Changeable Charm Necklace (Tutorial)

by Rena Klingenberg.

Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

In this project we’ll attach lobster clasps to a collection of orphan beads to make one necklace with infinite color options.

Changeable Charm Necklace (Tutorial)

Changeable Charm Necklace (Tutorial)

You can attach several bead charms to your necklace chain one day – and perhaps just a single charm the next day.

Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Changeable Charm Necklace – tutorial by Rena Klingenberg.

This would be a fantastic gift if you included a dozen or so of the bead charms in a variety of colors, so the recipient could have fun customizing the necklace for different outfits.

(Teens especially enjoy that kind of creative versatility!)

Supplies:

  • Beads to turn into charms to hang on the necklace.
    You can use any size of beads, as long as they aren’t too heavy to be comfortable.
    In this project I used 3 flat glass beads that are all approximately 15 to 20mm (0.6″ to 0.75″) size:

    Beads for Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Small lobster clasps – one for each bead, plus one clasp to use as the closure on your necklace chain:

    Lobster clasps for Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Headpins that will fit nicely through your beads, and are long enough to make a wrapped loop above the bead.
    I used 20-gauge, 2″ (25mm) long headpins:

    2-inch headpins for Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Necklace chain – I recommend using a fairly substantial chain so it can support your bead charms nicely.
    Also the chain’s links need to be large enough to accommodate your lobster clasps when you hang your bead charms on the chain.
    You could use a long chain that would give you the option to either double it around your neck as a choker, or wear it single as a long necklace.
    I used a choker-length chain that’s 15″ (38cm) long:

    Chain for Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

  • Wire cutter.
  • Round nose pliers.
  • Flat nose pliers.
  • Chain nose pliers.

    How to Make a
    Changeable Charm Necklace:

    We’ll start by making the bead charms.

    Pick up one of your beads, and run one of your headpins through it:

    Bead on a headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Now we’ll make a wrapped wire loop at the top of the bead.

    (If you’re new to making wrapped loops, see my easy 3-minute video How to Make a Wrapped Wire Loop.)

    To start the wrapped loop, use the tips of your chain nose pliers to bend the headpin at about a 90-degree angle:

    Make a wrapped wire loop on a headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Now use the tips of your pliers to hold the headpin on the 90-degree bend you just made.

    Wrap the wire tail of the headpin around one jaw of the pilers, forming a loop:

    Making the loop for a wrapped wire loop on headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Now your bead charm should look like this:

    Making wrapped wire loop on a headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Holding the loop in the jaws of your flat nose pliers, use your chain nose pliers to wrap the wire around the headpin stem:

    Making wrapped wire loop on a headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Keep wrapping until your wire-wraps touch the top of the bead (about 2 or 3 wraps total):

    Make wrapped wire loop on a headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Now use your wire cutter to clip off the end of your wire, with the flat side of the cutting blades against your wire wraps.

    Clip off the wire as closely as possible to the wraps:

    Trim wire end on wrapped loop - Rena Klingenberg

    Use your chain nose pliers to neatly squeeze down the cut wire end, so there’s no wire sticking out:

    Finishing the wrapped wire loop on a headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Now your bead charm should look something like this:

    Bead with wrapped loop headpin - Rena Klingenberg

    Turn the rest of your beads into bead charms, the same way we created the first one:

    Beads with wrapped wire loop headpins - Rena Klingenberg

    Now it’s time to attach the lobster clasps to your bead charms.

    Twist open the jump rings on the clasps:

    Twist open the jump rings on the lobster clasps - Rena Klingenberg

    Then thread the jump rings through the bead charm loops you made, and twist the jump rings closed again.

    Now your finished bead charms should look like this:

    Finished bead charms for Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

    Now it’s time to attach the remaining lobster clasp to one end of your chain.

    Twist open the clasp’s jump ring:

    Open the lobster clasp's jump ring (Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg)

    Then thread the jump ring through the last link on one end of your chain, and twist the jump ring closed again:

    Lobster clasp on chain necklace for Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

    (You don’t need an official clasp end at the other end of your chain, since your lobster clasp can easily hook into the last link.)

    Now for the fun part – decide which bead charms to hang on your chain, and where you’re going to hang them!

    Hang bead charms on the chain (Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg)

    It would be fun to add new bead charms to this collection whenever you wind up with a great orphan bead that needs a home!

    Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

    Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

    Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

    Changeable Charm Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

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  • Luz Urena says:

    Hi Rena:
    Great Idea, Love it!!
    Thanks and have a great holiday!!!

  • Pam says:

    Once more, Rena, you have come up with another SUPER idea! Such a simple concept, like some of your others, yet nobody else has come up with it! You share the BEST stuff here! I would love to offer the necklace separately and people could pick their “charms”. Also, what a GREAT way to use those oddball leftover beads! Adding this to my to-try list! Thank you so much and have a wonderful Christmas! (Safe presumption, I think, but if not, happy “whatever holiday you celebrate”!

  • Thank you, ladies – and happy holidays to you as well! (And you’re right, I do Christmas! 🙂 )

    Pam, I so appreciate your kind words – thank you! Great idea to offer the charms separately so the purchaser can create a custom collection of bead charms. I can even see people coming back to you on a later occasion to purchase a few new charms for their necklace.

  • Wylene says:

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to whip these up for last minute Christmas gifts! You are brilliant Rena!

  • Nicole Green says:

    Those are beautiful stones. Where do you get your materials?

  • Thank you, Wylene! 🙂 I’m sure your gift recipients will be delighted with what you create for them.

    Thanks, Nicole! The beads I used here are all glass, and I purchased them from various Etsy sellers over the years. I often shop for beads on Etsy because there’s a huge variety there, and you can get usually small quantities with very reasonable shipping.

  • coraNation says:

    Rena~ your newsletters are always a high point in my sometimes sketchy online experience. I usually scroll through the topics, choosing the most delectable. But this month’s is so full of sweets I’ll be checking out the topics in order. I love the interchangeable necklace. The themes/gifts can be endless. This forum is like no other and I appreciate it. Thank you for being such a giving person. You have made my 2013 brighter and I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. Cora

  • Julie says:

    I love this idea, almost endless possibilities! Your step by step photos are so beautifully clear too, you actually make my think I might be able to have a go!

  • Crystelle says:

    Wow! You wrap your coils so pretty and even…, You rock!!
    Thanks so much for sharing.… 🙂 I love the interchangeable idea!!!
    hugs x, Crystelle

  • Virginia says:

    Your necklace is beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial.

  • Linda says:

    What a fun idea and I bet teens would really enjoy this for sure!

  • Beautiful!! You are so creative! All of these colors are so pretty alone or together. Thanks for sharing.

  • Julia says:

    Beautiful charms! I’d love to try this!

  • Cynthia says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Those charms are so pretty.

  • Emily says:

    Wow, SO pretty! those charms are really beautiful, I love the colors and the fact that you can change it up so easy!!! Thanks for sharing… I love all your projects ;o)

  • What a great tutorial! Your photos make all the steps SO clear!

  • Steph says:

    This is such an easy Tutorial! Thanks.

  • Nici says:

    This is so clever! I love that you can change out the charms. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!
    Blessings,
    Nici

  • RobyGiup says:

    Very clever idea! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Kat Ryan says:

    Such a cute idea!! I love the idea of being able to change out the charms, instead of buying lots of necklaces. Thanks so much.

  • Kristina says:

    That would be great for hanging my stitch markers on! Thanks for a beautiful and elegant project.

  • Ursula says:

    This is an excellent tutorial! I love the photography and super easy instructions! I’m a super newbie jewelry crafter and is addicting!
    Cheers,
    Ursula

  • My youngest daughter has been wanting to get into jewelry making. This looks like this might be a great tutorial for her to begin with – or at least for mom, who has no skill, to help her with 😉

  • Cathy says:

    I like that you can change out the jewels you use. You can really personalize this with your outfit. Another great tutorial, details is great!

  • Linda B says:

    I really like this idea; it’s so versatile for both the designer and the wearer.

    Thanks.

  • jean jesen says:

    I love this idea. Nice for travelling, I can take one chain with a variety of beads. I can also see me making them for Christmas and birthday presents. Thanks

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