February 4, 2014

Edgy Valentine's Statement Necklace [Tutorial]

Wow, two jewelry tutorials in one week! But with only one weekend left before the holiday I figure any Valentine's Day jewelry-makers will be working on their accessories this weekend...so I wanted to get my last Valentine's tutorial posted before then. I mentioned previously that I'm not usually all that into Valentine's Day, but apparently this year I can't get enough of red and pink jewelry. Maybe it's my love of bright colors, or maybe it's just the novelty of a day when I can wear all the hot pink I want and not be declared a 'princess'. Either way, I'm just gonna go with it.

This necklace is a bit edgier than the last couple I've made. I recently came across this gorgeous turquoise and lime green chain necklace and loved it...and it heavily inspired the version I made above. Unfortunately, it was just an image with no links or credit so I have no idea where to give credit. Suffice it to say that I can't claim to have created my version solely from my own imagination. But I love that it combines chunky chain with colorful pink and red beads, clear glass drops and sparkly rhinestones to create a modern, semi-industrial look while still feeling feminine. And it was super easy to make! I think it took me all of two or three hours total. Perfect for working on while catching up on those educational History Channel documentaries about the origins of Valentine's Day. Or, you know, those CW shows you won't admit you like to watch. Whatever works. Read on for how I made it!

-Thick cable chain in multiple sizes and/or colors--enough for two (11+) inch lengths and one 12-13 inch length.
-Smaller chain for around the neck; approximately 9 1/2 inches.
-Rhinestone chain, approximately 12-13 inches.
~30 beads, in your choice of colors (I used beads marbled in red and pink)
~30 teardrop beads or briolettes in your choice of colors (I used side-drilled faceted clear glass drops)
-Embroidery floss in three colors of your choice (I used three different shades of pink/red for an ombre look)
-Jump rings, 4mm and 6mm
-1 medium or large lobster claw or toggle clasp
-Tapestry needle
-Chain nose pliers, flat nose pliers, round nose pliers (not pictured), and wire snips
-(Not pictured) jewelry wire for making the briolette/drop bead dangles; I prefer 24 gauge
-Optional: sturdy clear-drying glue or clear nail polish

Ready? I'm going to try to keep this as simple as I can since there are lots of pictures.

1. Cut one 11 inch length and one 11 1/2 inch length of cable chain (I used a dark hematite colored chain for both of these lengths). If you're sticking with the ombre color scheme I used, cut a length from your lightest color of embroidery floss approximately 5 x the length of your chain (so 11" x  5 = 55 inches...I'd go with no less than 50 inches). Find the middle point of your embroidery floss and tie a knot connecting the end links of both lengths of chain. You should have equal amounts of floss on either side of the knot.
2. Thread one side of the floss through your tapestry needle. Using your needle, start sewing your chains together with a basic whipstitch.
3. Continue until you get to the end of your chains. Wrap the thread around the last link of each chain a couple of times and pull snug (but don't cut the thread).
4. Thread the unused side of floss (back at the beginning end of the chains) through your tapestry needle and sew another round of whipstitches down your chain lengths, but in the alternating direction so that you form a little 'x' with each stitch. Yep, more x's (the stitches) and o's (the chain links)...I couldn't resist for Valentine's Day.

5. Continue down the chains until you reach the end. Wrap the thread around the last link of each chain a couple of times, then tie together with the other end floss into a sturdy knot. Trim thread and weave the ends (on the back side of the chains) through a couple of stitches. After you've finished your necklace you can go back and place a bit of glue or clear nail polish on the knots to make sure they're secure.
6. Your chains should now look like this, with the thread at each end knotted and nicely finished.

7. Cut a third length of chain, preferably with a larger link (I used a large double-link bronze chain), about 1 1/2 inches longer than your whipstitched chain (so if you used ~11 inch lengths for the first two, cut about 12 1/2 inches of the third chain). Cut a length of rhinestone chain about 1 inch longer than the third chain (so here, about 13 1/2 inches long). It's better to cut too much chain and remove the extra at the end; and since you're sewing the chains together along a curve, you'll need increasingly more with each layer.
8. Same as above--cut a length of floss (in your medium shade, if sticking with an ombre pattern) about 5 x the length of your third chain, find the middle of the floss, and tie a sturdy knot there connecting the first set of whipstitched chains with the third chain so that there are equal amounts of floss on either side of the knot.
9. Using the same whipstitching technique and tapestry needle, hold your rhinestone chain on top of the third chain and sew the cable chains together with one side of the floss, making sure to loop your floss over the rhinestone chain as you go so that it will be secured down as the cable chains are sewn together. Loop the floss a couple of times around the last links once you've reached the end of your chains.
10. Repeat step 9 with the other side of the floss continuing down the chains over the top of the first round of floss, and knot the threads together nicely once you've reached the end of the chains, finishing them in the same manner as step 5 above. Remove any extra chain links (if there are any) at this time.

Here's a close-up of the the three chains and a finished end. Now you could stop here--this alone would make a beautiful necklace! But I wanted to add more color and a lot more bling...

11. Now it's time to add your colorful beads. Cut a length of floss in your darkest shade about 3-4 x the length of the bottom chain and tie a knot about 1 inch from the end (NOT in the middle) around one of the end chain links of your bottom chain. Thread the floss through your tapestry needle. Note: if your tapestry needle is too thick to run through your beads, try a smaller needle.
12. String a bead onto the floss, then run your needle through the next chain link from back to front.
13. Take your tapestry needle and run it back under and through the loop created by the threaded bead (as if you were doing a blanket stitch).
14. Pull tight to snug the bead up next to the chain and repeat this process for the rest of the beads down the length of the chain.

I know that might have been a little confusing, so how about I go over that again.

15. Thread a bead onto your floss.
16. Loop the needle and floss through the next chain link, threading it from the back of the necklace through the chain link to the front of the necklace.
17. Run the needle back under the thread of the bead you just attached (as if you were sewing a stitch around the floss on the side of the bead).
18. Pull tight to secure the bead close up to the chain link. Really, this is very easy...you'll quickly get the hang of it after sewing on a couple of the beads.

19. Finish adding on all of your beads, stitching down the length of the necklace.
20. To finish off the end, knot the thread securely around the last link a couple of times, then thread it back through the last bead and trim it flush with the edge of the bead.
21. Here's a close up of the sewn beads.
22. You should now have a chain-and-bead bib that looks like this. You're almost finished!

23. Now it's time to create the glass drop dangles. You can find a tutorial here for wrapping a briolette, here for a 'triangle bail', or follow along with my preferred technique in the photos above. Please excuse my poor attempt at instructions...it's much more difficult to write out the process than to demonstrate it in person! First, string your side-drilled drop bead onto your wire, leaving about a 3/4" tail at the wire end.
24. Using your fingers, bend the wire up on either side of the droplet.
25. Using your fingernails or chain nose pliers, press the wires together to meet in the center creating a defined middle where the wires meet and then continue upward laying parallel to each other.
26. See the defined bend where they meet and then continue straight up together?

27. Using your round nose pliers, make a 90 degree bend outward in the long side of the wire and then wrap it around one of the round prongs of the pliers to create a complete loop. The long end of the wire should now be fully turned in a loop with the wire pointing out to the side, and the short end of the wire should still be pointing directly up.
28. With your dominant hand, use your chain nose pliers to grasp and hold the loop and the short end of the wire together, and then use your other hand to wrap the long tail tightly around both wires just below the loop, so they are wrapped together snugly.
29.Wrap the tail several times--at least three wraps, but as many as needed to completely cover the section of wires between the loop and the drop bead. Snip the long wire after you are finished wrapping and use your chain nose pliers to tuck it in securely against the rest of the wraps.
30. To finish off the short tail that is sticking out of the top of the wraps, pull it down slightly and use your wire snips to snip it off as close to the top of the wraps as possible, so that it is no longer visible.

31. Wrap all of your drops or briolettes before continuing--it's easier to get them all done at once. Count how many beads you used on the necklace, then subtract one to find the number of drops or briolettes you'll need.
32. Using large jump rings--I used 6mm--attach your glass drops to the bottom chain links, centering each drop between the beads. This is best done on the BACKSIDE of the chain bib piece, so that the wire wraps and jump rings are hidden and only the glass drops are visible from the front.
33. Here's what the front of the necklace looks like when the glass drop is attached on the backside of the chain bib piece. See how the wire bits are hidden?
34. Continue attaching all of your drops/briolettes across the entire chain bib piece (this picture shows the backside of the necklace).

35. Make sure your chains and drops are laying nicely at this point; make any adjustments to the placement of the drops/briolettes if needed. Once all of the drops have been attached it is time to add the neck chain.
36. Using jump rings, add two short pieces of smaller chain to each side of the bib. I used a 1 1/4 inch piece attached to the end link of the top chain and a 1 1/2 inch piece attached to the end link of the large chain. Repeat this step on the other side of the bib as well.
37. On one side of the bib, join the two short pieces of chain to one 2 inch piece of chain using a jump ring. Repeat this step on the other side of the bib as well.
38. Add a toggle clasp (or lobster clasp) to the ends of the 2 inch pieces of chain, and you're finished! Make sure to go back at this point and add a drop of clear glue or nail polish to each of the embroidery floss knots, if you wish.

I love this fun statement piece--it adds loads of personality to even the simplest of outfits. And you can customize this necklace with any colors you want!

And the details add so much flair. The colors of the floss, the different sizes and colors of chain, the rhinestones...all perhaps unexpected pairings with the faceted glass drops and the bright colored beads.

If you want to add some pizzazz to your Valentine's Day, give this necklace a try. Or any day, really. This necklace will wow you any day of the year!

What do you think of the eclectic blend of materials in this necklace? Do you enjoy the industrial jewelry trend, or do you prefer a more classic look? I'd love to know.

Sarah Marie

Linking up with:

Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
We Did It! Wednesday at Sew Much Ado 
Show & Tell at Gingerly Made
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
The Party Bunch at 30 Handmade Days
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello
Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes
I Made This and Love It at Make It and Love It
Take-A-Look Tuesday at Sugar Bee Crafts


  1. wow so beautiful!!

  2. I love this! I love the way you combined the chain and such a variety of beads! Lovely!

    1. Thank you Anna! it was a fun necklace to make!

  3. I love the way you have stitched the chains together its beautiful

    1. Thank you Divya! I love the play of colors in this necklace.

  4. This is great!!
    Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. Hello! I saw your linky on Think Pink Sundays at the Flamingo Toes blog, and thought I’d stop by to say hi! LOVE your blog! Great tutorial!

    Gingi at http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Gingi! I appreciate you stopping by!

  6. Wow! That came out beautifully! Your tutorial made it look so easy that I tempted to try myself...

    1. Thank you Anna Belle, I hope you do try it! It's easy...and addictive! I've already made three more like this lol.

  7. Thanks so much for linking up to Your Whims Wednesday, I featured this on my blog tonight! Come stop by and grab a featured button :) http://www.mygirlishwhims.com/2014/02/your-whims-wednesday-150-and-features.html

  8. Wow!! THis is amazing!! This is such a gorgeous necklace

  9. this is gorgeous - do you sell them at all?

    1. Thank you for the kind words Caitlin! I did have an Etsy shop open for about a year, but since I only had a handful of sales in all that time I recently decided to close it. I'm sorry :(

  10. Brilliant tutorial! I bought a similar one from Zara a few months ago but i'd love to make another! Do you have any recommendations for where to get the chain from? I think i'd like to make one in a gold colour chain.

    1. Thank you very much! I bought the different styles of chain at my local Michael's craft store--they have an excellent selection of colors and styles, and their prices aren't bad either. And of course they always have coupons available, either online via their weekly ad or through their mobile app. Good luck! :)

  11. WOW! I always wondered how they managed to tie the chains together. I've never been able to successfully duplicate this sort of design. I guess I was using the wrong sort of string.

    1. It's such an easy technique to create a fun look--I hope you get a chance to try it out yourself!


Got a question or comment? My ear is yours.