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DIY Craft: How to Make a Quick & Easy Beaded Ribbon Necklace

A lover of handmade jewelry, Donna has been crafting (and wearing) unique pieces of statement jewelry since she can remember.

Beaded ribbon necklace, purl3agony (2013)

Beaded ribbon necklace, purl3agony (2013)

Ribbon necklaces are a popular fashion trend and this beaded version is beautiful, easy to personalize, and quick to assemble. With the beads strung on a length of ribbon, this necklace has a romantic, yet relaxed look. This project is a fun way to update old necklaces to give them new life and a new look!

Because there are no tools involved, this beaded ribbon necklace is a great jewelry project for older children and teens. And this necklace is easy to make with materials that are readily available at your local craft store!

You can recycle beads from old jewelry into a new necklace - (purl3agony 2013)

You can recycle beads from old jewelry into a new necklace - (purl3agony 2013)

Beads, Beads, Beads

There are lots of places to get beads. For instance, you can use beads from your old unworn jewelry. I had previously strung most of these beads on regular beading thread, but rarely wore the necklace. I didn't really like how some of the beads looked together and it didn't sit straight on my neck. By recycling these beads into a new necklace on ribbon, I created a new piece of jewelry with a funkier yet more polished look.

Finding and Recycling Beads

You can find a large variety of beads at most discount stores and craft shops. The widest selection is usually found at specialized bead stores or on websites, but they can be expensive.

Another great source for beads is buying vintage jewelry items at thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, or online, then taking them apart to use the various pieces. You can find some really unique beads by recycling old necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other jewelry.

My Materials

  • A bunch of coordinating beads. How many really depends on how you want to build your necklace. However, because your beads are being strung on ribbon, you need to choose beads with large center holes for this project. You can also add a center pendant if you want to your necklace design.
  • Four feet (48 inches) of ribbon (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide). I know this seems like a lot, but I only used 36 inches of ribbon and wished that I had more. The ends of the ribbon will get frayed as you slide your beads along, so you will need to trim them as you assemble your necklace. You will also use up some length when knotting the ribbon.
  • Scotch tape (optional) to wrap around the ends of your ribbon.

Getting Started

  • I always lay out my beads first in a circular arrangement as I want to string them. I start with the center bead and work out, building both sides at the same time. The rest is really a matter of personal taste.
  • I like symmetry in my design, so I place beads of the same size on each side, but the beads don't necessarily need to match. I like a balanced design, but with some electric flair to the beads. Another hint: this may seem obvious, but I put the beads I really love in front, where they will be seen (instead of further up the necklace where they might be hidden by hair or a collar).
  • You should plan out your beads to suit your personal taste. If you are unsure about your design, let it sit out for a few days and look at it every once in a while. See if you still like the arrangement. If you like it, go ahead with your necklace. If not, change the order of your beads or make substitutions.
Placing the beads, purl3agony (2013)

Placing the beads, purl3agony (2013)

Assembling Your Necklace

  • To make it easier to get your beads on your ribbon, you may want to wrap the ends of the ribbon tightly with Scotch tape, like the ends of shoelaces. I actually found it easier just to twist the ends of the ribbon, but I had to re-twist them every time I put a bead on.
  • Then I folded my ribbon in half, making a crease at the halfway mark. I slid my center bead or pendant down to this center crease as my starting point. I then added more beads, working both sides to make sure my design looked balanced. I continued to trim the ends of my ribbon as it became frayed. Keeping the ends cut clean made it easier to get the beads on my ribbon.
  • I couldn't use smaller spacer beads because their center holes were too small. So instead, I just tied a knot in my ribbon to create a spacer. These knots also kept my beads from sliding if I wanted them to stay in place. I like the way the knots become like additional beads and add interesting texture to my necklace.

Finishing Your Necklace

  • Once you have added all your beads to your necklace, smooth out any creases that have developed in the length of your ribbon and freshly trim the ends. Then tie off your necklace with a generous bow (I wanted my bow to be bigger, but didn't have enough ribbon).
  • Depending on the weight of your beads, you may find your knot will slide and come undone. I suggest that you tie your necklace so that it is long enough to slip on and off over your head without undoing your knot. Then when you've got your knot just as you want it, take a needle and thread and sew a few stitches in the center of your knot to secure it. This should keep your bow from coming undone.
beaded ribbon necklace  (c) purl3agony 2013

beaded ribbon necklace (c) purl3agony 2013

This ribbon necklace has a fresh feeling that's perfect for the spring season. I hope you enjoy making your own!

Looking For More Jewelry Projects?

Check out my other tutorials:

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© 2013 Donna Herron


Donna Herron (author) from USA on August 17, 2015:

Thanks so much, Kristen! I appreciate your comments and support!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 17, 2015:

Donna, beautiful beaded ribbon necklace. I would love to wear one myself! Voted up!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on September 12, 2013:

Great!! Honestly, I think you can throw together almost any beads and it would look great - just be sure to balance the placement of them around the necklace and choose a ribbon that ties it all together (no pun intended). I'm sure your finished necklace will be beautiful. Thanks, as always, for commenting!

Heather from Arizona on September 12, 2013:

This is gorgeous. My favorite necklaces are the kinds with mismatched and funky beads of different sizes although I never tried making my own. The beads you chose are so pretty. I'm going to try one of these when I find some beads I love. Pinning for that time. I'll let you know how it comes out :)

Donna Herron (author) from USA on April 18, 2013:

Hi openentry - I hope your friends find this tutorial helpful. Thanks for passing it along and for your comments!!

openentry on April 18, 2013:

Cool, this is great to share the skill and method. many of our friends are also making glass beads bracelet i will direct them to this article.

Donna Herron (author) from USA on April 18, 2013:

Hi thirdworldcraft - Thank you so much for your kind comments and vote up! I appreciate it :)

Anupama Maharjan from Nepal on April 18, 2013:

Wow creative idea...Ribbon and beads together is very elegant and classy. Different colors of ribbons can be used. voted up :-)

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 25, 2013:

Hi kidscrafts - Thanks, as always, for your kind comments and support :)

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on January 25, 2013:

I really like the necklace with the ribbon. Very pretty! I like also the randomness in the pearls (I wouldn't dare do that myself) but they all fit so well together!

Voted up and beautiful!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 25, 2013:

Thanks so much!! I'm glad you like it :)

FullOfLoveSites from United States on January 24, 2013:

I love everything fashionable, and these ribbon necklaces are cute and elegant at the same time, perfect for all occasions. I think this is quite easy, might wanna do it. Voted up, useful. :)