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Bead Stringing

Pearl Beads Necklace Made Using WigJig Beadstringing KitWigJig's Bead Stringing Kit for making a classic pearl necklace:

This bead stringing kit makes the white pearl beads necklace shown on the right.  The kit includes all the tools and supplies necessary to make this necklace. 

Our instructions for making this necklace are tailored to a beginner to making jewelry.  We believe that anyone who can follow simple instructions will be successful in making this necklace.  This project is suitable for anyone aged 12 or older.  Because we use a sharp cutter, it is not suitable for young children.

Now, let's discuss a little history of jewelry to help us explain why we make this necklace the way we do.  Prior to 1990, beads were strung on thread.  The best thread in the distant past was silk thread, but regardless of the quality of the thread used, any thread would break over time.  This is because at the microscopic level the inside of any bead is sharp and acts like a saw cutting the thread as the necklace is worn.  With any necklace strung on thread, there is no question of whether the necklace will break, it will.  It is only a question of when it will break.  Because of this, the artisans making strung beads necklaces would knot the thread between each bead.  When the thread parted, it would normally only part in one place and only one bead would break away, with the rest of the beads held in place by the knots.  Tying knots between each bead is very time consuming and re-stringing beads can be expensive.  For this reason, in the 1990's the Soft Flex Company invented bead stringing wire.  The virtue of the wire is that it is made of stainless steel coated with vinyl and won't break when used correctly.  Because of this, you won't need to tie a knot between each bead, it is not necessary.  Aesthetically, though, we want our pearl beads necklace to look identical to the necklaces with knotted silk.  The way we achieve the same visual effect as the knots is to thread a small "seed bead" between each of our pearl beads.  This project will teach a beginner to making jewelry how to use the newest technology in bead stringing -- using Soft Touch bead stringing wire.  The end result will be a modern pearl beads necklace that won't break, won't require re-stringing, but looks almost identical to the older style pearl beads necklaces. 

The tools and supplies listed below are included in the kit.  If you purchase the kit you will not need to purchase any additional tools or supplies.  We list these here for people who want to complete this project but already have some tools and/or supplies.  At the end of these instructions we will also discuss some alternative designs using different findings or beads.

Jewelry Making Supplies Included in Kit

Jewelry Tools Included in Kit

  • Item 0002, Size 11 Seed Beads Crystal Silver-lined. 
  • Item 2711, Swarovski 6mm White Crystal Pearl Beads (100)
  • Item 3313, Soft Touch Bead Stringing Wire size .019 (36")
  • Item 3000, Sterling Silver Toggle Clasp Medium
  • Item 0462, Sterling Silver 2x2mm Tube Style Crimp Beads (about 36/package)
  • Flush Cutter for Soft Flex, Item 0645.
  • Bead Crimping Pliers (Standard Size) Item 0319.
  • Plastic Hemostats (5) Item 0357

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

  • Using bead crimping pliers and crimp beads to connect a clasp to the beadstringing wire.
  • Cutting beadstringing wire. 
  • Stringing beads on bead stringing wire.

Finished Pearl Beads Necklace Made Using WigJig Beadstringing KitThe necklace that we will make is shown at right, coiled so that you can view the entire necklace.  The steps to make this necklace begin below.

Step 1:  Start by removing the Soft Touch Bead stringing wire, your clasp, your crimp beads, bead crimping pliers, your flush cutter and one plastic hemostat from their packages.

Step 2:  Now loop about 1" of the bead stringing wire through the loop in one side of your clasp.  In the pictures below, we started with the toggle.  After you have 1" of wire through the loop in the toggle, use your plastic hemostat to hold the wire in position.  The plastic hemostat is squeeze-release.  One squeeze opens it, the second squeeze clamps the hemostat closed.  (Editor's note:  Because this is a beginner's project, we are not going to start by cutting the Soft Touch Bead stringing Wire to the length we need.  We are going to start using all 36 inches.  As you become more advanced, you will find that you will want to cut your wire to a length that is about 4" longer than length of your finished necklace.)

Step 3:  Now we need to thread two of our crimp beads onto our long bead stringing wire.  Continue threading the crimp beads until they get close to the toggle, at that point, thread the second end of the bead stringing wire through the crimp beads also.  At this point, as shown below, center-right, you will have two crimp beads holding both strands of wire and positioned about 1/16" from the toggle.  You will want a small amount of slack in your bead stringing wire to allow it to slide easily around the clasp.  (Editor's note:  Because this is a beginner's project, we are using two crimp beads instead of one.  This is for redundancy.  Beginners sometimes fail to close the crimp beads properly so for this first project we recommend that beginners use two crimp beads on either end instead of one.  As you become more proficient with this technique, you will find that one crimp bead on either end will probably be sufficient.)

Step 4:  Now, using your bead crimping pliers, crimp the bead closest to the toggle first and then second the bead, further from the toggle.  The technique for using crimping pliers and crimp beads is described here.  Please note that you need to squeeze the crimp firmly, but not so hard that you crush or mangle it. 

Step 5: After both crimp beads are crimped closed, you are ready to cut the short segment of excess wire.  Be certain to cut only the short segment of wire.  Accidentally cutting the long segment of wire will cause the necklace to break.  Please note that we included a special Flush Cutter Soft Flex in this kit.  Most jewelry wire cutters are not strong enough to cut the stainless steel Soft Touch and will be ruined if used to cut this wire. 

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Step 6:  We are now ready to begin stringing our beads.  Please note that because the Soft Touch Beadstringing wire is slightly stiff, you won't need to use a needle to string the beads.  Begin with one size 11 seed bead.  Please note that the easiest way to string seed beads is not to pick up each one individually.  Spread your seed beads out on your work surface or on a plate and arrange them so that they lay flat.  Then, when you need to string a seed bead, place the end of the beadstringing wire into the hole in the seed bead and twist the wire to pick up the bead.  Continue twisting the wire until the seed bead slides part way down the wire.  For beginners, the size of seed beads is a rough approximation for how many of that bead would fit in 1" of strung beads.  Size 11 beads means that 11 of these seed beads strung side by side would occupy one inch on a necklace.  These beads are sold by the "hank" where one hank is defined as 12 strands of strung beads with each strand being about 20" long.  (This amounts to 12 x 20 or 240 inches of beads, with 11 beads per inch for a total of about 2640 size 11 seed beads in a hank.  Please don't count the beads in this hank, this is an approximation.)  After threading a seed bead, thread one 6mm pearl bead.  Continue threading one seed bead then one pearl bead.  Repeat this step over and over. 

Step 7:  As you continue to thread beads, you will find that you come to a point where you will need to set the partially strung necklace down.  Whenever you do this, we strongly suggest that you clamp your plastic hemostat on the unstrung portion of the wire.  Our experience is that failing to do this provides one with the opportunity to play follow the bouncing beads.  This is a game that we really don't like to play.  Continue threading combinations of seed beads and pearl beads until you get the length of necklace that you want.  Common sizes of necklaces are 16" (choker), 18" (princess), 20" (matinee) or 28" or even longer (opera).

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Step 8:  Now we need to fix the opposite side of the necklace to the other part of the clasp.  First string 2 crimp beads onto your beadstringing wire and slide them all the way down until they touch the beads.  Finished Pearl Beads Jewelry Making Project made from the WigJig Beadstringing KitThen loop the wire through the loop in your clasp.  Finally, you will need to thread the wire back through the two crimp beads as shown at right.    Pull the slack out of the wire until the crimp beads are tight against your strung beads with about 1/16" of slack at the clasp.  This will take several tries until everything is positioned properly.

Step 9:  Using your bead crimping pliers, crimp first one, then the other crimp bead closed. 

Step 10:  Using your Flush Cutter for Soft Flex, cut the excess wire as near the crimp beads as possible.  Ensure that you don't cut the necklace itself. 

Your necklace is now completed.  Bead stringing instructions in an easy-to-print format are here.

Next, we will discuss some alternative necklace designs that can be made by purchasing different supplies. 

Grey Pearl Beads Necklace Jewelry Making Project

Alternative Designs:

There are many alternative designs that can be considered.  First, as shown at right, you can replace the white pearl beads with another color like the light grey pearl beads shown here.  In this necklace, using the grey pearl beads, we elected to use jet black size 11 seed beads between the pearl beads.  You can choose any color combination of beads and seed beads that you like.  

Another easy change to make is to use a different clasp.  You can view our selection of toggle clasps here, but you are not limited to toggle clasps.   Some people prefer filigree clasps that you can view here.  Should you decide to use a gold clasp instead of silver, we recommend using gold-filled 2x2mm crimp beads instead of the sterling silver crimp beads.  With a gold or gold-filled clasp, we also recommend using gold size 11 silver lined seed beads. 

3 Strand Pearl Beads and Jewelry Wire Bracelet Jewelry Making ProjectPearl Beads Earrigns Jewelry Making ProjectsFinally, when you get even more advanced, you can consider a multi-strand necklace or bracelet like this one.  Our instructions for these jewelry making projects can be found by selecting here.




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