This crystal flower necklace is made from teardrop shaped crystals that look very ordinary when hanging on strings or tucked into bags in a craft store, but become sparkling flower statement jewelry when arranged just so. Making each piece a little different adds some subtle asymmetry. This necklace is so much easier to make than you probably think it is!
– crystal beads – the vertically drilled are 12mm long and the horizontally drilled are 25mm long
– glass pearls – 4mm
– metallic 11° seed beads
– glass leaf beads
– beading needles
– beading thread
– 1 1/2 inch wooden circles (mine are labeled “wooden nickels”)
– white cotton fabric (or colored cotton fabric if you’d like to skip the painting step)
– acrylic paint – ultramarine blue and acra/quinacridone violet were my picks
– paint brush
– tin foil or other water proof surface protector
– embroidery hoop – the template fits an 8 inch hoop
– fusible interfacing
– iron and ironing board
– E6000 or similar glue that works on fabric and metal
– Fray Check, seam sealer, or clear fabric glue
– large metal rings/jump rings
– jewelry chain
– jewelry clasp
I used some horizontally drilled and some vertically drilled crystal beads. These are from a pretty mainstream craft store in the US, so it’s likely you’ll be able to find some pretty similar pieces wherever you are.
Start out by painting the fabric. Cut a piece that’s quite a bit larger than your embroidery hoop (my hoop is 8 inches and I cut about a 13 inch square – you’ll need some margin for finishing your pieces.) Lay it out on tin foil or a similarly waterproof surface. I watered my paint down a lot, then brushed on lots of layers of color. Doing it that way gives a lot of opportunity to control your color saturation and allows the pigments to separate a bit, resulting in that inconsistent look I wanted. Use one pigment instead of two for a more consistent look. For more about watercolor looks on fabric consult our classic tutorial.
Trace the template onto the fabric, marking the edges of the outer circle, the centers and making a small mark at the end of each diagonal line. These lines are used to align the beads so make them subtle but still visible for you while you’re working.
Cut out a piece of fusible interfacing large enough for your work area (an 8 inch circle shown here) and fuse it to the back of where your marks are.
Set your fabric into your hoop to work.
Always remember that all of your stitches need to fit inside the area the wooden circle takes up.
My first piece uses 6 vertically drilled teardrop crystals, arranged as shown.
Thread your beading needle with a doubled strand and tie a knot. Stitch up near the center but with enough room that the circle of crystals will be centered around the perfect center, add a crystal and a few seed beads (3 was perfect for my crystals.) You’ll have to make some educated guessing and be prepared to unstitch a bit for perfect alignment.
Stitch straight down from the end of the crystal. The seed beads are there to disguise what would otherwise be a long piece of visible thread. Use the marks at the outer edge of the circle to help you align the crystal.
Repeat this around the circle.
After sewing down those 6 crystals your piece should look like this. Note that you can see the little crossed lines at the center between the beads. Stitch through each of the crystal/seed bead petals again for security. These crystals have some weight, it’s important to give them enough support.
Stitch up through the dead center and add a glass pearl and 1 seed bead.
Stitch back down through the glass pearl to set it in place.
Stitch up inside the center circle, aligned with one of the gaps. Thread on some seed beads – 5 was right for my beads.
Stitch down in the gap between the crystals. Repeat this between all of the crystals except for one.
Add a glass leaf instead of a seed bead in one of the spaces. I chose the space that was just a little bigger than the rest, not that I ever sew things down imperfectly.
As a finishing touch, stitch up through the seed beads at the end of a petal, add 1 more seed bead, then stitch back down.
This helps to hide the exposed thread at the gap between the seed beads and the crystal, and gives the flower a little more strength. Repeat this step for each petal. That’s all there is for this flower – tie off your threads at the back.
This flower uses 12 crystals – mine are actually two different shades of purple and I placed the darker crystals at the bottom. Start this the same as the last flower – sew down 6 crystals in a circle, each with a stack of 3 seed beads at the outer side, then stitch through all of them a second time.
Now add a second layer. Stitch up inside the center circle aligned with a gap in the first ring of crystals. Add a crystal and a stack of seed beads – it took 6 beads for me to reach the fabric, your size may vary. Be careful to make sure this crystal is seated neatly on top of the first row at the center.
Repeat this all the way around, and go through all of them twice as in the first row.
For the center in this flower I used 2 glass pearls and a seed bead, then back through the 2 glass pearls.
Just like the first flower, stitch up through the seed beads, add one more bead, then stitch back down. Make sure you catch the top and bottom row of crystals.
That’s all for this one – tie off your threads.
For this flower I found the alignment was easier if I added a few pins at the center. Align the first crystal as far into it’s triangle as it will fit. You want the drilled holes to line up in a circle for these horizontally drilled crystals.
It’s easiest to add every other crystal, then fill in the gaps.
Stitch through each crystal a second time. I also stitch up between two and ran the thread through all of the holes in a loop twice, this really pulled the alignment together.
Fill the center with randomly stitch seed beads. Stitch up, add a bead, and stitch down so the bead fits perfectly between the stitches.
Add as many beads as you can fit without pushing the crystals around.
For a little extra dimension, add some more that rest on top of the first layer. Stitch up between the first layer beads, add a bead, then stitch between the first layer beads again. Add a few this way to build up the center.
Done. Tie off your threads.
I had originally planned to make five flowers, but I liked these three so much that I stopped here. I used those other two circles on another project that I’ll post soon!
Cut out around the circle, I had room so I left a little margin.
Trace the wooden circle onto some of the scrap. Make one circle for each of the pieces you’ve beaded.
Fray check/seam seal the edges. If you do it before cutting the edges stay more perfect.
Cut the circles out and set them aside.
Thread a needle with a doubled piece of thread. Stitch around the edge of the beaded circle as shown.
Pull the thread up to gather the fabric around the wooden piece.
Take your time tightening and adjusting the thread to make sure the flower is centered and the edges look clean. If you can’t tighten the fabric as much as you’d like re-do the stitching line but use longer stitches this time.
Take a few stitches zig-zagging across the back to help hold it tightly.
Stitch on the rings. Use lots of stitches and make sure the place where the ring opens is buried in the stitched area.
Add the second ring the same way. Setting them above the half-way line helps prevent your necklace from tipping, flipping over and generally becoming mis-adjusted.
I added rings to this piece first because it was the only one where the crystals extended past the edges of the circle.
Mark where the rings should go on the other pieces so that they’ll all have the same look.
Cover the back of one piece with E6000.
Carefully press one of your prepared circles over it, making sure to push the edges of the backing away from the edges of the wooden piece so the backing doesn’t show from the front.
After they’re all backed all that left is to link them. I used a few links of chain between each. My chain was easy to open and close so this worked for me, jump rings would work just as well.
My necklace weighs quite a bit so I used 2 jump rings to attach the clasp. A split ring would have also worked but I didn’t have any in gunmetal or black to match the chain.