Changeable Charm Necklace (Tutorial)
by Rena Klingenberg. © 2003-Present Rena Klingenberg. All Rights Reserved
In this project we’ll attach lobster clasps to a collection of orphan beads to make one necklace with infinite color options.
You can attach several bead charms to your necklace chain one day – and perhaps just a single charm the next day.
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!)
- 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:
- Small lobster clasps – one for each bead, plus one clasp to use as the closure on your necklace chain:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
Now we’ll make a wrapped wire loop at the top of the bead.
To start the wrapped loop, use the tips of your chain nose pliers to bend the headpin at about a 90-degree angle:
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:
Now your bead charm should look like this:
Holding the loop in the jaws of your flat nose pliers, use your chain nose pliers to wrap the wire around the headpin stem:
Keep wrapping until your wire-wraps touch the top of the bead (about 2 or 3 wraps total):
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:
Use your chain nose pliers to neatly squeeze down the cut wire end, so there’s no wire sticking out:
Now your bead charm should look something like this:
Turn the rest of your beads into bead charms, the same way we created the first one:
Now it’s time to attach the lobster clasps to your bead charms.
Twist open the jump rings on the clasps:
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:
Now it’s time to attach the remaining lobster clasp to one end of your chain.
Twist open the clasp’s jump ring:
Then thread the jump ring through the last link on one end of your chain, and twist the jump ring closed again:
(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!
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!