Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Blink of an eyelash" necklace.

Today's project is inspired by something that happened in Mexico. I was there for several weeks, studying Spanish. A wonderful trip...but I was going through serious craft withdrawal. I had to make something! No tools, no supplies, no way to feed this craving - arrrgh!
At the edge of an open-air market, I met an old man with a small trove of beads. I bought one beautiful string of glass rondelles before hurrying away to class. I wanted, planned to buy more - but I never found him again.

So what could I make with...

Cotton string from a papeleria, a ten peso folding scissor and a handful of beads?

I made this:

It's sort of minimalist, sort of ethnic, and it so suited the time and place. It was a little weird, but I was happy with it.

If you'd like to experiment with this idea, it's a good one for beginners. Fast! Simple! But as simple as it is, you can have much fun playing with different looks.

Here's how to make an "eyelash" necklace. You need a few beads, some string, scissors.
First tie a loop in one end of the string:

The ideal size is just big enough to slip over one of your beads. This picture shows the loop loosely tied - start out like that, then adjust for size and tighten the knot.

Next, string all but one of the beads. Figure out where to place them, depending on the final length you want. I find this design looks nice at princess length, for most people 18 to 20 inches.

Tie a knot at each end of the strung beads to keep them in place. Add the last bead, then tie a final knot to end. Leave just a little play between the beads, so there will be room for the eyelashes. Like this:

Of course, you could wear it as is. But don't stop now - tie on some eyelashes! You can tie them as a basic half knot:

That will give a random, floppy effect, as in the original necklace:

Or for a more regular look, tie lark's head knots, like this:

And there ya go, an interesting necklace. In the blink of an eyelash.

Pretty easy, right? But wait, there's more. Just play around with it and see what you get. You could use both knots together, and vary the lengths:

Which ends up looking kind of rock and roll barbed-wiry:

If you try that one, remember to leave a little more leeway between the beads, so there'll be enough room for the extra knots. Or better yet, don't tie off the beaded section until after you have added the eyelashes - then cinch everything up tight and tie the second stopper knot.

This next one has a second pair of lark's head lashes between each bead:

How cute are these ladybugs, for a little girl?

Or the one with flowers, for a pre-teen?

One more technique: an alternative to the knots on either end of the beaded section. Loop the string all the way around the first and last beads and tighten - that will act as the stopper. It can be useful because it's adjustable - you won't need to figure out in advance where the knots go to make your necklace come out even. You can just slip-and-wiggle the 'stopper loops' until everything is centered where you want it.

Here's a closeup of how to do the stopper loop:

That's today's idea. Hope you liked it!

(Oh, and if you haven't checked out this giveaway, today is the last day to enter.)


  1. Aww... ladybugs! How sweet, there must be a little girl be hidden somewhere in old me :D

  2. I got your package in the mail yesterday!! Thanks for letting me beg your creation from you. :)! Loving your blog, thanks!

  3. These are so cute! I think I'm going to have to do this with my daughter--she'll love stringing the beads but I don't think she has enough coordination for the knots yet (she's only 3).

  4. What type of string did you use?

  5. Hi, Kittypurseshop - I just used various things I found around the house: cotton string, thin nylon beading cord, upholstery thread. Anything skinny works.