DIY: Hippie Love Beads

DIY: Hippie Love Beads Tutorial from Adventures In Making #jewelry #necklace #janisjoplin

Over the years I’ve learned to embrace my hippie urges at times and this DIY is definitely true to my free spirited heart. A traditional hippie accessory, Love Beads are long, handmade strings of beads worn by both guys and girls in the 1960’s. The trend is thought to have evolved from the generation’s fascination to non-Western cultures such as India and Native America. I love spotting love beads when flipping through old photos and magazines from that era. Janis Joplin is probably the most famous ‘hippie’ to wear love beads and I don’t think anyone wore them quite as well as she did.

WHAT YOU NEED:

• Beading Wire
• Flat-nose Jewelry Plyers
• Crimp Beads
• Jump Ring, Connector Charm, or Clasp
• Lots of Beads!

DIY: Hippie Love Beads Tutorial from Adventures In Making #jewelry #necklace #janisjoplin

I made two strands of Love Beads for this project- One I strung beads in a fun pattern and another I used random multicolor beads together. I like the way both turned out.

DIY: Hippie Love Beads Tutorial from Adventures In Making #jewelry #necklace #janisjoplin
DIY: Hippie Love Beads Tutorial from Adventures In Making #jewelry #necklace #janisjoplin

To make a strand of Love Beads, I first like to organize my beads in teacups or small bowls. This way I grab the ones I need easily and organize my colors. All the beads you see here I bought second hand.

Tips for finding and collecting beads:

Thrift stores & garage sales– When thrifting I always look for clothes that have beads on them that I can easily cut off and use for jewelry projects. Some thrift stores also have craft supply sections where you can find bags of random beads. If you live in Portland, my favorite place to go is the Knittin’ Kitten, a craft supply thrift store on NE Glisan.
Friends & family– Ask around! You never know who might have a box of beads sitting in their closet leftover from their beading phase 10 years ago.
Broken/old jewelry– Whenever a necklace or earring breaks or falls apart, I always save the remnants to recreate into something new!

DIY: Hippie Love Beads Tutorial from Adventures In Making #jewelry #necklace #janisjoplin

How to make Love Beads:

To get started, first cut your beading wire to length. I wanted my necklaces to be super long (just like Janis Joplin), so I cut mine 54 inches long, leaving a few extra inches for tying off the finished strand.

Next I started stringing on beads. If you want to make a pattern, I like to start in the middle of the necklace and use both ends of the string to add beads in my desired pattern. This method is dangerous though! The more beads you string on, the heavier the necklace gets, and the easier it is to drop your ends and lose your beads!

Creating the random multicolor bead pattern is a bit easier as you can tie off one end of your string. I recommend using tape because it’s easy to take off when you’re ready to finish your ends and it won’t kink or untie itself (which is what happens when you try to tie a knot in beading wire).

Once you’ve completed your strand of beads, it’s time to finish the ends. I used two crimp beads (which you can find at any craft or bead store) and a small heart connector bead. Crimp beads are small metal cylinders that hold a doubled cord securely when you flatten or crimp them with pliers. You can use anything you like to connect your ends together. Since my necklace was so long, I didn’t need to use a clasp. You could also use a simple jump ring if you don’t have any connector beads on hand.

DIY: Hippie Love Beads Tutorial from Adventures In Making #jewelry #necklace #janisjoplin

Finishing your Love Beads:

• After you’ve finished stringing your necklace, place a single crimp bead on the end of the strand and a clasp, connector, or jump ring.
• Slip the wire tail back through the crimp bead and then through the next several beads. Tug the wire so it’s taut, with no gaps between beads or at the end.
• Firmly crimp the bead closed using flat-nose pliers. Clip off the end of the wire close to the beads so the end tucks back in and won’t scratch your skin.

Wear your love beads at the next music festival or concert you attend or give them away to friends!

DIY: Hippie Love Beads Tutorial from Adventures In Making #jewelry #necklace #janisjoplin

Resource

If you are interested in learning more about making jewelry I highly recommend the book, Bead Simple by Susan Beal.

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