I love using chain in jewelry. One of the things you learn to think about in drawing classes is line weight – where to use thick and thin lines. Chain can be considered in the same way, used as lines of different weight to create different effects. In this case I’m making a draped chain necklace using an antique looking gunmetal chain to highlight some faceted opaque glass beads in warm, muted tones.
– beads – I used 17 pieces of a crystal cut glass that are about 12-14mm, but you could use a lot of different things here
– chain in 2 weights – a thin chain for the draping, a heavier one for the part that wraps around you neck
– jump rings
– craft wire – about 18 gauge is good
– needle nose pliers
– round nose pliers
– wire cutters
– a few sewing pins or pieces of wire
I used gunmetal chains and jump rings, but I couldn’t find a sturdy wire in gunmetal, so I used an antiqued brass. I don’t think the contrast is too obvious.
Make all of your beads into links as shown. If you’re not sure how, use the Bead Links Tutorial.
Arrange your links in the order you want them. I scrambled these then straightened them out a few different times until I liked the semi-random arrangement.
Decide how long you want your loops to be. I went with 5 inches. Cut a piece of chain to that length.
Use your pins to help be sure you cut all the other lengths of chain to the same length. If you’re linking chain the same way I did you’ll need the number of beads you have minus 1. (You could choose to have more beads in each loop of chain, this would change the number of loops you need.)
Arrange everything to double-check your counts.
Hook a piece of chain onto the far left loop of the first bead.
Attach another piece of chain between the two beads at the left end.
It should look like this.
Loop the far left chain up to connect at this point. Also add another piece of chain. Try to be sure the first piece of chain isn’t twisted when you connect things.
Also make sure that all of the chain pieces are attached on the same side so they’ll all hang down. It’s easy to twist up your main bead chain if you’re not being very careful not to.
When everything is together close your jump ring.
Do the same thing with the next link. Be sure to bring the loop of chain in front of the straight pieces every time so your loops hang the same way.
You’ll run out of chain pieces before you run out of beads.
Finish up the farthest left chain at this point.
Finish the last piece of chain on the right side of the farthest right bead.
All linked up it should look like this. Decide how long the necklace should be and add the heavier chain to finish the necklace.
Don’t forget the clasp at the center back.
It’s ready to wear!