A Valentine’s Day gift how to – Dyed wooden bead necklace

February 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm 7 comments

Now that my mom has received her Valentine’s Day gift in the mail, I can share one of my weekend projects with you.

The idea for this gift came from – where else – Martha Stewart’s Web site. You can see it here. I did a few alterations to the directions that I will go over. I have made these necklaces before in blues and greens, and wanted to do some Valentine-friendly colors this time around.

My kind husband was nice enough to document the process by using the photo feature on my video camera. We will never do this again – the quality is terrible. So, I took pics of the finished product with my Canon Digital Rebel and the results were much better.

Here is a sampling of the basic supplies you need:

Rit dyes, wooden beads, satin ribbon, toggle clasps

After you have assembled your supplies, pick a color safe bowl and fill with warm water. Add Rit dye until you achieve a color you really like. I used about 1/2 a box to about 12 cups of water. The less color you use, the lighter the beads will be and the longer the dye process will take.

Vat of dye. Looks a little creepy, no?

Throw in wooden beads, and stir constantly with a color-safe spoon to make sure beads are rotating and all sides are getting dyed. When they are the color you are aiming for, remove with a small strainer and lay on a thick layer of paper towels to dry overnight. Beads will get darker within a few minutes of removing, and will lighten a bit when completely dry. A general rule of thumb – which differs from what Martha Stewart’s site says – is that the beads will dry darker overall than the color they are when you remove them from the dye. So, take them out just before they reach the color you are aiming for. You can always redye later.

Beads ready to dry

Finished grayish purple beads

Valentine's pink beads

Our Springer Spaniel Anna was unenthused by the whole process.

That doesnt smell like food ...

The next day, when the beads are dry, string them on your chosen medium. I chose a variety of colors of very thin satin ribbon in contrasting colors. I figured out the length I wanted the finished ribbon to be first, cut it, and then strung enough beads to cover about 2/3 of the length of ribbon. Center the beads in the middle, and tie knots on either side of the beads to keep the beads from sliding too far. On Martha Stewart’s site, the beads go all the way around and to the back, but I find the necklaces don’t lay as well if there are big bulky beads around your neck. Once your knots are tied on either side of your string of beads, tie toggle clasps on to the end of each side of the ribbon, and voila! You have  necklace.

Finished necklaces, taken with a much better camera:

7 necklaces in all

Close up - love the gradient effect the beads naturally take on

Entry filed under: affordable craft, dogs, Holiday gifts, quick project. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Handsewn puppet Nurse softie

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LP  |  February 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks for the comment on my site!

    I have to say, this looks like a really fun project with cute results!

  • 2. thebotheredowl  |  February 10, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    That’s really cool! I can see me having a crack at doing that, some time when the kids are off elsewhere, I think.
    That big vat of dye looks a little like melted chocolate!

  • 3. dayliliescreative  |  February 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    This is really neat! What size beads did you use? I agree with you that it is better not to have the beads all around the necklace – especially if you are using larger beads. What a neat idea – I would have thought to paint the beads, but never dye them… really cool!!

    • 4. mallorymurray  |  February 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you! I used 3/4 inch and 1 inch beads. Depends on how large you like them!

  • 5. Chris  |  March 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    What a fun project! Thanks for sharing this…my kids will love it!


  • 6. Maggie Kmiecik  |  May 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I’m launching a new site that’s a collection of different jewelry projects, http://www.AllFreeBeadedJewelry.com, and that I linked to this project:

    I would like to know if I can link like this to you, including your photo, in the future. Or if you would be willing to allow me to post projects in full on the site – full credit will always be given to you, of course. It would be yet another source of traffic to your blog. Once you have 2+ projects on the site I can start you a designer profile where you can tell everyone a little about yourself and include links to your blog, etsy store, facebook, etc.

    The site is still under construction, so if some things seem weird they will be fixed. Once the designing part is done the site will be more akin to our sister sites AllFreeSewing.com and FaveCrafts.com.

    Please let me know, I would love to work with you further.
    Maggie Kmiecik

    • 7. mm  |  May 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Thanks for featuring me! I don’t mind you linking to my content, but would prefer you to not republish it in its entirety. Thank you so much!


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About me

My name is Mallory Murray and I have a love of all things oldfashioned. I'm a modern day feminist who also adores Martha Stewart. Read on for my sewing, crochet, cooking, gardening, quilting and crafting projects. I am the chief officer of marketing and design at Northwest Missouri State University, so expect the occasional random post about marketing/universities/design. I dream of a hobby farm with baby doll sheep, a sheep dog, a small flock of chickens, and other animals to be announced. I'm also a Pitt State grad, football lover, HGTV addict and obsessed with the color aqua.

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