Free Project: Chain Maille Necklace

Beading Dangerously

The Beadwork challenge kit for the April/May issue didn't look dangerous. Provided by Bead It!, the kit contained garnets, seed beads, metal rounds, pearls, rondelles, fire-polished rounds, and a clasp. Not a subtle, dainty clasp either–this silver and garnet box clasp was a "Me! Me! Look at me!" type of closure. Doesn't sound dangerous, does it? The problem was that I was in the middle of another beading project when it arrived. I set the box clasp from the kit next to some chain maille earrings I was creating as a gift for a friend. Good-bye earrings, hello necklace!

The Initial Sketch

Anybody else out there sketch out his or her jewelry designs? (Please share–I feel like I'm the only one!) As you can see, I don't strive to make a beautiful drawing, just something that is clear enough so that I have a record of my idea. My drawings can sometimes be messy, so I often label pieces, like I did with this one, just so I remember what all those little scribbles are. This sketch is close to actual size–I often have a single notebook page filled with variations on a theme.

The Final Design

I ultimately decided to use the bold clasp as the focal point. As you can see from the sketch, I originally thought I'd have fewer chain maille components (the original earrings I was making) and that I'd use chain for the back of the necklace. The front of the necklace turned out a little differently too–this original one looks a little bit more like a bolo tie! Part of the change came about because I decided to give myself an additional challenge (apparently one challenge wasn't enough!)–I wanted to use at least one bead of every type in the kit in my project, which meant adding some strung pieces in place of the chain I originally envisioned.

Free Project: Rambling Rose Necklace

A Reader's Challenge

Beading Daily reader Melodie Lente used the same kit of beads as I did to create a bracelet that brought back wonderful memories of her mother. (See a photo of her bracelet in the April/May 2008 issue of Beadwork.) This was the first time in Beadwork history that a reader participated in the challenge! Melodie's name was chosen randomly from the more than 400 entries.

Melodie learned to bead while on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in southern Colorado when she was 10 years old. Bead embroidery was her first (and still favorite) technique, though she has taught herself many others. Melodie finds beading "a time to let the cares of the day slilp away and return to that calm, centered place."

At left is a bead embroidered mask by Melodie Lente.

It's Your Turn

Now it's your turn! Beadwork magazine will select one lucky reader to work on the next challenge project. If your name is chosen at random, you will be mailed one of the upcoming kits and have about three weeks to complete your project. Due to heavy international shipping costs, this challenge is limited to residents of the United States and Canada. Sign up by May 12th!


Michelle Mach shares free beading projects and tips every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have questions or comments for Michelle (including suggestions for future free projects), please post them here on the website. Thanks!


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