Please click on any image in this tutorial for a full-size view.
1. Gather Your Materials
The following beads are enough to make one 16-inch necklace. This necklace is designed to be relatively short; but if you'd like to wear it longer, I recommend adding a metal chain at the end to make it adjustable.
Note: When colors are named differently by different suppliers, I've included both names below.
- About 17 grams of 3mm gold-lined AB (or rainbow/RB) aqua Magatamas
- About 2.5 grams of size 15/0 round Miyuki seed beads in gold luster sage or olivine high lustre
- About 3.5 grams of 5mm x 5mm Tilas in matte metallic gold or matte metallic bronze
This tutorial also uses the following supplies.
- 19-strand Beadalon Designer Series Bead Stringing Wire (or your choice of similar beading wire)
- Wire cutters
- Two 2mm gold-filled or sterling silver crimp tubes
- Crimping pliers
- A Bead Stopper or Mini Bead Stopper
- 4-pound test FireLine Beading thread in crystal
- Xacto hobby knife or children's craft scissors (for cutting the FireLine)
- One size 11/0 seed bead to serve as a stop bead
- A size 12 beading needle
- A Thread Burner
- Round nose pliers (for help making the final end loop with the beading wire)
- Two pairs of chain nose pliers or flat nose pliers, or one of each (for attaching a clasp with jump rings)
- Your choice of ready-made clasp (I used a gold-filled lobster clasp)
- Matching jump rings to attach your clasp (I used gold-filled 5mm jump rings)
- Optional: A beading awl for help teasing apart any knots that form in the FireLine
- Also optional, but recommended: Bead dishes and a bead mat (learn more about these in my Essential Beadweaving Supplies article)
2. Begin Stringing the Top Strand
Cut a length of beading wire that's about six inches longer than you want the beaded portion of the necklace to be. Make a small loop on one end and secure it with a crimp tube.
- For help securing the crimp tube and stringing beads, see How to String Beads With Beading Wire.
String three or four 15/0 seed beads and one Tila, and slide them down against the crimp tube.
Tip: To string beads on the beading wire, I use the end of the wire to pick up the tiny seed beads (as if the wire were a needle), and I use my fingers to manually string each Magatama.
String 11 pairs of one seed bead and one Magatama, one additional seed bead, and another Tila. Slide those beads down.
3. Finish Stringing the Top Strand
Keep stringing 11 pairs of one seed bead and one Magatama, plus one seed bead, plus a Tila bead, until you reach your desired length.
Tip: To avoid permanent miscounts, it's a good idea to go back and recount the seed beads and Magatamas between each pair of Tilas, before stringing the next set.
String on three or four more seed beads, and attach the Bead Stopper two or three millimeters away from the last bead on the strand.
4. Prepare the FireLine Beading Thread
Pull and cut a length of FireLine that is about 1.5 arms' spans long. Although I usually prefer to work with one arms' span at a time (the distance between your outstretched hands when you hold them out to the sides), it's useful to work with a longer piece for this design to avoid needing to stop and add new thread toward the very end of the project.
Keep in mind that this longer strand is prone to tangling, especially when you first get started beading. Always pull the thread through the beads slowly and carefully, and unwind any twists before they become true tangles or knots.
Squeeze the end of the FireLine flat with your fingernail and thumbnail, and thread the needle. Pick up a seed bead to use as a stop bead, and slide it down to about six inches from the end of the thread. While holding the bead in place, pass the needle through it again in the same direction, and gently pull the thread taut around the bead.
5. Start Beading With the FireLine
Pass through the empty hole in the first Tila bead in the strand and pull the thread gently until the stop bead comes to rest against the Tila bead.
Pick up and string seven pairs of one seed bead and one Magatama, plus one additional seed bead and one Tila bead.
Pick up and string seven more pairs of one seed bead and one Magatama, plus an additional seed bead, and then pass through the empty hole in the next Tila bead in the top strand. Pull the thread gently taut.
6. Bead to the End of the Strand and Reverse Direction
Keep stringing sets of seed beads and Magatamas between pairs of Tilas, in the same numbers and sequence, until you reach the end of the top strand.
Just like with the top strand, it's a good idea to double check your count after stringing each set of beads. Any miscounts will make the beadwork look uneven.
With the thread exiting the last Tila in the top strand, pick up a single Magatama bead and slide it down against that Tila. Hold the Magatama in place with your fingers, and pass the needle back through the Tila bead. Pull the thread taut.
7. Bead Back To the Beginning of the Strand
Pick up and string ten pairs of one seed bead and one Magatama each, plus one additional seed bead, and pass back through the first of the lower Tila beads.
Pull the thread taut, and then pick up and string the same number and sequence of seed beads and Magatamas. Pass back through the next Tila in the top strand, and pull the thread taut.
Repeat this process to stitch beads back to the beginning end of the necklace.
8. Reverse Direction Again
When you reach the beginning of the strand, stop and use the needle to gently move the stop bead back out of the way. It should slide easily along the thread.
Pick up a single Magatama and slide it down against the first Tila bead. While using your finger to hold the Magatama in place, pass back though the same hole in the Tila bead and pull the thread taut.
9. Weave-In the Thread
Pass back through several beads in the necklace, and tug the thread a few times to cinch up the tension.
Begin a half-hitch knot by passing the needle beneath the existing thread between two beads. Gently pull the thread until it forms a small loop.
(Please remember that you can click on the images on the left for a close-up view.)
Pass the needle back through that small loop, and pull the thread taut. Use your fingers to keep the thread from skipping over any beads; you need the knot to tighten down completely between the same two beads.
10. End the Thread
Repeat Step 9 several more times. Because the thread doesn't fit tightly within the Magatamas, it's important to keep tugging the thread to tighten the tension along the way, and to make multiple half-hitch knots.
Bring the thread out a final time, and wrap it around the fingers of your non-dominant hand to hold it taut. Use your other hand to cut the thread close to the beadwork with a thread burner. (As always, be careful not to touch the red-hot tip of the burner with your fingers.)
11. Weave-In and End the Other Thread Tail
Remove the stop bead and thread the needle onto the remaining tail of thread. Pass through the single Magatama on the edge of the necklace and through the first Tila bead, and then weave the thread into the beadwork -- making multiple half-hitch knots along the way -- just like you did with the other end of the thread.
Use the thread burner to trim this thread close to the beadwork.
12. Attach the Second Crimp Tube and the Clasp
Remove the Bead Stopper from the other end of the necklace. Curve the necklace into the approximate shape it will have when worn, and then use the technique described in How to String Beads With Beading Wire to secure the second crimp tube.
Tip: Be very careful not to break any of the tiny, size 15/0 seed beads on your strand when you close down the crimp tube with your crimping pliers. Leave a little space on the beading wire, and position the pliers carefully to avoid the beads.
Use jump rings to attach your clasp. Optionally, add a short length of chain to one end that your clasp can hook onto to make the necklace adjustable.
Before you put on your necklace, take a minute to untwist it so that the beadwork lies flat. To minimize wear, always store your necklace in a jewelry box lying flat, rather than on a hook.
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