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Knots and Dots knotted leather necklace

Tie bright beads on leather cord for a playful necklace!

When I spotted (pardon the pun) these polka-dot beads, I knew they’d become a great accessory for my summer wardrobe, but wondered what design would do them justice. The interesting shapes and vivid colors made a statement, but I was afraid that the statement might be too loud. A vintage necklace on knotted cord inspired the solution. The knotting technique puts space between the beads, letting them speak for themselves, while the black leather gives them a common voice. I love the balance of the knots and beads.


  • 60 10-12mm glass beads, 20 each of three colors
  • 18 ft. (5.5m) 1mm-diameter round leather cord
  • 2 9mm-diameter large-hole spacer beads
  • 2 12 x 11mm plain silver cones
  • 2 4mm round beads
  • S-hook clasp and two soldered jump rings
  • 8 in. (.2m) 22-gauge wire
  • 6 3 x 2mm crimp tubes
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters
  • scissors
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1. Cut three 6-ft. (1.83m) lengths of leather cord.

2. On one piece, string 20 same-color beads.


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3. Fold the cord in half. Tie an overhand knot 1 1⁄2 in. (38mm) from the cut ends.

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4. Slide a bead along one cord to the knot. Tie both cords in an overhand knot next to the bead, allowing space between the bead and the knots. Continue until the distance from the first to the last knot is 3 1⁄2 in. (89mm) short of the desired length of your necklace (mine is 20 in./.51m long).

5. Repeat steps 2-4 on the remaining pieces of cord. Cut each length of leather at the fold, slide off any extra beads, and cut the cord ends1 1⁄2 in. beyond the last knot.
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6. On one end, string a large-hole bead over the six tails.

7. Cut a 4-in. (.10m) piece of wire. Holding the tails with one pair of pliers, use the other pair to wrap the wire snugly around the tails. Don’t trim the wire or the tails.
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8. Slide the leather tails in pairs through a crimp bead and flatten each crimp bead close to the wire-wrapped section. 

9. Trim the leather tails just beyond the crimps. Bend the wire so it is parallel to the tails.
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10. String a cone onto the wire, hiding the tails and nestling the large-hole bead in the cone’s opening. String a round bead onto the wire, nestling it in the cone’s smaller opening.

11. Make the first half of a wrapped loop 1⁄4 in. (6mm) above the bead. Slide a soldered jump ring on the loop; complete the wraps.


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12. Repeat steps 6 through 11 on the other end using the remaining jump ring and the clasp.
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