When Cassie LaGreca stumbled upon an Etsy listing showing a stunning pearl and leather necklace, she gasped a little when she looked at the price. “Check this out,” she says and she shifts the paper sharing not only the gorgeous design, but the $139 price tag. Yes, it was an original. Yes, it featured freshwater pearls. And, even better yet? Yes, she could make it herself.
“It really is a beautiful design,” she says as she thumbs through the ropes and ropes of freshwater pearls at her fingertips. The necklace Cassie spotted featured free flowing pearls on leather strands but Cassie redesigned the piece to make it even easier to do it yourself. Each pearl is knotted into place.
“If you didn’t want to see the knots, which I happen to like since it is a little more rustic, you could put a little silicone glue on the leather cord and slide the bead over it to keep it in place,” Cassie says.
At roughly $15 to make, Cassie suggests stocking up on supplies and giving these little beauties as gifts.
• 15 to 18 Freshwater pearls, drilled with a large hole opening, varying styles. Can be found at local bead or craft stores.
• Leather cord, enough to get 6 to 8 necklace length cuts
• Wire snips
• Needle-nose pliers
• Silicone glue
• 22-gauge wire
• Magnetic cord clasp
1. Start by cutting six to eight pieces of leather cording in varying lengths. “Audition” the cords by holding them around your neck and adjust until you get the right lengths. Before you cut, be sure to add about 1” to 1-1/2” to the lengths. You’ll need this excess to prep the ends for the clasp. Cassie found her cord at the Tandy Leather Factory downtown. The cord comes in all widths and even multiple colors.
2. Hold the ends of the leather together in a tight cluster, wrapping the end three or four times tightly with 22-gauge florist wire. It doesn’t matter which color of wire you use since the wire will be hidden when it is neatly tucked up inside the clasp. After your wire is wrapped tightly, trim the leather down so that it is flush with the wire end.
3. Add a silicone glue like E6000 to the tip of the leather and then shove the leather cluster tightly into the end of your magnetic clasp. The glue will hold the leather in place and the magnet will offer an easy way to get your necklace on and off. To start, you will only add a clasp to your first side.
4. Now it’s time to start stranding your pearls. Make sure you situate them in a way that is appealing to the eye and evenly spaced between strands. Once you have the beads aligned in a way you like, simply knot the leather cording before and after each bead to keep each pearl in place. On the larger cords, this might not be necessary since the pearl fits snuggly over larger width cording. Another tip, don’t let the pearls travel too close to the clasp. Once you place this beauty on your neck, you might not be able to see them. You’ll want to keep the pearls concentrated to the middle 6 to 8” of your necklace.
5. After you have all your beads situated and all your knots tied, you will repeat Step 2 and wrap the end of the leather cord cluster with wire, adding glue and then securing the other end of the magnetic cord clasp.
6. Enjoy for yourself or wrap in a fancy box for someone special. You don’t even have to share that this was a D.I.Y!