Make Your Own Beaded Jewelry!

Do you want to make your own beaded jewelry? Design a choker with glass or gemstone beads, learning color, texture, and scale.

Designing a beaded choker is not difficult. There are a few simple principles to keep in mind, however, whether you decide to use glass or gemstone beads.

1) Standard choker length is 16". This can be adjusted for a custom fit, but 16" is the length to start with.

2) Color choice is subjective.

Pleasing combinations are: purple/blue/green


any color with white or clear (purple,blue, black, green)


One-color chokers are beautiful, also. When choosing colors, keep in mind what you will wear with your jewelry. For this reason, I make multi-colored chokers that go with everything.

3) Texture is the feel your choker has with the use of various shapes and sizes of beads. Different shapes are round, barrel, rice, star, heart, tube, swirl, chip, oval and chevron. A lot of variety will yield a very textured piece of jewelry. You can achieve a smooth texture with similarly shaped and sized beads.

4) Scale must be considered when making jewelry. The size of your choker must be in proportion to the wearer. If the woman is petite, smaller beads should be used. If the choker is for a big woman, she would look better in larger beads, or several strands of small beads.

To design your choker, lay a white washcloth out on your work table. All colors show up well on white, and the nubbiness of the terrycloth will prevent them from rolling away.

First, pick your colors, sizes and shapes of beads you want to use. Then decide on a focal point. This is a large central bead that will capture the eye. It can be a round bead, a shaped bead, something smooth or carved. Lay it on your washcloth. Now line up some other shapes along side it. Use smaller beads, so the focal point will stand out.

Experiment with texture, color and scale. Since you are only laying this out, you can rearrange it until you are pleased with it. This is a good experimentation stage.

Line up some beads on either side of the focal point. About an inch and a half away from it, repeat the shape of the focal point. Or use something of the same size and color. Good design comes in threes, so you will have three beads for the main design, and the rest of the choker will act as a background to show them off.

Keep adding beads until you have reached the desired length. Always put larger beads more toward the center, and taper their size down towards the ends, where the clasp will be.

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