Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DIY Bead Necklace

As I searched for a suitable necklace for my April Outfit, I couldn't find anything that was what I wanted, but my mind kept going back to a post from the Martha Stewart craft blog. They highlighted a project of dyeing unfinished, wooden beads and stringing them together to make long necklaces. I love this picture:

I had wanted to try this project and this week seemed the perfect time, so I could add the necklace to my April Outfit. I ran to Joanne's to buy beads, dye, and cord to string the beads. The instructions were easy, and by the end of the day I was wearing my necklace. See full directions on the Martha Stewart site here.

Here are some shots of my process, along with details of what I did. I used the following beads:
14    1/2"
24    9/16"
14    5/8"
22    3/4"

You string them on floral wire first to get the length you want and them dye them on the wire. The beads cost me about $10 total and the Rit dye was $2.50. (A sweet woman offered me an extra coupon for 25% off my purchase, which I was glad for because none of my items were on sale.) The MS website recommends using leather cord, which you can dye to match the beads, but I am cheap and bought a waxed cotton cord. I'm sure that would have dyed well also, but I didn't bother. The total cost was around $13 without coupons or sales. (Love my sweet neice as a model!)

I used Rit dye in Teal and was happy with the color, although the tutorial used mostly teal, with a little taupe or grey mixed in. I can see that would give them a more muted look, but I skipped this too. I used my large, non-stick, dutch oven pot and was worried about ruining it, but it was no problem at all. The beads stay in the dye 5-10 minutes, depending on how dark you want them - just agitate throughout and check them often. Dry the beads on an old towel. They took much longer to dry than I thought, and the color lightened as they dried. It would have gone much faster outside. I was worried about the dye rubbing off on my clothing without some kind of rinse or finish. I wore my necklace the next day with an already stained shirt and didn't have any transfer of color. I've worn my beads several times since and I think they look great!

In the end, I couldn't dump out 8 cups of beautiful blue dye, so I ended up dipping a bunch of paper coffee filters. I've seen a lot of amazing crafts made from these and had previously grabbed some at the grocery store so I dyed a few dozen, let them dry upside down to keep their shape, and stashed them away for the next project.


Rebecca Irvine said...

I love the blue--what a fun project!