How to Make Costume Jewelry

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How to Make Costume Jewelry. Costume jewelry is any jewelry made with glass beads, plastic, copper or other inexpensive materials. It is often worn to add color to everyday clothing. Even beginners can easily make costume jewelry. You can make your own costume jewelry at home with colored glass or plastic jewels that can be swapped for others to change the finished look.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass, plastic or wooden beads
  • Wire, hemp or nylon for stringing
  • Tongs, long tweezers or pliers for stringing beads
  • Containers for loose beads or other small material
  • Clasps for finishing pieces

Make Your Own Costume Jewelry

Decide on the type of material you want to use to string your beads on. Hemp and other twines create solid, durable jewelry and add a particular look to the items you create. Wire and nylon string are also sturdy but are usually covered by more beads and bangles than twine jewelry.

Select your materials and a pattern or design at a local crafts store or through an online one like Beadage (see Resources below).

Cut a length of wire, hemp or nylon 4 or 5 inches longer than the desired length of your finished piece.

Tie a knot at the place where you wish to add a bead. If using wire, wrap the wire around the bead to keep it in place.

String your beads one at a time along your wire or string. If you have difficulty with twine or string, thread the twine or string through a needle and then push the needle through the bead hole to make stringing easier.

Tie a knot after placing each bead. Make sure each knot is larger than the bead hole to keep the bead from slipping.

Finish your costume piece by adding a clasp, or use a loop at one end and a knot at the other to hold the piece together.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tie knots between each bead to reduce the need for restringing in case of breakage.
  • Handle beads with care, as pinching them too tightly can cause them to break or scratch.
  • Beginners should look for beading or stringing patterns online to copy before attempting their own designs.
  • Always cut your string a few inches longer than you think you'll need to avoid adding more.
  • Vary the size, shape or color of beads for more interesting designs.
  • Do not leave loose beads lying around, as they can be easily lost or ingested by pets and children.
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