness necklace

SUPPLIES

 FOR ALL PROJECTS

  •  Fireline 6 lb. test
  • beading needles, #12
  • chainnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters

KEY TO HAPPINESS

Necklace 22 in. (56 cm) 

  • 3 1⁄4-in. (8.3 cm) vintage skeleton key
  • 18 mm round filigree finding
  • 16 mm Lucite flower
  • 2 16 x 17 mm Lucite leaves
  • 2 6 mm crystal channel links
  • 18 3 mm bicone crystals, color C
  • 11–12 3 mm bicone crystals, color D
  • 3 mm pearl
  • 2 g 11/0 seed beads in each of 2 colors: A, B
  • 12–15 15/0 seed beads
  • clasp
  • 20 1⁄2 in. (52.1 cm) oval-link chain 
  • 2 6–9 mm jump rings
  • 4 3 x 4 mm oval jump rings
  • Ultrasuede

I'LL FLY AWAY

Necklace 18 in. (46 cm)

  • 2 1⁄2-in. (6.4 cm) vintage skeleton key
  • 2 18 x 25 mm left and right metal wings (drilled) (Designer’s Findings, designersfindings.net)
  • 10 mm pearl
  • 2 8 mm pearls
  • 8 4 mm bicone crystals 
  • 46 3 mm bicone crystals
  • 2 g 11/0 seed beads
  • 3 g 15/0 seed beads
  • clasp
  • 18 in. (46 cm) round-link chain
  • 1-in. (2.5 cm) head pin
  • 2 2-in. (5 cm) eye pins
  • 2 6 mm round jump rings
  • 6 3 x 4 mm oval jump rings

SWAGS AND SPARKLES

Necklace 24 in. (61 cm) 

  • 3-in. (7.6 cm) vintage skeleton key
  • 8–10 4–10 mm accent beads
  • 8 4 mm pearls
  • 42 3 mm pearls
  • 50 4 mm bicone crystals
  • 7 3 mm bicone crystals
  • 3 g 11/0 seed beads
  • clasp
  • 24 in. (61 cm) oval-link chain
  • 7 1 1⁄2-in. (3.8 cm) eye pins
  • 2 9 mm round jump rings
  • 2 4 x 7 mm jump rings2 3 x 4 mm oval jump rings
EDITOR'S NOTE: Consider repurposing an old locket, Girl Scout pins, or charms to personalize your key. Reuse an old faux pearl necklace in place of the chain, or use a satin or silk cord.
Vintage skeleton key pendants Photo a
Photo A
Vintage skeleton key pendants Photo b
Photo B

KEY TO HAPPINESS NECKLACE

Key pendant

1. On 1 yd. (.9 m) of Fireline, attach a stop bead, leaving a 6-in. (15 cm) tail. Pick up a repeating pattern of a color A 11/0 seed bead and a color B 11/0 seed bead until the beads equal the length of the stem of the key. Work in flat peyote stitch for an even number of rows, until the strip is long enough to wrap around the stem.  

2. Remove the stop bead, wrap the strip around the stem of the key, and zip  up the ends to form a tube. 

3. With the thread exiting an end bead pointing toward the bottom of the key, pick up a color D 3 mm bicone crystal, a 15/0 seed bead, and a D, and sew back through the adjacent 11/0 in the end of the tube. Sew through the next 11/0 in the tube (PHOTO A). Repeat around the end of the tube. End the threads.

Flowers

1. Cut a small circle of Ultrasuede approximately 10 mm in diameter to fit inside the back of the 18 mm filigree. On 18 in. (46 cm) of Fireline, sew the Ultrasuede to the back of the filigree. Exit through the center hole of the 
filigree on the front.

2. Pick up a Lucite leaf, and sew down through the filigree and the Ultrasuede. Retrace the thread path to reinforce the stitch (PHOTO B). Repeat with the 
other leaf.

3. With the filigree facing up and the thread exiting the center hole, pick up the Lucite flower and a 3 mm pearl. Sew down through the flower, the filigree, and the Ultrasuede. Retrace the thread path to secure.

4. Sew up through the Ultrasuede and the filigree, exiting between the leaves just below the center of the flower. Pick up six color C 3 mm bicone crystals and a 15/0, and sew back through the Cs just added, the filigree, and the Ultrasuede. Repeat twice to make a total of three crystal stems.

5. Attach the filigree to the key by sewing through the loop of the key and the filigree. Retrace the thread path, 
and end the thread.

Necklace

1. Cut two 10 1⁄4-in. (26 cm) pieces of oval-link chain.

2. Open a 6–9 mm jump ring, attach a loop of the channel link and the loop of the key, and close the jump ring. Repeat with another channel link.

3. Open a 3 x 4 mm jump ring, attach the remaining loop of a channel link and an end link of chain, and close the jump ring. Repeat with the other channel link and chain.

4. Open a 3 x 4 jump ring, attach half of the clasp and a remaining end link of chain, and close the jump ring. Repeat with the other half of the clasp and the other chain.

I'LL FLY AWAY NECKLACE

Key pendant

1. On 2 yd. (1.8 m) of Fireline, attach a stop bead, leaving a 9-in. (23 cm) tail. Pick up an alternating pattern of an 11/0 seed bead and a 15/0 seed bead until you have a strand that is 11⁄2 times the length of the stem of the key and contains an even number of beads. Work in flat even-count peyote stitch, alternating a row of 15/0s with a row of 11/0s for a total of 
six rows.  

2. Roll the strip into a tube, and zip up the ends. Exit an end 11/0 with your needle pointing toward the beadwork.

 
Vintage skeleton key pendants Photo c
Photo C
Vintage skeleton key pendants Photo d
Photo D
Vintage skeleton key pendants Photo e
Photo E
Vintage skeleton key pendants Photo f
Photo F
Vintage skeleton key pendants Photo g
Photo G

3. Pick up a 3 mm bicone crystal, and sew through the next 11/0 in the row. Repeat for the length of the row to create a ridge of crystals. Keep a firm tension, and allow the tube to twist (PHOTO C). At the end of the row, tie a few half-hitch knots, but don’t trim the thread.

4. Place one end of the peyote tube against the loop of the key so the crystal ridge is on top of the key. Pick up a 15/0, a 3 mm, six to nine 15/0s, a 3 mm, and a 15/0, and sew through the loop of the key and the last 11/0 your thread exited in the tube to form a ring (PHOTO D). Sew through the beads just added to reinforce the ring. End the thread.

5. Gently wind the tube around the stem of the key, and adjust as necessary to keep the crystal ridge as visible as possible and to align the unattached end of the tube with the end of the key.

6. Using the tail, pick up a repeating pattern of a 3 mm crystal and an 11/0 to create a ring of beads that fits snugly around the bottom of the key (PHOTO E). Sew through the last 11/0 your thread exited in the tube, and sew through the beads just added to reinforce the ring. To prevent the ring of beads from slipping off the end of the key, sew through the beadwork to the back of the key. Pick up a 15/0, a 4 mm bicone crystal, five 3 mms, and a 15/0, and sew through the ninth 11/0 from the end in the tube (PHOTO F). Sew back through the beads just added, and tie a few half-hitch knots, but do not trim.

7. On a head pin, string a 10 mm pearl and a 4 mm bicone crystal. Make a wrapped loop to make a pearl dangle. 

8. Sew through the beadwork to exit a bead in the ring around the bottom of the key. Pick up a 15/0, a 4 mm, the loop of the dangle, a 4 mm, and a 3 mm, and sew through a bead on the opposite side of the ring (PHOTO G). Retrace the thread path, and end the thread.

Necklace

1. Cut a 9-in. (23 cm) piece of round-link chain.

2. On an eye pin, string an 8 mm pearl and a 4 mm, and make a loop.

3. Open a 3 x 4 mm jump ring, attach a loop of the link and one end of the chain, and close the jump ring. 

4. Open a 3 x 4 mm jump ring, attach the remaining loop of a link and the top of an 18 x 25 mm wing, and close the jump ring. 

5. Open a 6 mm jump ring, attach the bottom of a wing and the loop of the key, and close the jump ring. 

6. Open a 3 x 4 mm jump ring, attach half of the clasp and the remaining end of the chain, and close the jump ring. 

7. Repeat steps 1–6 for the other side of the necklace.

SWAGS AND SPARKLES NECKLACE

Key pendant

Vintage skeleton key pendants Figure 1
Figure 1
Vintage skeleton key pendants Figure 2
Figure 2

1. On 2 yd. (1.8 m) of Fireline, pick up 12 11/0 seed beads, leaving a 6-in. (15 cm) tail. Sew through all the beads again, and continue through the next six beads. Form the ring into a square; each side will have three 11/0s (FIGURE 1).  

2. Pick up nine 11/0s, sew through the last three beads your thread exited in the previous stitch, and continue through the first six 11/0s just added (FIGURE 2).

Vintage skeleton key pendants Figure 3
Figure 3
Vintage skeleton key pendants Figure 4
Figure 4
Vintage skeleton key pendants Figure 5
Figure 5

3. Working in right-angle weave, repeat step 2 until you have a total of seven stitches. 

4. Working off the first row, stitch another row of right-angle weave.

5. Wrap the strip of right-angle weave  around the stem of the key, and work a row of right-angle weave to connect both sides of the strip (FIGURE 3).

6. To add the embellishment beads, sew through the beadwork to exit an 11/0 at the corner of a stitch. Pick up an 11/0, a 4 mm bicone crystal, and an 11/0. Cross the stitch diagonally, and sew through the opposite side of the stitch (FIGURE 4, a–b). Repeat (b–c) to add an 11/0, a 4 mm bicone, and an 11/0 in each stitch.

Swag

1. With the thread exiting an end bead in the tube (FIGURE 5, point a), pick up an 11/0, 11 3 mm pearls, an 11/0, a 4 mm bicone, a 4 mm pearl, a 4 mm bicone, an 11/0, 11 3 mm pearls, and an 11/0. Sew through three 11/0s at the opposite end of the tube (a–b). 

2. Pick up an 11/0, seven 3 mm pearls, an 11/0, a 4 mm bicone, a 4 mm pearl, a 4 mm bicone, an 11/0, seven 3 mm pearls, and an 11/0. Sew through three 11/0s in the second-to-last stitch on the opposite end of the tube (b–c).

3. Pick up an 11/0, three 3 mm pearls, an 11/0, a 4 mm bicone, a 4 mm pearl, a 4 mm bicone, an 11/0, three 3 mm pearls, and an 11/0. Sew through the three 11/0s in the third-from-last stitch on the opposite end of the tube (c–d).

4. Pick up an 11/0, a 4 mm pearl, and an 11/0, and sew back through the 4 mm pearl (d–e). Pick up an 11/0, skip three 11/0s, and sew through the next 11/0 in the tube (e–f). End the thread.

Necklace

1. Cut two 12-in. (30 cm) pieces of oval-link chain.

2. On an eye pin, string a 4 mm pearl, a 4–10 mm accent bead, and a 3 mm bicone crystal, and make a plain loop. Make a total of seven eye pin links using any combination of beads.

3. Open a 9 mm jump ring, attach one loop of a link to the stem of the key next to the right-angle weave tube, and close the jump ring. Open a 
4 x 7 mm jump ring, attach another link to the loop of the key, and close the jump ring.

4. Open the remaining loop of a link, and attach the end of a chain. Close the loop. Repeat with the other link and chain.

5. Decide where you want to position the other five links along the chain, and cut the chain at each spot. Attach a link at each cut. Cut chain from either side if necessary to keep the chains even. 

6. Open a 3 x 4 mm jump ring, attach the end of a chain and half of the clasp, and close the jump ring. Repeat with the other half of the clasp and the 
other chain.

FIND MORE: necklaces , pendants , peyote , crystals

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