Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY Accessories: Easy illusion necklace to make

I think half the reason I like these necklaces is for the name. Illusion necklaces are also called floating necklaces because the beads seem to be magically suspended on the neck. This 'illusion' comes from the fact that you use transparent nylon fishing line to string the beads with. The good news is: they’re supremely easy to make, and they are always exclusive – no two illusion necklaces you make will look the same, because of the random nature of the bead selection.
In this (slightly-demented) tutorial, I will be using photographs from two different necklaces (see below for the black and gold one) to demonstrate steps; go with the flow, people!

You will need:
A measuring tape
A reel of nylon fishing line (from any stationery shop; about Rs 15)
A small selection of beads
10 crimp beads in gold or silver, depending on your colour scheme (from any crafts shop), + 2 in case of loss
4 jump rings (from any crafts shop)
1 toggle clasp set (from any crafts shop)
Beading pliers or any pliers

A note on the beads: Chip beads (like the ones in the bead board above) are best. They’re cheap and light; you cannot work with heavy beads on nylon fishing line – they will just pull down with the weight and destroy the airiness of the 'illusion'. Pick some light silver or gold beads as well; they add a nice touch.

Crimp beads - Fire Mountain Gems
Jump ring - Fire Mountain Gems

Toggle clasp - Fire Mountain Gems

A note on the crimp beads, jump rings and toggle clasp: These are called findings in jewellery making. If you can’t find them anywhere, consider cannibalising the clasp and jump rings from some necklace you don’t like – reserve the beads from that for later use. The crimps are more difficult to substitute; write to me if you can’t get them anywhere.

We will be working on a five-strand necklace, so measure out five strands of nylon line, each 90cm long. Set aside. Good to know: nylon line is stiff enough to not require you to use a needle.
Divide your beads into 5 assorted sets to give you an idea of how many beads you have for each strand.

Take one strand of nylon line and find its middle. Take one distinctive bead and thread it toward the middle. Anchor it by taking the thread through it again.

Now start working one side of the string from the middle; putting in beads at 1cm to 1.5cm intervals, anchoring them by threading them double each time. Then work the other side of the central bead. 
I worked to different patterns; in the green and blue necklace, I worked one line with 1 green, 1 blue, 1 silver; another with 1 silver, 2 greens, 1 silver, 2 blues… you get the idea. You want a variation to be seen when it’s worn against the skin.

Work the five strands. Stop each about 10cm short of both ends.

Line up the five strands in a row so you can see how they will look.
Carefully hold all the ends together on each side and place like a necklace around your neck. You will get an idea of how long you want your illusion necklace.

This is the most fiddly part of your necklace – the finishing.
Here is a useful tutorial on how to use your crimp beads and the toggle clasp.
However, because your five nylon strands will probably not go together through a single crimp bead, crimp each one separately to the toggle clasp set parts.
I made a little loop with each crimp bead, then secured all five strands to one jump ring. I then used another jump ring to secure the five looped strands to the toggle clasp parts.

Your first illusion necklace will probably not be as neat as you would like – especially at the crimp and clasp part – but it will be unique and exclusive to you. The second one will be much easier, guaranteed.

Here is another illusion necklace variation – the cobweb necklace. Same nylon thread, just more variety in how the beads are strung. I’ve used a lot of seed beads in this one, pulled together to make 'flowers'. Again, the final result is eclectic and very different.

Do send me photos of the necklaces you make – I’d love to see them.

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