Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tutorial: Silk and Fabric Necklace

by Staci Louise Smith

I have always loved fabrics and its a shame I don't sew much.  Imagine how excited I was to try adding them to my jewelry!  I had some reservations, as I know some of you may as well, and I covered some of them here.

I almost exclusively use them as the back part of a necklace.  I really tend to "go big" on the front portion of my necklaces, so I don't usually bead all the way around.  I found that fabric can keep that interest of color and texture in the design without competing with the main focal.  Also, its nice to have something light to balance the visually heavy front.  Anyhow, its simple to use silks and fabrics in your pieces, and you don't even need fancy or specialized connectors (though some do like them, so I will link to them at the end).

All you will need is your necklace focal portion
(mine used one of my uber chunky boho carved focals, Suburban Girl Studio's rustic yellow drop bead, amber, agate, picasso jasper)

Starry Road Studio batik strips and Marsha Neal Studio 3mm silk
(you can use sari silk or many different kinds of silks, but this is what I used)

round nose pliers

chain nose pliers

flush cutters

clasp (I prefer an "s" clasp)


I had fun first laying out the different colors with my beads and figuring out which I liked best.  I really liked the blue added into the purples and yellows, but it just didn't work out when wire wrapping it up, so I switched to a more monochromatic palette.

1.  choose your colors

 2.  Wire together focal

 3.  Take a piece of fabric and a 3mm silk together (like to double them up, especially when I use sari silk, which can be thinner, this just gives a little more color and added support).  Some tips: make sure your fabric has no weak spots by gently pulling on it before using it in your design

 4. Feed both through the wrapped loop on one side and fold over

 5.  Hold them tight together

6.  take a piece of 18g wire, about 3", and hold one end with a tail sticking up, tight against the fabric

7.  begin wrapping the wire around the fabric, pushing it tightly into a coil.  this takes some practice, you need to keep tension on your piece as you wrap, holding each end of the of piece in your hands while still using your fingers

8.  when it is done, make sure you tightly crimp the top and bottom around and into the fabric.  the fact that this is tight is what holds it together

9.  You can trim the little tails off

10. now you have one side halfway done

11.  Time to add the clasp

12.  feed the fabrics through your clasp

13.  Repeat step 7 above

14.  Do the same thing on the other side.  I also added a little seed bead detail to one side, just for some more texture and fun

15. You are done!  

Now, just a word about using silk.  I sometimes like to use it only on one side of the design- as I know others do as well.  Keep in mind, your design MUST be balanced, not just visually, but by weight, or it will slide around on your neck.  I always wear my designs for a day to see how they hang, and make sure the weight is correct!  There is nothing more disappointing to a customer then buying a piece that is made to hang one way and it never does.

I leave you with some other artists who use fibers similar to the way to do, and I just LOVE their work! 


Kristin Oppold said...

So nice of you to share your little tips and tricks. Love the colors.....yummy. I read all your blogs, don't always comment but am a big fan!!!!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I struggle with finding new ways to wire wrap the ends of silk and this has inspired me!

The Beadwench said...

This has been mist helpful Staci, thank you so much for sharing!!!

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