Free Beading Project: Storyteller Beaded Necklace

As a writer and a bead artist, I'm always fascinated with the stories behind beaded jewelry designs. This beaded necklace also has a great story behind it!

The first one of these that I made was for a close friend of mine who lives in Burbank. She and I are both artists. Our birthdays are days apart. And we've been friends for almost 20 years now, through college and marriage and children and career changes and cross-country moves! The original was made with a pendant I found in Andrew Thornton's online shop that had a picture of Frida Kahlo sealed under glass. It was heavy on the symbolism – the number of beads in each unit of right-angle weave carried a special significance, as did the colors and the beads that I used for the fringe and the embellishment.

For a recent Beading Daily blog post, I wrote about telling stories with your beadwork, and since I've started making my own resin pendants using symbols that are significant to me, I thought I would share the technique for creating these Storyteller Beaded necklaces so that you can share your own stories through your beadwork!

For this necklace, you'll need the following beads and supplies:

  • 1 hank (40 grams) size 10o seed beads in main color (A)
  • 5 grams size 10o seed beads in contrasting color (B)
  • 1 handmade resin pendant or other focal pendant
  • 116 6-8mm round lampwork beads (C)
  • 12 Tibetan coin replicas
  • 2 silver pewter hamsa hand pendants
  • 15 sterling silver open jump rings, 8mm
  • 1 pewter silver button or clasp of your choice
  • Braided beading thread, 6 lb. test
  • Size 12 beading needle
  • Flat nose or chain nose pliers

Make the right-angle weave base. Using right-angle weave and A, stitch a base composed of 3-bead units that is 3 units across. For an 18" necklace, the first side of your base should be approximately 35 rows of 3 units per row.

The right-angle weave necklace base is made up of three units of 3 beads per side.
Stitch around to the side of the last unit added to begin the "v" shape of the right-angle weave necklace base.

To create the v-shape at the center of the necklace, work your way over to the side of one of the outer units just completed in the last row. Pick up 9 A and stitch a unit of right-angle weave. Continue to work 2 more units across the side edge of the base for a total of 3 units.

Continue to stitch in right-angle weave until you have a second side of equal length. To make sure that the sides contain the same number of rows, count the number of rows on the bottom (outside) edges of the necklace base. Each side should contain 35 rows, including the rows that lead to the center point of the base.

Embellish the base. Add a new thread, and stitch so that your thread exits one side of the bottom outside row of the base. Pick up 1 B, 1 C and 1 B. Stitch through the beads on the opposite side of

Add embellishment to every other unit of right-angle weave in the necklace base.
The center point of the necklace base after it has had bead embellishments added.

the unit going in the other direction. If your needle is exiting the top and going to the left of a unit, stitch through the bottom right. The C should lie diagonally across the unit of right-angle weave.

Add embellishments to every other unit of right-angle weave for each row.

Add the dangles. Attach each of the coins and pendants to jump rings. Start a new thread in the center of the necklace and exit through the middle of the center bottom unit. Pick up 8 A and the resin pendant and stitch into the next 3 A in the base.

Alternate between beaded fringes and dangles as you work your way up each side of the necklace base.

Stitch around the center bottom unit and back through the beads and pendant just added to reinforce. Add a bead fringe between units by exiting from the side of a right-angle weave unit and pick up 1 B, 1 C, 1 B and 1 A. Skip the A and pass back through the remaining beads and pass into the edge of the next right-angle weave unit.

Add a dangle between right-angle weave units by picking up 4 A and a dangle attached to a jump ring. Stitch into the outer edge of the next right-angle weave unit, alternating dangles and bead fringes until you end with a dangle.

Repeat for the other side of the necklace.

Use either a vintage button or a clasp of your choice to finish the Storyteller Beaded necklace.

Add the clasp. Add a new thread and exit through the first bead of the center right-angle weave unit on one end of the necklace. Pick up 4 A, the button or clasp, and 4 A. Skip the middle bead in the right-angle weave unit and pass through the next bead.

Work your thread around that right-angle weave unit several times and through the button or clasp to reinforce. Weave your thread in, tie a knot, and trim the thread close to the beadwork.

Repeat on the other side of the necklace, adding the second half of the clasp or a seed bead loop. That fits around your button. (Remember to check the fit of your seed bead loop before knotting your thread to make sure it fits securely over your button!)

If you stitch up one of these Storyteller Beaded necklaces, make sure you take a photo and post it in the Reader Photo Gallery here on Beading Daily! We'd all love to see your creation!




Bead Happy,






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