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How to Make a Knotted Bead Cluster Necklace

November 25, 2012

I’ve been really lucky to be a guinea pig for Sally’s jewellery-making classes at The Beaderie, and recently she came over to run through her class with me, making a leather style knotted necklace. I learnt some new techniques and absolutely love the finished product! I have actually made three of these since Sally’s lesson, and tought another friend to make them too. I don’t know what to call these necklaces, so am just called then knotted bead cluster necklaces for now. If anyone knows if they have an official name, do let me know!

What you’ll need:

  • ten assorted beads
  • ten headpins or more
  • 6 metres waxed cotton cord in a colour of your choice
  • round nosed pliers and flat nosed pliers
  • 2 folding crimp connector ends (6mm)
  • lobster clasp and jump ring
  • superglue or araldite

Step One:

Cut your cord into ten lengths about 60cm long

Step Two:

Put a headpin through each bead and then use the pliers to make a loop and then wrap the rest of the pin around itself to hold the bead securely in place. You might want to look for a youtube clip demonstrating this as it is hard to explain in words.

Step Three:

Thread one length of cord through the loop you have created  and bring the leather cord through the loop and back up and tie it in a knot to itself.

You should have something that looks like this:

Step Four:

Trip your short length of cord after the knot close to the knot, so you are left with one strand of long cord with your bead tied on to the bottom of it. Dab a tiny bit of superglue or clear nail polish onto the cord end you just cut close to the knot to keep the knot from coming undone.

Repeat this for all ten beads. You should have something like this:

Step Five:

Now arrange your ten strands so all the beads hang nicely, some longer than others. Take your time arranging them, it works to have a smaller bead as the lowest one, then all the other beads arranged like a teardrop above that one. Once you are happy with how they all drop together, tie all ten strands together in a knot. It is up to you how much length you leave between the big knot and your beads.

Step Six:

Now divide the ten strands into two lots of five, and decide how long you want your necklace (I just hold the two lots around my neck to see). Remember your clasp will add about a cm onto the length. Trim all your lengths of cord to the same desired length.

Step Seven:

Use your superglue or araldite to glue each lot of five strands into a folding connector end, and then use your flat nosed pliers to fold the edges down tight over the cord strands. It’s a bit tricky getting all five strands in, but as long as you have a reasonably sized connector end it is possible. Once you have attached a connector end to each side of your necklace, with five cord strands in each, you can attach a jump ring to one side and a lobster clasp to the other and your necklace is done!

I hope this is helpful to someone and inspires, if nothing else. Please do look on youtube for video instructions for the different techniques used if you are unsure.

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