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Knotted art-bead necklace

Crystal pearls frame ceramic bead centerpiece

When you think of an art bead, no doubt lampworked glass comes to mind. For a less expensive bead with equal aesthetic appeal, ceramic is the canvas of choice. A hand-painted bead becomes a miniature art gallery while crystal pearls on knotted silk frame a front-and-center toggle clasp. Simple earrings are included in the free project PDF.


Necklace 17–18 in. (43–46 cm) 

  • 25 mm ceramic bead ($9)
  • 16-in. (41 cm) strand 6 mm pearls ($9–15)
  • 3 mm round spacer
  • card of size 6 pure silk thread with attached needle ($1.50)
  • 2-in. (5 cm) head pin
  • 2 clamshell bead tips
  • toggle clasp
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • E6000 adhesive

Kits available from Eclectica, 262.641.0910.

Knotted art bead necklace 1
Step 1
Knotted art bead necklace 2
Step 2

1. Cut a piece of silk thread 40 in. (1 m) from the attached needle. About 1 in. (2.5 cm) from the end opposite the needle, tie an overhand knot. String a bead tip as shown and tie another knot.

2. String a pearl and tie a knot. Repeat until the strand is within 2 in. (5 cm) of the finished length. Use a head pin to help place the knots right next to the pearls.

Knotted art bead necklace 3
Step 3
Knotted art bead necklace 4
Step 4

3. String a bead tip as shown and use a head pin to place a knot inside the clamshell. On each end, dot glue on the knot inside the clamshell and let dry.

4. On each end, trim the excess thread and use chainnose pliers to gently close the clamshell. Attach half of the clasp to the bead tip and use roundnose pliers to close the bead tip’s loop.

Knotted art bead necklace 5
Step 5
Knotted art bead necklace 6
Step 6

5. On a head pin, string a spacer and a ceramic bead. Make the first half of a wrapped loop.

6. Attach the bead unit to the loop half of the clasp and complete the wraps.

  • Insert a head pin into the loose knot, then pull the head pin toward the last bead strung. When the knot is right next to the bead, remove the head pin and tighten the knot. I also had success using the end of the toggle bar instead of a head pin.
  • The silk thread comes with an attached needle, which is tucked inside the package. If the needle is bent after removing it from the package, you can straighten it with your fingers or nylon-jaw pliers.
  • If you’ve never knotted before, this necklace is a good first project. Pure silk thread is slippery, so it is easy to untie errant knots.

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