Use Leftover Beads to Make a Necklace

I don't know about you, but I hardly ever use all my beads. There's always a few stragglers at the end of a project just lingering on my desk.  If there are two beads, I can use them in a pair of matching earrings. But if there's just one lonely bead, it tends to get tossed in a nearby bowl to be dealt with later. That bowl of random beads becomes what's known in the jewelry-making world as "bead soup". I'm not sure what everyone else does with their bead soup, but here's one way I like to make use of mine.

When my bowl of bead soup starts to overflow, I pour it into a large jar. When I'm feeling particularly uninspired and restless, I sort my beads by color.
I have to admit that this over-full container doesn't just hold the leftovers from my projects, but also beads and buttons from projects that didn't quite work out. Having them sorted by color makes me happy (and feel a little more organized.)

I created a necklace (above) in this manner for myself many years ago. It's worn often and gets compliments all the time. 

Sometimes I feel like creating but don't want to delve into a project that requires a ton of work. Making a Leftovers Necklace tends to settle my mind and idle hands! To begin, pick out a palette of beads and set to work creating a chain with them by simply wire-wrapping them together
When making your leftover necklace: 
* make sure to mix up large and small beads throughout the chain
* if using a wide variety of colors - don't let two colors "touch"
* make it long enough that it can easily slip over your head. 

You don't even have to bother including a clasp if you make sure to add your last link so that it closes the necklace. Without a clasp, it never matters which way the necklace is positioned, and any of the beads in the chain can be the focal point. Though, you could easily include a clasp if that's your preference.

A necklace like this without a pendant is convertible too as it can wrap around your wrist a few times to create a layered bracelet. The necklace/bracelet pictured is about 35 inches long (if you work better knowing the numbers.)

I think one of the most fun parts of creating a Leftover Necklace is coming up with the color combinations.

Fortunately for me, the Sea Gypsy Challenge on the Artisans Create Together Facebook Page was an inspiration mosaic of aqua and lime images. Aqua and lime are two of my favorite colors.
It was easy enough to fish out those shades from my bead soup box and complete a yummy, beachy necklace. 

And, I've just started another with a palette of browns and golds. I guess I'm getting geared up for Fall now.
I've placed all my supplies for this necklace on the metal tray I found from my last Thrift Haul post -  so it's portable. The portability makes it easy to work on these simple designs while watching television with Pat.

That's just one way to use those pesky leftovers. I'd love to know if you've found a great way to use them in designs too.


  1. Lovely and a great way to use leftover beads!

    1. Thanks Ann, I know there are probably a ton more ways to also use those beads, but this method is so much fun for me. (I really love wire wrapping) :D

  2. lovely! I should do this, I have loads of leftover beads. I'd have to make one with a clasp though. I am very busty so can't really do long necklaces

  3. I started a similar necklace long ago and also added pieces of chain between the beads - different lengths of different chains but somehow never finishes it. Now I'm inspired to go back to that project!

    1. Rosantia, Oh, the addition of chain is a fabulous idea. It would help use up some of those odd bits of chain that we always seem to have left behind. The great thing about a project like this is that it's so easy to pick up where you left off too. I can't wait to see how yours ends up.

  4. This turned out lovely! I love using up leftover craft supplies!

    1. Me too! Thanks so much for checking out how I use mine.


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