Quick + Easy Low-Stress, Last-Minute Beaded Jewelry Gifts
I’ve been giving handmade beaded jewelry gifts since I began beading. I enjoy choosing colors and stones that the recipient will adore and I try to make something they’ll like wearing. My biggest hits have been earrings and bracelets. I love it when I’ve given a beaded jewelry gift and the recipient tells me she wears it frequently.
There are so many quick and easy beading projects that make wonderful last-minute gifts. In making a beaded gift, you’ll often learn something new. It’s a great way to experiment with new stitches or a new style of shaped beads. Earrings particularly lend themselves to working out new ideas. Sometimes, you’ll make a discovery that applies well to a bracelet or necklace design.
Sizing for Beaded Jewelry Gifts
The standard size for bracelets is 7.5 inches. This is typically a safe length for bracelets that you make as gifts, although you can adjust up or down by a half an inch if you think it might be necessary. Take note of the bracelet length before you start following a pattern so you can make any adjustments.
Remove the stress from your last-minute beading by selecting the projects you want to make this month. Spend a couple of hours pulling the materials from your stash or ordering what you’re going to need. As you gather the materials, assemble them into a shoebox or onto a beading tray. That way, you can sit right down to beading whenever you’re ready. From earrings to bracelets to simple necklaces, you might be surprised by what you can make in an evening or weekend!
Two In One Earrings
Earrings are such a good gift because they’re one size fits all. If your recipient enjoys wearing dangly earrings, you can bet she’ll love the Two In One Earrings by Agnieszka Watts. Use circular and tubular peyote stitch variations, square stitch, and fringe to create these eye-catching earrings that look pretty facing either direction. You might also try Agnieska’s Berry Burst Earrings that incorporate three different stitches in an expertly festive design.
Peach Fizz Bracelet
This vibrant Peach Fizz Bracelet by Melissa Grakowsky Shippee bracelet is formed by working repeating units of circular peyote stitch, then finished with a handmade beaded clasp. This bracelet is a beautiful introduction to this peyote variation and a gorgeous warm-up for more extensive beading projects. Read 2017 Beadwork Designer of the Year Melissa Grakowsky Shippee to learn how Melissa got started beading, how she uses color in her designs, and the inspiration for her 2017 Designer of the Year projects.
Aspen Leaf Earrings
Use a mix of beads and simple stitches to make these adorable leaf-motif earrings. Aspen Leaf Earrings by Alice Haron are the perfect little project to stitch up in front of a movie on a chilly December night. You can experiment with different color combinations that reflect the seasons or your imagination. If you like this project, you’ll love Alice’s Wrapped in Seeds. It uses round and cylindrical seeds in three stitches to form a colorful wrap bracelet that goes with almost any outfit.
Sea Foam Bracelet
This sweet little Sea Foam Bracelet by Agnieszka Watts features a handmade button clasp. You can make this bracelet in the recipient’s favorite colors or choose colors that have a significance. Red=Love; Orange=Joy; Yellow=Hope; Green=Luck; Blue=Calm; Purple=Creativity. Read 2017 Designer of the Year Agnieska Watts to learn how she got started beading, how she selects colors for her designs, and what advice she has for other beaders.
Sugar Coated Earrings
Laura Graham’s Sugar Coated Earrings use tubular and circular netting to form open bezels around vibrant crystal rivolis. Add structural appeal to surround the bezel with two-hole beads. Read how 2018 Designer of the Year Laura Graham shares her love of shaped beads and how she started beading to make Christmas gifts and lift her own spirits.
Groovy Trax Wrap Bracelet
Kathy Cook’s Groovy Trax Wrap Bracelet uses a two-needle right-angle-weave technique to stitch alternating groovy tiles, bugle beads, and seed beads into a modern chic wrap bracelet. This is always a great style, but it’s especially appropriate when you aren’t sure about the best bracelet length for your recipient. Like this look but ready to level up? Kathy created Diamonds in the Groove woven cuff bracelet using similar beads for a striking last-minute gift.
Lilac Burst Earrings
Debora Hodoyer has a gift with shaped beads, which she puts to full effect with these Lilac Burst Earrings. You’ll use circular netting to form statement earrings with MiniDuos and DiamonDuos, and finish the edges with seed beads. Debora is the featured Bead Artist in Beadwork February/March 2020 and she shares insights into her color combinations in Learn About Color with Bead Weaving Artist Debora Hodoyer.
The Gift of Handmade
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” –Charles Dickens
You’re always going to need last-minute gifts, whether you give them away this holiday season or later in the New Year. Take the opportunity to learn something new or just keep your beading fingers nimble with these quick and easy beaded jewelry gifts. The gift of your time and care is really one of the best gifts of all, because each gift you make reflects your interest and your heart.
Interim Managing Editor of Beadwork