Day 11: Chunky Pearls – a diy pearl necklace

Oh, I’m in love with this one.  I adore this string of pearls.  I want to make one of these for myself with a cream ribbon and the champagne pearls and make it double long so I can wrap it twice around my head.

I found only one small problem.  When I went to recreate the necklace for the tutorial, I could not get the needle and ribbon through the new set of pearls I had purchased.  Ack!  When I made it the first time, I did have to use pliers to pull the bulk of the needle and ribbon through the hole. Maybe the hole was smaller in the set of pearls I had purchased, or maybe the I didn’t try the exact perfect needle (I tried many!) but work as I might, I couldn’t recreate the necklace! I was thinking about redoing it with a 1/8″ ribbon but I didn’t think it would have the same effect.

BUT, it turned out to be a good thing – sometimes these hurdles do that for you.  I love the other necklace I made. Same technique–much more girly! I found these plastic iridescent crystal beads at Joann’s. They were less expensive than the pearls by a good bit.  I actually think Allie will find the purple and crystal one even more fabulous.

So warning, if you buy the pearls, make sure you check the hole size.  If you have some amazing technique to get the ribbon through, let me know.  I was thinking about wetting it down to see if that would help, but I’ll leave that for another day.  For now, I’m going to enjoy another beautiful necklace.

36″ of 1/4″ ribbon
Pearls or Beads (16mm)
Time: 10 minutes
Cut approximately 36″ of ribbon, or however long you want the necklace. Tie an overhand knot approximately 9″ into the ribbon.
String on a bead.
Tie another knot.

The trick with getting the knots tight to the beads is to hold the ribbon coming out of the bead taut out of the hole.  Then wiggle the rest of the ribbon around it, keeping the ribbon taut.

One bead done – can you tell how fast this is going to be?

Now, tie a knot two inches later in the ribbon.

Then, string on the next bead and tie a knot on the other side and keep going until you have approximately 9″ left in your ribbon.


Yep!  I think this will be one of her favorites.  Tomorrow will be a very bling-y, yet sophisticated, simple bracelet.  No rhinestones, but a jewel nonetheless.  You’ll want to see it!

  1. Julie

    Fabulous! I have an unstrung set of freshwater pearls that this would be perfect for. Can you either use a strong glue to stiffen the ends of the ribbon and maybe cut on a sharp angle? Or scotch tape in a tight roll at the end of the ribbon?

  2. If you cut the ribbon at a sharp angle (as long as the bead is wide) and then run a flame over it and either immediately pinch it (I have thick callouses on my fingers from all the crafting I do) or grab the length that is melted in pliers you can usually get it thru the bead. You just have to make sure you leave yourself a bit of excess to cut this part off before finishing it.

  3. anne

    Thanks for the ideas ladies! The hole is pretty small so I don’t think I could get it through all by itself, even if it was super stiff. I’ll try the sharp angle, burning the end to see. I’ll let you know, if it works.

  4. Anonymous

    I am so loving all these ideas and tutorials,they are making for great gifts.
    Thank You

  5. anne

    Yay – you are all making me so happy with your thankful comments. Thank you!

  6. ali

    i just found your blog. love your backstory: achieving was most highly valued in my house too.

    as far as getting your ribbon thru – power tools!! dremel or a drill should do the trick.

  7. I love this tutorial. I’m a little intimidated by jewelry projects but this looks easy enough for me to try. Your steps are really easy to understand.

  8. Samantha

    Try silk ribbon meant for silk ribbon embroidery. Also try the needle for the silk ribbon embroidery. There is a way of putting the ribbon on the needle that cuts way down on bulk and the ribbon isn’t bulky at all. It looks more like that first necklace you showed and I bet it would work for you. I love the necklace and need to give one a try!

  9. Kimmy

    A while back, when I was making something that I can’t remember now, I had a hard time threading things through beads, so I put a dot or two of super glue on the end of the ribbon and then sort of twisted it into a tight, small, pointy end and let it dry.

  10. anne

    Thanks for all your fabulous ideas! I’m definitely going to try a couple when I finally get a chance to breathe (can you say January?) I knew I’d get some good answers from you guys!

  11. Sarah

    My 11yo daughter just had her tonsils out, and needs to be home all next week. I think this would be a great project for her!! Thanks!

    • anne

      Sarah, so glad this looks like fun for her. Let me know how it goes!

  12. Use eez thru floss threaders. They work well for me!

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