If you’re like me and have no self control in a bead store, you probably also have a pile of amazing yet totally unused beads lying around. After years of watching my pretty bead collection grow (and by years I mean my whole life–I am a bead hoarder after all), I was finally inspired to do something with them. Thank you Venessa Arizaga and your beautifully bead-dazzled baubles.
I made my first adjustable charm necklace last year and have been rocking it ever since. I actually love it so much that I made two more in different colors with various beads from my collection.
The adjustable tassel is a feature found on most traditional Indian necklaces. It’s a totally genius addition to a necklace because you can change up the length PLUS you get a fun tassel detail, which I love to pull around to the front. The tassel pictured in this DIY was actually custom made for me in Mumbai thanks to my incredible friend Radhika, who went to great lengths to bring back exactly what I was looking for. THANK YOU RADHIKA!
Now without further ado, here’s how to make one of these for yourself:
- Adjustable tassel component (various colors here)
- 22″ of a link chain of your choice (I like this double link chain)
- 15+ assorted beads and charms (feel free to go crazy and add a ton)
- 2 medium jump rings
- Small jump rings, 1 for each bead/charm
- Gold seed beads
- Flat nose pliers
- Round nose pliers
- Wire cutter
Step one: Plan out the order of your beads
I like to spread out the larger beads first and then select smaller beads that compliment the larger ones. I try to mix up colors, materials, and shapes, but also like to work in mini-schemes like the hearts, evil eyes, and dark accent beads seen here.
Step two: Turn your beads in to charms
This is where the headpins come in. If the bead hole is too large, use a gold seed bead as reinforcement. Next, using your flat nose pliers, turn the pin to create a 90 degree angle as close to the bead as possible.
Once your headpin is bent, cut it so the bent part measures 3/8 of an inch. Then you’re going to turn a loop with your round nose pliers. (This part takes so practice, so don’t fear if you don’t get it on the first try.)
Face the bent part of the pin so that it’s pointing at you and hold it with the round nose pliers, gripping the pliers as if you’re holding a bike handle. In one swift motion twist your wrist forward so that you create a loop with the pin. Use the pliers to straighten out the loop and make sure it’s closed.
Here’s a video of what this process should look like:
Step three: Attach the chain to the tassel
Find the holes in the ends of the tassel and feed the medium jump rings through each one. Attach the chain to the jump rings, making sure the chain isn’t twisted.
Step four: Attach your charms!
I like to lay the beads out again alongside the chain so I can see where each one will go. Using the small jump rings,* begin attaching the charms to the bottom portion of the links, spacing each bead by a link or two, depending on the size of the beads (small beads can go closer, larger beads may want an extra link for breathing room).
*A quick tip about opening and closing jump rings: I recently learned that the best way to do this is by using two pliers and turning them in opposite directions. This keeps the ring nice and round and prevents it from turning into that awkward oval shape.
I like to start attaching the middle charms and working my way up the sides, so that I don’t accidentally off center any of the charms I wanted in the middle. Another fun tip is to use your knee to hold the necklace as you add the charms to it, which will keep it in place and makes it easy to attach the charms.
Once you’ve added all your charms, you’ll have a funky fresh necklace just like this one!
Wear it short for a “statement necklace” look or…
…wear it long and layer it up! You can even make multiple necklaces and layer those for a wild and crazy charm party situation.
As a side note, this is my first ever DIY post and I so look forward to sharing more with you!
peace, love & neon,