Modern vintage jewellery

I love my jewellery. I always wear a nice watch, and two bracelets; my silver Trollbeads charm bracelet and a tri-tone gold link bracelet my dad had made for my 21st. But every outfit needs accessories, so on top of these regulars I choose a ring, earrings and a necklace – the only thing I’ll drop is the necklace if I’m wearing a bowtie blouse or something else with a busy neckline. So, I have a lot of jewellery…. two trees, hanging hearts and wheel for earrings, and a tin for rings (see below!).

It’s all sort of co-ordinated into colours, especially the earrings, so I can easily see what I have to work with for whatever outfit I’ve put on.

Nowadays the majority of it is bought, new or vintage (I love a good treasure market stall!) but I still love making my own when I have the chance. Recently I’ve got into découpage, so my latest project has been a découpage bead necklace.

To do it, you need

– unvarnished wooden beads; I used these from Hobbycraft which are a nice size for a necklace

– chain or thong and findings of your choice; I used thin leather thong and lobster claw clasp, which is secure and a chain doesn’t suit these beads too well

– thin paper – not as thin as tissue but still so you can easily mould it round the bead, and again your choice of colours/patterns. I used Decopatch Pink & Gold lace and Black & White lace paper, which is specifically designed for découpage.

– cocktail sticks and something to stick them in.

– a glue – I used Decopatch Glossy Glue, which does the glueing and varnishing in one fell swoop!

Both the paper and the glue goes miles – I did 28 beads for this project and still have loads of both left over for the next thing.

Step 1 – Decide on your pattern – I chose to do half the beads in pink and half in black, but you might want more in one colour and use the other as an accent in the pattern on the necklace.

Step 2 – Cut small pieces of the paper – I found that squares, fat rectangles and thin rectangles worked well.

Step 3 – Stick a cocktail stick through a bead, paste some glue over the top half of it, then take one of the larger pieces of paper you’ve cut out and push the cocktail stick through the middle, so that you can bring the bead up underneath. This easily shapes the paper over the curve of the bead and also retains the hole through the centre. Paste some more glue over the top of the paper, so it is well covered and worked down onto the bead. Don’t worry too much about creases, it gives the bead texture and depth.

Step 4 – Continue working round the bead, adding glue, paper and more glue until you have got halfway down the bead. Turn the cocktail stick so you’re holding the bead the other way up.

Step 5 – Repeat the process in step 3, to cover the other end of the bead with a larger piece of paper. Fill in any gaps left on the bead with more scraps.

Step 6 – Stick the cocktail stick into whatever it is you’ve found to hold it – this lets the glue/varnish on the bead dry without it sticking to any surface. Meanwhile, move on to the next bead!

When you’ve finished all the beads, leave them to harden off for 24 hours then string them onto your chosen chain/findings. If you’re using a leather thong, dab a dot of glue over the knot on the finding to hold it solid, as they have a nasty habit of working loose over time.

Before you tie off the second end of the findings, try the necklace on to make sure you get the length where you want it.

Hey presto! A unique piece you can guarantee no one else will have.


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