Tag Archives: jewelry

5 Lovely (and Simple!) Beaded Ring Tutorials


Handcrafting beaded bracelets and necklaces is more well-known now, thanks to Pinterest (and the Internet in general)–but the craft of beaded rings is just now beginning to appear more often on craft blogs and pinners’ boards.

What I love about these rings is that even though they’re made with beads and wire, they still look delicate and pretty, just like I like my jewelry to be. (The last one, the wire rosette, doesn’t have beads but is actually my favorite!) Read through, grab your ring sizer and ring mandrel, plus some beads and wire, and pick your favorite to try!

Tutorial from RubysBeadwork.com

This tutorial involves bead sewing and a little bit of knowledge of various stitch types, but it’s still pretty simple, and it makes a great, vintage-looking piece!

Tutorial from HomeBabyCrafts

I love how classy the single bead looks when wrapped around with silvery threadlike wire. Who would ever believe this could be so simple?

Tutorial from The Cheese Thief

The delicate clusters of white pearlescent beads in this “8-petal flower” ring have gotten away with me. Be still my beading heart. 🙂

Tutorial from Strawberry Box

This tutorial makes a fully-beaded ring (band and all)–easily customizable with different colors of stones, though this blue/white/silver combination is already lovely.

Tutorial from McFarland Designs

Ooooo SHINY! Even though this one doesn’t technically have beads on it, it does still require beading techniques to make. Swirls of shining wire wrapped around each other form a tiny rosette (which I’m tempted to make and use as a handmade engagement ring!).

What Do You Think?

Which is your favorite? How would you customize one of these designs for your own? Tell me in the comments!

Beginner Beading, part 3: Pretty Patterns

Making beaded jewelry is not just about selecting good beads or perfecting your techniques–it’s ultimately about making beautiful jewelry with lovely beaded patterns.

I don’t claim to be a perfect designer by any means, but I know what kinds of patterns I like to see in jewelry, and that’s how I design my own beaded necklaces thus far. Here are some examples:

This necklace (which is the slightly-messed-up one from last week) displays a couple of pretty design tactics:

  • Symmetrical patterns–the necklace can be flipped left to right with no change
  • Colorful beads interspersed with neutral beads (in this case, silver) to help set the colors off
  • 3 sparkly beads used at the center of the necklace (bottom center of pic) to draw the light and the viewer’s eye

A little different strategy was employed with this necklace, my first take on using white pearls in a design:

  • Vary the sizes and shapes of beads used in a pattern for visual interest in a mono-colored necklace
  • Use tiny beads to separate larger beads and make them look like they’re floating
  • Let one unusual bead be the center of a symmetrical 5- or 7-bead pattern (you see this twice in the above pic)–surround the unusual bead with more normal beads to let it take the spotlight


  • Juxtaposing different finishes of beads in the same color family (here, using lavender) can add a soft effect to your patterns.
  • Creating a focal point in the center of your necklace can be just as easy as grouping 3 larger, lighter-finish beads and then surrounding them with smaller, darker-finish beads.


  • Patterned or textured beads can add subtle flair when placed alongside smoother beads.
  • Don’t be afraid to use oblong and round beads together–oblong beads, especially in clear or neutral colors, can be used as visual “spacers” to make your colorful beads pop more.

(Not sure why this necklace’s beads showed up so green–they’re actually Pacific opal beads, which are blue-green. Oh well!)

  • Use smaller beads out at the ends of your beading project, and larger beads toward the middle–that creates a “graduated” effect which looks more graceful.
  • Alternate opaque and translucent/sparkly beads for a playful pattern.


Working with symmetry, different bead textures and shapes, and colors which play well off each other can make any beaded jewelry project lovely. Try it out–just lay a few beads together on a table and rearrange them to your heart’s content. You just might come up with a randomly gorgeous pattern!

Beginner Beading, part 2: Choosing Good-Quality Beads

When you’re just beginning to bead, as I wrote about last week, it’s hard to know what kinds of beads to choose–there are literally hundreds of different kinds available! And, as I unfortunately learned, not all beads are created equal in quality.

A Cautionary Tale: The Missing Bead

beadednecklace_example When I first started beading, I made this necklace, pictured at left, as one of my first projects. I was very, very proud of my work, especially since most of the beads hadn’t cost that much to purchase and yet rendered such a lovely result, interspersing black plastic teardrop beads with dark blue and clear sparkling crystal beads.
necklace_missingbead What I didn’t know, however, was that one of the plastic beads already had a crack in it, right near the point where the beading wire threaded through it–and one day, it cracked off while I was wearing the necklace. I didn’t notice until I got home, took the necklace off, and realized that the beaded pattern at the two ends of the necklace no longer matched (denoted by the red circles on the image at left).

Learn From My Fail: Choose Better Beads

In order to keep from losing bits off your own beading projects, here’s some tips on which beads to choose (and which to avoid):

Quality Beads…

  • Are made of glass, polished wood, or crystal-like materials
  • Have well-drilled bead holes that won’t catch on the beading wire/thread
  • Do not have bead holes drilled in thin/fragile areas (this was what made my necklace’s bead crack)

Cheap Beads…

  • Are made of plastic or rough wood/stones
  • Sometimes have coatings on them (like iridescence or big pieces of glitter) that wear off easily after being handled
  • Do not thread evenly because the bead holes are drilled crooked

Final Word to the Wise: Shop Local Bead Stores

The best places I have found for quality beads are small, local bead and craft shops, whether you buy in-store or online. Such places often simply take care of their bead stock better, storing and displaying them on flocked jewelry trays which don’t allow the beads to get crushed or knocked off easily. Plus, bead specialty stores often carry the crystal-like beads and other finer-quality stock that will give your beading projects not only a more expensive look, but a longer life. (Lastly, the shop owners can help you select just the right bead for a project!)

Beginner Beading: Getting Into the Game

There are a LOT of beading tutorials out there for us beginners…but many of those tutorials expect you to already know quite a bit about the terminology and tools of beading, as I discovered when I began doing some research for this post. If you’re truly a beginner, this can be VERY confusing!

So, for this article, I wanted to help introduce beginning beaders to the lingo and the important tools for making beaded jewelry, as well as giving some bead storage tips and showcasing a couple of basic video tutorials. Let’s begin!

A Few Terminology Tips

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At left, this is a jump ring, used for connecting clasps to jewelry as well as other more complex beading tasks. These can be pried apart and squished back together pretty easily with the right beading tools.
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Jump rings and necklace clasps (like the ones at left) are two types of jewelry findings. Findings are generally the metal or plastic bits that are the foundations of any beading project. (Other examples of findings are headpins for making drop earrings, crimp beads for stopping a bead string from moving around on the wire, spacers for keeping beads a certain distance apart, etc.)

See more examples of findings at the following websites:
Fire Mountain Gems
Brightlings Beads

Beading Tools

Every beader needs the following tools for even the most basic of beading crafts:

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These kind of pliers, often called “needlenose” or “round-nose” pliers, help you hold delicate projects without squishing them, and also help you twist beading wire for various looks.

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Additionally, you’ll need these kind of pliers, called “flat-nose pliers,” for squishing jump rings back together, affixing clasps, and all sorts of things.
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These are called “crimping pliers” (or are just referred to as a “crimping tool”); these can help you hold slippery projects (with the spot marked “F”), and they can also mash down things like crimp beads in the spot marked “E”.
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And lastly, this little tool, called a wire cutter, is immensely helpful when you have excess beading wire at the end of a project!

Bead Storage

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You can go and buy storage cases specifically designed for beads if you’ve got a craft supply store in your area. BUT, if you don’t, you can also use fishing tackle boxes (get the clear ones with small compartments) or weekly pill boxes. (Also, you can get creative and repurpose some little containers you have lying around the house, such as baby food jars or empty spice containers. Just make sure the lids of your containers close tightly!)

Video Tutorials: Attaching Clasps and Ending Necklaces

How to Attach a Lobster Claw

How to End a Necklace

Further Reading: Beginner Beading Tutorials

Choosing the Right Size Beading Wire
Beadaholique: YouTube Playlist of Beading Tutorials

Repurposed: Jewelry Organizer

After the success of displaying all of my wearable necklaces and dangly earrings with a pretty little jewelry tree, I felt pretty confident about finding all the jewelry I had when I wanted to wear it.

Well, I felt confident, that is, until I realized I didn’t have a good place for the tiny earrings and my rings, not to mention the long hair chopsticks that wouldn’t fit in my hair notions organizer. Then my enthusiasm dulled a bit.

I was at a loss for a little while, mostly because I didn’t have room on my dresser for a large jewelry box (thus the reason for the tall and narrow jewelry tree). Nor did I want a fully-enclosed jewelry box, which would keep me from seeing everything at once and make me have to dig through a box to find things. In my experience, if I can’t see it, I won’t wear it, sad to say.

So I searched around for an easily-organizable, highly-visible solution to my jewelry problem–and found it in an unlikely place!

Small-Item Desktop Organizer, Given New Purpose!

jewelry_stored Meet my solution to my “small-jewelry” problem–a desktop organizer originally meant for paper clips, thumbtacks, pens, and the like! (You might not be able to tell from the picture, but it is about half a foot tall and a little narrower than that width-wise.)

My earrings are stored in the four clear compartments (one of which my thumb is on in the picture); my rings are in the little tray up top, and my large hair notions are in the back, stored like pens in the upright holders. This puts everything out in easy reach and easy view, and it looks sleek and classy to boot!

jewelry_empty What really sold me on this little organizer is that the clear plastic compartments all swing out for easy access, enabling me to use all the storage space without having to worry about “losing” any items back where I can’t reach it. Having four compartments like this has helped me sort my jewelry to my OCD heart’s content, too!

Also, I like the fact that I can store my rings out in the open, as well as my large hair notions. I don’t have to open any drawers nor fool with any fancy ring holders–they’re just there, ready to be picked up and worn!

This picture shows just how much jewelry I can fit in this little organizer, and yet still have it sectioned out. Now my earrings aren’t getting tangled up with rings and brooches–yay! And my large hair notions aren’t lying forgotten at the bottom of a box anymore–double yay! 😀

To Buy This Organizer

The organizer pictured can be purchased at Walmart.com for $3.47. Additionally, if you’d like one in all black, this one, also at Walmart.com, is $6.73. And, if you want a larger organizer in this style, I found one with eight swing-out compartments and two top trays at Walmart.com for $13.81.

Bead Textures: Sparkly, Pearly, or Metallic

What is “bead texture,” you might ask? Bead texture (not just how the bead feels, but how it reflects light) makes a distinct visual difference–a sparkly blue bead will catch more light and be less subtle than a pearly blue bead will, etc.

Today, I thought I’d feature a few examples of favorite bead textures I like to use in my jewelry projects, so I can draw the eye better to my necklaces’ focal points, and create lovely earrings that complement rather than detract.

Sparkly Beads: For Centerpieces and Catching the Light

Swarovski Victory Pendant

Swarovski Teardrop

Fire-Polished Beads

Metallic Beads: For Secondary Designs and Setting Off Focal Points

Shamballa beads

Casbah beads

Hematite Ovals

Pearly Beads: For “Background” Colors and Soft, Subtle Enhancement

Silver-Blue Glass Pearls

Pressed-Glass Beads

Mother-of-Pearl Melon Strand

What to Do With These Beads?

In my designs, I like to mix and match sparkly textures with pearly or metallic, to naturally draw the eye to certain parts of the necklace or earring and let the other patterns recede into the background.

The sparkliest and most eye-catching beads are generally the ones I reserve for the main focal point of the necklace, though sometimes I’ll “hide” a tiny sparkly bead in between a couple of equally-tiny metallic or pearl beads, just for a little extra interest.

Metallic beads, I find, are great for spacing apart pearl or sparkly beads–they are the “in-between” texture, since they can function as light-catching, but they can be less so if they are darker in color. Thus, they work great in just about any kind of project, no matter the length or complexity. You just need to make sure the color of the metal complements the other beads you’re using!

Though sometimes I’ll use a whole necklace of pearl beads, I generally like to intersperse them with metallic or sparkly beads, since their more subtle shimmer pairs well with the shinier textures. It seems they help set off the colors in the sparkly beads, especially if they are in the same color family.

Patterns and Project Ideas

Now that you’ve got ideas for using different beading textures together, here’s a few links to get you started on various beading projects and patterns. Happy beading! 🙂

Off the Beaded Path Project Ideas and Patterns
FaveCrafts.com Beading Patterns
KandiPatterns.com Bead Design Tool
CraftBits.com Bead Craft Ideas
OrientalTrading.com Beading Projects

Delicate Beaded Jewelry: Not an Oxymoron

With the current beaded jewelry trend tending towards huge rocks strung on string (I’m not kidding), those of us who are drawn toward more delicate, light creations may feel somewhat at a loss.

But there is no need to despair: there are several ways to bead necklaces, bracelets, and even earrings and rings that don’t look like you just went to a jewel mine and dug something out of the wall. I was honestly quite surprised to find several tutorials and ideas for such beautiful beaded jewelry styles, so I collected my favorites and have shared them here. No heavy multi-stranded necklaces or chunky earrings here–just truly lovely pieces of wearable art!

Ombre Crystal Necklace Tutorial

Pearl Drop Earrings Tutorial

Lacy Clover Bracelet Tutorial

Beaded Rings Idea Post
(you have to “like” the Facebook page to get the tutorial)

Blue Beaded Bracelet Idea Post

Beaded Flower Necklace Idea Post
(you can purchase the tutorial)

…and I am definitely going to try the beaded rings and pearl-drop earrings tutorials. 😀 😀

My 5 Tenets of Beaded Jewelry Design

I consider myself still an amateur beader in many ways, but I like the process of coming up with new designs for the simple, delicate necklaces I favor. I might not be able to weave thousands of tiny beads together into a wearable maze of color, but I can at least string some pearly and sparkly beads on a wire! 😀

I’ve noticed, though, that I tend to use a certain set of rules when it comes to creating beaded patterns, though–and those rules sparked the idea for this post! Read on to discover how I design my pieces!

Tenet #1: Use smaller beads at the ends of the piece and larger beads in the middle of the piece.

This technique, called “size graduation,” is one of my favorites, especially for necklace design. You start out with small beads at either end of the necklace, and then use larger and larger beads till you get to the center of the piece. This draws the eye to the center of the piece, and also helps the wearer know where the necklace is supposed to be centered!

Tenet #2: Make patterns of interlocking symmetry.

I usually do lots of small patterns to make up my necklaces and bracelets. For instance, on either end of the necklace, there’s usually a couple of little symmetrical patterns; then, closer to the center of the necklace, there is a larger symmetrical pattern that surrounds the centerpiece (usually one to three large beads). All together, this necklace pattern looks like a wearable palindrome, both sides mirroring each other.

Pattern: tiny pink pearl–clear seed bead–tiny white pearl–clear seed bead–tiny pink pearl. This would be great at the ends of a necklace.

Pattern: clear seed bead–tiny pink pearl–small white pearl–tiny pink pearl–small tan/gold pearl–tiny pink pearl–small white pearl–tiny pink pearl–clear seed bead. This longer pattern would be great for building up toward the center of a necklace.

Working with small units of patterns like these seems to create a much better-looking product than some of the non-symmetrical designs I’ve attempted over the years. Somehow, I never finish the non-symmetrical designs–I don’t even get around to stringing them. The symmetrical ones, however, always end up finished. 🙂

Tenet #3: Use colors that play well with each other.

In most of my pieces, I sprinkle in a good bit of neutral and metallic colors, like white, clear, gold, tan, black, silver, or gray–and then I use one or two stronger colors that stand out. Old favorite combos like pink and gold or blue and silver also work well for me. Sometimes I’ll use all beads of the same color but in various finishes to achieve a neat effect (sparkly purple, for instance, looks very different from pearlescent purple).

I do occasionally like to weave in a few distinctive beads, but that’s usually saved for the centerpiece of a necklace, using patterns of more “ordinary” neutral beads around it to visually support it.

Tenet #4: Different light textures are welcome.

What I mean by “light textures” is how the light bounces off each bead (as mentioned briefly above). Sparkly beads sharply reflect light, while pearlescent beads softly glow, and metallic beads shimmer. By putting the three different textures together, you get a neat effect on the eye–the eye constantly moves around the necklace, taking in the different sparkles, shimmers, and glows.

My favorite necklace, by far, is one that I made using light teal sparkly beads (Pacific opals) and white pearls, with clear and silver seed beads as accents. It always gets delighted comments when I wear it, and I think it’s because of the different light textures (plus the pretty color combination).

Tenet #5: Don’t go too big.

I like to use smaller beads because it lends a delicate, fairy-like look to my jewelry designs. In small sizes, any sparkly beads are pretty rather than flashy, keeping the overall effect clean and modest. It also doesn’t draw attention away from the outfit as a whole, but enhances and plays up the good parts of the ensemble. (Given that I’m pretty clumsy, I don’t like to wear any jewelry that I could potentially get tangled up in or injure myself on, so that’s probably another reason I go for short, simple jewelry. :D)


Small, balanced designs with colors and textures that play harmoniously with each other represent the five rules I go by when making beaded jewelry. But what do you think? What are your favorite ways to design? Tell me in the comments!