Rustic Leather & Bead Necklace (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

In this leather necklace tutorial, we’ll combine a pendant and beads with medium-width cord for a rustic look.

Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

I’m using Czech glass beads here, but you could also make this necklace with pearls or any other beads – no matter how small the bead holes – because the beads won’t be strung on the leather cord.

Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Depending on the pendant and beads you use, this finished piece could be worn by both men and women.

Supplies:

  • A rustic, rugged, or natural pendant – either drilled front-to-back and a jump ring attached through the drill hole, or drilled sideways through the top.

    I’m using this wonderful hand-carved stone pendant by Stephen Lee (see how he makes his pendants in this JMJ post).

    Carved stone pendant for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Beads that nicely accent your pendant.

    My finished beaded centerpiece in this necklace – from one jump ring end to the other – measures 5.25″ (13.33cm).

    I’m using 16 picasso Czech glass beads, about 6×9 mm size:

    Picasso Czech glass beads for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Leather cord, 2mm wide – 2 pieces.
    Each piece of cord should be about 12.5″ (32cm) long for a 16″ (41cm) finished necklace.
    This cord length allows for trimming 1″ (2.5cm) from each end after you tie your knots.
    (Use more cord if you want a longer finished necklace than 16″ [41cm].)

    I’m using natural-color leather cord that’s salvaged from an old project, so it’s a bit weathered (just right for this rustic necklace!):

    Leather cord for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Clasp – I’m using a handmade hook clasp, along with a jump ring for the eye end of the clasp.
    You can make my Easy Hook Clasp Tutorial, or if you want to make the exact clasp I’m using here, you’ll find it in my Leather Cord Choker Tutorial.

    Here are the hook and jump ring I’m using for my clasp:

    Hook and Eye Clasp for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • 2 Handmade coiled crimp bead covers – make them from my How to Make Crimp Bead Covers Tutorial:

    Coiled Crimp Bead Covers for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Crimp beads.
  • Beading wire.
  • 2 jump rings – one for each end of your beading wire.
  • Cutter for beading wire.
  • Crimping pliers.

How to Make a Rustic
Leather & Bead Necklace

We’ll start by making the beaded centerpiece of the necklace first.

String half of your beads onto your beading wire.

(I put a small clamp on one end of my beading wire, so the beads can’t sneak away):

Stringing beads for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Next, string your pendant onto your beading wire:

Stringing pendant for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now string the second half of your beads onto the beading wire:

Beaded strand for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Finish off one end of your beading wire by making an empty loop in the wire, with 2 crimp beads to hold the loop in place.

(I nearly always use 2 crimp beads instead of 1, for greater security.)

Then finish off the second end of your beading wire the same way, with a loop and 2 crimp beads:

End beading wire in a loop - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now slide one of your coiled wire crimp bead covers onto one end of your finished beading wire:

Add your handmade coiled crimp bead cover - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Twist open one of your jump rings and string the jump ring through the small exposed tip of your beading wire loop:

Finishing beading strand - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Twist the jump ring shut:

Finishing beading strand - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now add a coiled crimp bead cover and jump ring to the other end of your beading wire.

Your finished beaded centerpiece for your necklace should now look like this:

Finished beaded centerpiece for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

It’s time to tie the leather cords to the jump ring ends of your beaded centerpiece.

Note: If your leather cord is stiff, or it wants to keep coiling up, see my quick trick to Straighten and Relax Leather Cord.

For each knot, we’re going to make 2 half-hitches (don’t worry – it’s easy).

We’ll start by making the first half-hitch to tie one cord to one of your beading wire jump rings.

The instructions for each step are below this photo:

Tying half-hitch knot for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Photo 1:
    String one end of your leather cord through the jump ring at the end of your beading wire.
  • Photo 2:
    Bring the tail of your cord around and lay it across the main part of the cord.
  • Photo 3:
    Thread the tail of your cord UNDER the main part of the cord, and OVER the bottom cord.
  • Photo 4:
    Pull the tail of your cord to tighten up your first half hitch.

Now we’ll make the second half-hitch knot, right beside the first one.

The instructions for each step are below this photo:

Tying half-hitch knot for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Photo 1:
    Here’s where we left off, after making our first half-hitch.
  • Photo 2:
    Bring the tail of your cord around and lay it across the main part of the cord.
  • Photo 3:
    Thread the tail of your cord UNDER the main part of the cord, and OVER the bottom cord.
  • Photo 4:
    Pull the tail of your cord to straighten and tighten up your second half hitch.

Now we’ll pull the tail of the cord really tight, to make both of our half hitches nice and strong.

TIP: Grab the tail of your cord with flat nose pliers so you can pull it hard and make your knot very tight.

Then trim off most of the excess cord tail (leaving a very small tail):

Leather cord tied to beaded centerpiece - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now pick up your second piece of leather cord and move to the other end of your beading wire.

Attach one end of this cord to the jump ring on the end of your beading wire, using the same knot as before (2 half-hitches):

Leather cord tied to beaded centerpiece - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now each jump ring at the ends of your beaded centerpiece should have a leather cord end knotted to it, like this:

Leather cord knotted to beaded centerpiece - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

It’s time to add the clasp to your necklace.

Use the 2 half-hitches knot to attach the hook clasp to one of your unfinished cord ends:

Leather cord tied to hook clasp - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Now move to the other unfinished cord end, and attach it to the jump ring that serves as the other end of your clasp.

Again, use the 2 half-hitches knot:

Leather cord tied to clasp ring - Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

When finished, your fastened clasp should look something like this:

Clasp for Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

And your finished necklace should look like this:

Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Rustic Leather Cord and Bead Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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Comments

  1. love it, great unisex piece, gonna go do it now. One thing: you made no mention of how long the beading wire should be.

  2. What an awesome tutorial,, Rena! I can visualize all sorts of variations using different beads, maybe a chain or a ribbon, another pendant. So many possibilities! I’m sharing it all over the place.

  3. Love it Rena! We share the love of these Czech beads, though I struggle with the cost of them, a I live where jewelry makers are a dime a dozen, making it hard to even get the cost incurred back…I can always make it and wear it myself 🙂

  4. My son would love this, can’t wait to make one!

  5. I haven’t a clue of how what size/kind of beading wire to use for these. Looks like it needs to be very strong. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial, Rena. I have some tiger tail but I’ll have to find some leather cord. I love the finished necklace.

  6. I love the mixed components of this piece. It is really great and very unique. I think my glass pendants would really look great on this.

  7. Thanks for the great tutorial Rena. I’m always uncomfortable about using beading wire as I never feel that it’s secure enough, so it’s great to see your solution to this using the 2 crimps and wire coil to cover over them. I must try that myself, I often use gizmo coils anyway, but this would make me feel far happier about using beading wires. I normally use eye pins and wire each bead section separately as I know it’s strong, but sometimes I’d like more delicate necklaces to “flow” better than these tend to.

  8. Wow, this is such a wonderful step-by-step tutorial. I’m always hounding my sister for help when I try to make jewelry, but I think I could do it myself with your directions. 🙂

  9. I absolutely love this necklace. You make it sound so easy. I’ve always wanted to learn to make my own jewelry. The instructions are so detailed. I think I might give it a try.

  10. Great tutorial and a cool necklace. I shared it on my Pinterest board DIY jewlry.

  11. I love the colors of the glass beads. So rustic and classic at the same time. This turned out beautiful!

  12. I love this look and especially love that my boys would wear it, too–thanks for sharing with us.

  13. Hello cute lady! This looks so amazing. Beautiful. Pinned and tweeted.

  14. Hi there, I absolutely love this necklace. I really need to whip out my jewelry making kit and teach myself how to make magic. I purchased the kit over a year ago and only made one bracelet. From there, I stopped and let’s just say the kit is collecting dust. 🙁

  15. What kind of beading wire do you use? I usually have Artistic wire in varying gauges on hand, but yours looks different–almost supple. Thank you so much for this great tutorial! I LOVE this necklace and can’t wait to try it!

  16. Thanks Rachel! I’m using Accuflex beading wire; another similar product is Softflex (both are available from online jewelry suppliers – you’ll find them with a quick online search). Both are very flexible and supple.

    I haven’t tried this project with Artistic wire for the beaded strand – but it could probably work out nicely, if you form the wire into a V-shape or a curve. With Artistic wire, you also wouldn’t need the crimp beads or coiled crimp covers – you could just make a loop at each end of the wire for connecting to the leather.

    Let me know how your necklace turns out – you can share it here!

  17. Steve Lee says:

    Hey Rena, I just came across your tutorial recently. I really like what you did with the catlinite pendant you got from me. I enjoy making the pendants but have rarely been inspired to combine them with other decorative elements as you have.

  18. Hi Steve! It’s nice to hear from you – and thanks for your lovely comment. It was a joy to design a necklace around your pendant!

  19. Vanessa Borrel philip says:

    Lovely the necklace is well made and ready to wear.

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