Braided Necklace with Lampwork Drops Tutorial

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DIY! Project Accessory Inspired Necklace
Well, I think its time for another free tutorial for me. This one was inspired from Christina’s Rope & Chandelier Part Necklace on Project Accessory, which I’ve been sucked into and probably will now watch religiously. I’m sure there’s someone to blame for this besides my wanting to avoid work.

Here’s a photo of my finished necklace. I used black hemp and lampwork (full materials list below).


Here’s a photo of hers.


Now, before we get into this, let me just say that I believe this design belongs to her. I think the design is fabulous, although its more of a summer thing than a winter thing. I’m not planning on making money off the tutorial or anything – its a straightforward braiding design that she has added drops to and a leather strap across the bottom to hold the weight.

Materials needed:
*Hemp, 1-2mm wide
*Leather Cord, about 2mm
*Optional (I had it leftover from my macrame tutorials): C-lon
*Optional (if you are using the C-lon): Needle with large enough eye to thread with C-lon
*Optional (if you are using C-lon): Thread Burner
*Glue – I like .527 Watch Glue OR E6000.
*Clear tape
*2 Ribbon Crimp Ends, available from your local bead store or firemountaingems.com. About 13mm should be fine. There may be a bulk buy going on!
*Headpins, available from your local bead store or firemountaingems.com. Get the largest/thickest ones you can. There may be a bulk buy going on!
*Jump Rings, available from your local bead store or firemountaingems.com. Get about 8-12mm ones. There may be a bulk buy going on!
*Jump Rings (1 or 2). You might need an extra large jump ring or two for your pendant.
*Optional: Extender Chain (you’ll see this in my photos below)
*1 Large Off-Mandrel Pendant (overview on how to make this below).
*Even number of disk shaped beads (I used a 23mm press that I purchased off Ebay. I have no idea who the maker is, but I luuuuv it. I recommend one of Catt’s presses for this, though, which you can purchase here: http://www.cattwalk.com/lentilsandca…raduatedLentil)
*Optional: Matching beadies

Part 1 – Assembling and Making the Beads

Okay, first, lets get through that off-mandrel pendant.
Taken DIRECTLY off of my friend Val’s description (I think she’ll be okay with this):
* Make desired design at end of 6-14mm rod.
I used boro, but you don’t have to. It was something like double amber purple over white over clear with clear swirls. I’m not 100% sure of the colors since I don’t mark my rods religiously.
* Squish.
* Heat tungsten until glowing – push through glass to make hole – (make sure it is warm enough to receive it. but a little stiff too).
I use a Peter’s Tweezers for this step since I suck at using a tungsten. I’d love to use Handy Andy’s tweezers, but haven’t yet purchased any.
* Attach cold seal to one end, and melt off “blob” from other of rod.
I pointed my end while I melted it off…
* Decorate and embellish ’til your heart is content.
* Flame polish and anneal – oh, and have fun!

Scared of making something off mandrel? C’mon! Try it! Its fun!
Alrighty, you could always make a big bead for the center front – it doesn’t HAVETA be off mandrel.
Great! Make some disk beads to match. I made 6, and then some matching donut shaped ones.
While the pendant and the disk beads anneal, we can go ahead and make the necklace part.

Part 2 – The Weight Bearing part of the Necklace

Cut 9 pieces of the hemp 2 1/2 feet long each.
You’ll be braiding them using a regular three-strand braid, but the trick is that you’ll be dealing with three strands as a single piece, just to give it some bulk. You want to keep them all next to each other, not bunching up, though, so your final braided ribbon stays flat.


Braid them up to 1 1/2″ less than you want your final piece to be – the ribbon ends and the clasp will add that extra length, plus you can go in and add an extender chain.

Don’t know how long you should make it?
Choker necklaces sit high on the neck.
Wikipedia tells me that they are generally 14-16 inches long.
HOWEVER, I need a 12 inch choker and a good friend on mine uses an 18″ one. See where the idea of an extender chain might be useful?

Don’t know how to braid? No problem – there is an excellent tutorial here:

Got your braid done? Awesome.
The ribbon crimp is really easy to use – you just have to make sure all your pieces fit into it.
Wrap a piece of tape around where you want to cut your braid at start and end. Make sure its on there really tight!

Cut a piece of leather to the EXACTLY the same size as the finished braid.

If you’d like to stitch it onto the bottom of the braid a bit, this will make it a little stronger. I’ve used C-lon here and knotted the ends on the back of the piece. I use a little bit of glue or a thread burner on my knot since C-lon tends to be springy and the knots come undone.

Use another piece of tape to attach the leather to the bottom of the hemp braid.

Cut the tape in half and glue the HECK out of the ends.

Part 3 – The Clasp

Open up your ribbon crimp a bit, add a bit of glue in there, and then smash it around the outside of the hemp/leather/tape contraption.

Add jump rings, your optional extender chain, and a clasp. I added beads to the end of my extender chain since I had extras.

Part 4 – Attaching the Beads/Drops

Okay, your beads and pendant are annealed and cooled and all the bead separator is cleaned out of there, right? We’re going to work on the drops first. I made them all first, but you can make them as you work (see directions below).


Attach the pendant to the center front leather using the extra large jump ring. I added a couple of extra jump rings because I wanted my pendant to sit lower than my side beads.

Put the disk beads onto the headpins. Because my beads had larger holes, I had to add a smaller bead underneath. I also used a loop headpin (an eyepin) so I could add little copper drops I found in my stash. If you have matching beads, you can load them on top. Make a loop at the top of the headpin. If you know how to wire wrap, this will make it stronger.

Attach the head pin loops to the leather using jump rings.

Admire your work!

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