It’s really easy to make a clustered necklace, I find this to be ‘anything goes’ type of jewelry making, you can literally grab a handful of beads and make a necklace or earrings up as you go.
As an example last week I made a clustered lariat necklace. I used a few silver charms (can be substituted for silver beads) and a handful of those glass bead mixes that you can order online, the ones where you never rarely know what shape or size is going to turn up.
The matching clustered earrings were pretty much an afterthought that have been made from the left over’s of the necklaces, but to my surprise they’ve become one of my favorite pairs of earrings!
Let’s begin by showing you step by step how I made this clustered lariat necklace.
What You Will Need
- A collection of Beads
- 6 Jump Rings, some Head Pins, Eye pins and Bead Caps
- Leather or Cotton Thong
- Jewelry Wire cutters, pliers and round nosed pliers
Step1 Open all the jump rings then put them to one side ready for use. Then decide on how many beads you would like your cluster to have. I will be using 16 beads and 4 charms, the charms are optional so if I wasn’t using them I would probably use around 20 beads.
Step1 Thread a bead onto a headpin.
If the hole in the bead you are using is too large for the head pin you will need to use a bead cap or a small bead to stop it from slipping off.
Charms will need to be hung on an eye pin rather than a head pin. Using the pliers open the eye of the eye pin slightly, then slip the charm on and close it back up again. Once the charm has been attached to the eye pin it can be treated in the same way as the bead on the head pin.
Step3 Trim the headpin leaving a ½ inch protruding from the top of the bead.
Step4 Using the round nosed pliers bend the head pin over to a right angle directly above the bead. Now grab the end of the wire with the pliers and twist it up and over to make a loop at the top of the bead making sure you don’t leave a gap (see notes on hanging drops and beads on head pins) repeat this process with all of the beads and charms.
Step5 Once all of the beads have been looped, separate them into 4 groups (this will give me 4 lots of 5 beads).
Step6 Now take one of the open jump rings and thread on 5 beads (one group) then close it up.
Step7 Repeat the processes with the other 3 sets of beads until you have 4 clusters containing 5 beads.
Step8 Thread a jump ring through the jump rings of 2 of the clusters you have just made.
Step9 Close the jump ring up making sure you don’t leave any gaps.
Step10 Repeat the processes with the other two clusters.
Step11 You are now left with two large clusters and all you need to do now is attach them to the leather thong. The length of cotton or leather you need is dependent on how long you want to make your clustered necklace. It’s best to air on the side of caution here as the clusters can easily be taken off again to trim it if need be.
Thread the cotton through the jump rings and secure with a knot. You will need a small amount of thong left after the knot to stop it from slipping undone, so weave it through the jump rings within the cluster a bit and then trim it to tidy it up. Repeat with the other side.
Tie a knot in the leather a few inches above the clusters to wear as a lariat style necklace.
You can make a clustered necklace that’s more traditional – Thread the jump ring through all 4 of the clusters and close the jump ring up making sure you don’t leave any gaps.
Thread the cotton or leather thong through the jump ring and add a leather crimp and fastener or tie with slip knots which will enable you to adjust the length of the necklace. (See how to tie a slip knot).
As you can see in the photo below I also made some cluster earrings. I’m working on the tutorial for them today and I’ll post it tomorrow. So if you want to make a clustered necklace with matching earrings be sure to come back and check them out here!
Homemade Clustered Earrings
It’s hard to believe that this tutorial on how to make clustered earrings is still very much in the beginner’s section of easy homemade jewelry. Most of the beads I’ve used are from a basic glass bead mix that I had leftover from the homemade clustered necklace I created earlier.