Beaded Chain Bracelet Workshop

We kicked off the first of many jewelry workshops to come this past Saturday–even with the icy cold weather making an appearance.  I am always blown away with the creativity the participants bring to the table every time I teach a workshop; this time was

no exception!  A few things before I reveal the fabulous peaces they created.

I am always asked where you can get your jewelry supplies. Well, Michael’s Craft Store has really stepped up in the jewelry department recently.  They have a  wide selection  at very reasonable prices.  These supplies are particularly good when first starting out or beginning a new project.  It is always a good idea to practice the project a few times before using expensive materials such as sterling silver or gold filled wire. That being said, two great sites to get a full range of jewelry supplies are Rio Grande and Fire Mountain Gems.  These two sites are very easy to navigate and have every item you could dream of!

I have added the instructions to this project below so anyone can try it!  It is a fairly simple project that doesn’t require much jewelry knowledge to complete.  So have fun and get creative!!

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Beaded Chain Bracelet & Earrings

A Few Notes about This Project:

 The overall design of the beads and craft wire is completely up to you. I will provide instruction for my design but I encourage you to stray and be creative!

Materials:

Bracelet

–6 ½ ”-8 ½” of gold or silver chain

–1 clasp (lobster, hook and eye)
–2 small jump rings
–10-15 1 ½” head pins

–2’ 26 gauge craft wire (color of choice)

–Bead assortment

–Wire cutters
–Round-nosed pliers

–Flat-nosed pliers

Earrings

— 2 ear wire

— 2 2” head pins

–6” craft wire (optional)

–4-6 beads

1 First add the clap to one end of your bracelet. You will need to connect the clasp with a jump ring that will then connect to the last chain in the bracelet.

Note- The clap will add length to the bracelet so it necessary to add it first to determine the correct length.

2 When opening the jump ring make sure to always pull the ring either left of right instead of pulling the ends away from each other. This will ruin the shape of the jump ring and make it more difficult to close.

3. Once the first side of the clasp is connect, place the bracelet around your wrist to figure out the length desired. You may need to remove a few links in the bracelet. Remember to take in to account the other end of the clasp and how much length it will add to the chain. Make sure to leave the bracelet loose as you will be attaching several beads that will bulk up the chain a bit.

4. Remove any undesired chain link and connect the other end of the clasp using a jump ring.

5. As a general guide I wrapped 2-3 beads per link using craft wire. I often wrapped more wire on a link to add a touch of color but you just need enough to secure the beads.

6. Start by isolating the link in your hand. Cut 6” of craft wire (you will not need this for each link but it will be easy enough to handle and the extra will be for your next link. Wrap a ½” of wire around the link and leave that as a tail. Wrap the long end a few times. Load 2-3 beads on the wire and wrap another few times.

Note: I did every link with this step but it is up to you how frequent you want the beads and wire to appear.

I have given you 10-15 head pins that will dangle with beads from the bracelet. It is up to you how many and where you want them (evenly spaces, grouped together?)

7. String 2-4 beads (depending on the size of the beads) on to the head pin.

8. Grip the headpin with your round nose pliers as close to the bead as possible.

9. Start making the loop by bending the headpin clockwise around the nose of your pliers. You may have to reposition your pliers once or twice

10.Bend the tail of the headpin until it has formed a complete loop. Remove your pliers. Use your side cutters to cut off the excess wire that does not form part of the loop. Always protect your eyes by using safety glasses when cutting wire.

11. Slide the head pin on to the link then bend the head pin loop closed. Repeat for entire bracelet.

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About Headley Whitney Museum

We are a decorative arts museum located in the heart of the Bluegrass. Opened in 1968 by George Headley III, a noted jewelry designer from the mid-twentieth century. Our permanent collection includes the Marylou Whitney Estate dollhouses, Library, Jewel Room and galleries for temporary exhibitions.
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