Here’s a tutorial for a simple waterfall/cascade necklace. I absolutely love this style of necklace and they are really simple to make. The basic idea is to create short links of beads and attach them to a main necklace chain. You can add more chains and links to make a more complex necklace, but this tutorial will focus mainly on the simplest style.
You’ll need: About half a metre of jewellery chain (medium to larger width chain will be best), assorted beads (generally larger beads work better for this style), head pins, eye pins, jewellery pliers, necklace clasp. About 30 to 45mins.
For more information about basic jewellery techniques see my previous posts here – Changing hooks to sterling silver and How to make basic beaded earrings. I cover a lot of the techniques in more detail there.
1. Decide on a basic style. I think the simplest styles often look the best.
2. The first bead goes on a head pin. This will generally be the largest bead but you can mix it up.
3. Bend the head pin back to 90 degrees and cut back to about 1cm.
4. Create an open loop using the jewellery pliers.
5. Get your second bead and place on eye pin.
6. Bend, cut and loop the headpin as the first bead.
7. Attach the closed eye pin loop to the open loop headpin of the first bead and close with jewellery pliers.
8. Add subsequent beads in the same manner.
9. Once you’ve finished a string of beads, use the open loop on the top bead to attach to the chain. Close with jewellery pliers. Make sure you are attaching beads to the central piece of the chain.
10. Keep making strings of beads and attaching to chain. Space them as you wish. Make sure the chain lays flat and that you’re attaching the loops to the bottom links of the chain.
11. One you're happy with the number of beads we can begin the finishing touches.
12. Cut back the chain to desired length with jewellery pliers (you can also open one of the a loops to remove chain as in step 15 here - I find it quicker and lazier to judge the length I'll need by initially cutting back though).
13. I like to leave equal lengths of chain on either side of the beads.
14. Insert the tips of the pliers through the last link to open it. You can also use a second pair of pliers to pull it apart – I usually find this method easier myself.
15. Place a necklace clasp on to the last link and close firmly with the pliers. There are several different types of findings you can use. I’ve chosen to use a simple parrot clasp here.
14. I’m finishing the other end of the necklace off with an extender chain. You don’t really need it here as you can clasp directly onto the chain – but I think it finishes it nicely.
This necklace cost me about $10 in material. Bargain!
Chains come in a variety of different styles, sizes and colours. So do necklace findings. I generally use parrot clasps as they are secure and fairly strong. The springs in necklace findings don’t always work too well. If you have an option of buying better quality ones I’d go for that. Some of the cheaper ones have broken on me straight away – others have been fine. Other types of findings include magnetic, screw in, toggle and hook.
This style of necklace makes it really easy to create some amazing and unique designs. I’ve compiled a page of design ideas at pinterest here. I included a couple of good youtube tutorials that show how to make similar styles of necklace. If you’re new to making jewellery I suggest watching these as they show how easy it is!
Some other ideas to try are:
- Mixing different styles, colours, materials of the beads.
- Mixing beads up with charms.
- Hanging lines of chain between the beads – or using just chain.
- Adding lines of chain between bead loops. This works best when including a split/jump ring between the chain and loops. This is a necklace I bought at Target last year.
- Attaching beads to a chandelier finding rather than a chain.
Love to see and hear about your creations!