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Due to the Corona virus, the Surface Design workshop has been postponed until this summer. The new date for it will be announced when the Art House re-opens.


I'll be teaching this one-day workshop on March 14, 2020 at the Art House! Learn to design your own unique papers and other materials for collage, card making, scrap booking, journal making etc. I supply all the materials. All you need to bring is a sack lunch and a beverage. Hours are 10-4; fee is $90 per person. Register online at or call 678-543-5777. Act now! Seating is limited!

Friday, January 31, 2014

An Easy Way to Use Up Leftover Beads

What do you do with leftover beads? I usually toss them into a jar and wait until I've accumulated several from various projects. Then I turn them into the easiest-to-make necklace ever. The good thing about this hoop type of necklace is that you only need a handful of beads, not hundreds of them, to make something really attractive. Of course, the beads you use don't have to be leftovers. Any beads from your stash will work just as well.

The basis for this piece is a simple hoop-style wire choker with a removable ball on one end and a curved hook at the other. You can buy them in different finishes from mail order sources like Fire Mountain, at arts and crafts stores and at bead stores. At just a few dollars apiece, they're inexpensive and -- even better -- no additional findings are needed. It's self-closing so you won't need so much as a clasp nor even a jump ring. The rigid hoop comes pre-formed so there's no need to shape the wire, and the ball end is included. And if those pluses weren't enough, the entire necklace takes less than ten minutes to assemble!

A super simple necklace made in minutes from left over beads.

The choker above is made from eight tube style paper beads, five 8mm round glass beads, four 8mm porcelain beads, 16 metal rondelles, and two filigree bead caps. The paper beads were extras from another necklace project, and the blue and white porcelain beads were remnants of an earring-making session from long ago. The bead caps weren't strictly necessary but I used them because I liked the effect and happened to have two on hand that fit the glass beads.

When choosing beads for this style of necklace there are a few things to keep in mind:

The holes in the beads must be large enough to accommodate the gauge of the wire hoop. The beads need to be able to move easily along the wire without getting hung up. Have a bead reamer on hand to smooth the occasional burr.

The length of the bead matters. Because the wire hoop is rigid, you'll need to use shorter beads that fit snugly against the curve of the hoop. (In other words, 40mm hairpipes won't work!) The paper beads I used on my necklace are 3/4 inch in length, which was about the maximum length the hoop could accommodate.You'll know right away if a bead is too long. It will jam when you try to slide it onto the wire.

This type of project is very adaptable. It lends itself to however many beads you have available. You can use a single focal bead, fill a portion of the hoop with beads as I've done, or fill every inch of the hoop with beads. Any stopping point is aesthetically pleasing. As long as the beads look good together you can't go wrong.

Expect your creation to draw admiring comments whenever you wear it. For it certainly will draw attention. No one has to know it was made of leftovers or that it was created in less time than it takes to microwave a TV dinner. Just bask in the compliments and smile. If you don't tell, I won't either!

 Text and image ©2014 Lynn Edwards

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