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How to make a stylish necklace for any occasion

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How many times have you found yourself rifling through your jewellery-box looking for just the right necklace that you know perfectly well you don't have? It always happens at the last minute. You're ecstatic with yourself for finding the perfect top for those pants you were going to wear to your friend's wedding, when it dawns on you that the top and pants are really no good without some smashing necklace and bracelet and, you sigh, lovely dangly earrings.

Well, you can pretty much forget about that ever happening again because this entry is going to teach you two things:

  • How to make your own stunningly beautiful accessories, and
  • How to convince your friends that you are the only person alive who possesses the creativity and skill needed to make them, so they will be clamouring to obtain your fabulous jewels at any cost.

Step 1: The Supplies

The first step is getting all the supplies. To better explain the process, this article will list specific beads for a specific project. You can, however, substitute many things mentioned here for other styles and types of materials. As you become better at making jewellery, you will naturally become more inventive. Just take it slow.

For this project of a necklace, bracelet and pair of earrings you will need:

  • Two jewellery clasps (ones that you are certain you can operate are best. Don't get fancy ones if you don't have a clue how they work.)
  • Some sort of cord. Five pound test fishing line is the preferred medium, though beading cords, wires, and even dental floss will work just as well.
  • An assortment of interesting beads of varying sizes and shapes in a colour of your choice.
  • Seed beads to match or coordinate with the interesting beads.
  • Silver or gold toned beads to accentuate colours and add sparkle are optional, but even a few well-placed silver disks can add a lot to the overall effect.
  • One pair of earring wires with loop for attaching a dangle. It is wise to purchase surgical steel, as it is hypo-allergenic and lasts longer than other materials.
  • A few headpins. You only really need two, but in the beginning you may mess up a few times, and it is best to have backups.
  • Needle nose pliers. You probably already own a pair for household repairs. Find them.
  • A couple of hours to make the pieces.

A great place to find beads is Hobby Lobby, or look in the yellow pages for local arts and crafts shops.

Step 2: Time to get creative

Once you have cluttered up the table with all of your supplies, try to find the cord. You will be making the necklace first. Unwind the end of the cord and wrap it around your neck. First see where you want the necklace to end, the length. Then add two feet to your measure and cut the piece off.

After you've cut the cord, attach one end to one side of the clasp with a series of overhand knots. You will be able to tell when it is secure, because when you tug it, it will not unwind. If you wish, you can dot a bit of clear nail polish on the knot to secure it. Now it is time to string the beads. You can do it in any way you wish; if the design is pleasing to you, you will wear it with confidence (and isn't that the most attractive thing you can wear?) After the beads have been strung to the length you want, tie the remaining cord to the other end of the clasp. It is important not to tie the cord off too loosely or too tightly. If, when you hold up the necklace after it is tied, you can see the cord, it is too loose. If the necklace does not have a fluid drape, or hang correctly when worn, you have tied it too tightly. Sadly, there is nothing you can do short of restringing it, but if you are careful, you will not have a problem.

A bracelet is essentially a small necklace. You start with a piece of cord about a metre long and follow the directions for the necklace. Just stop when it fits comfortably around your wrist.

The earrings are trickier, but do not be discouraged. Take a headpin in your fingers. The flat end is the bottom. Now that you understand the parts of a headpin, you're ready to go. Select a few beads that are left over from the necklace/bracelet. Slip them onto the headpin. Using needle nose pliers, bend the top of the pin over to create a closed loop. Use the pliers to gently open the loops on the earrings. Slide on the dangles and close. You have now done all the work, but don't celebrate until you've put everything away. A good place to store extra beads and findings is a shoebox or plastic organiser.

Congratulations! You are now a fully accessorised person with a brand new ability. Good for you. Now go out there and strut your stuff.

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