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Irish Tendrils Necklace
    Irish Tendrils

A Drop Bead Necklace

designed by

Lydia F Borin
The Beadwrangler

Drop Bead Detail


I was looking through my Mom's button boxes and came across a lovely green button that looks like a flower motif.  It is a vintage button and is transparent with an AB finish with pink and blue highlights.  I decided to make a necklace in which the button would be the centerpiece.  After finishing the necklace, I made matching earrings.  Now I would like to share this easy to make necklace and earring design with you.  If you do not have a big pretty button, go to bead, couture, stitching and bridal stores.  You can also find old buttons at flea markets and antique stores.  I used size 6 seed beads that were yellow on the outside and color lined green inside and drop beads with a bluegreen iridescence.  The size 11 seed beads were lime green.

1 big yummy button with a shank, 30mm is my button size
drop or tear drop beads
size 6 seed beads
size 11 seed beads
Soft Flex wire size .014
4 small crimp beads (2 for earrings and 2 for necklace)
2 size 8mm beads (for earrings)
2 earring findings

crimp forming tool
wire cutters

Instructions for Necklace

1.  Measure the length of your neck and how much excess you need for the button and closure.

If your Soft Flex wire is on a spool, leave it on there until you have the necklace strung.  If you have cut pieces of Soft Flex, put a hemostat on one end.   My necklace is 16 1/2" in length plus the button.  I used about 20" of Soft Flex and cut off the excess.  I have a scrawny neck so the 16 1/2" is loose on my neck.

2.   Begin stringing the strand with 1 size 6 seed bead, 1 drop bead, 1 size 6 seed bead, 1 drop bead until you have the length you need for your neck plus extra for the loop of beads to go around the button.  I used 65 drop beads and 66 size 6 seed beads in the necklace portion.

3.  When you have the main necklace portion strung, string 1 crimp bead, 8 size 11 seed beads, string on the button through the button shank, and 8 more size 11 seed beads.  Take the open end of the Soft Flex with the size 11s on it and put the Soft Flex wire through the crimp bead and the size 6 seed bead below it.  Pull taut.   Crimp forming tool to crimp the crimp bead.  If you do not know how to do this, visit your nearest bead store and they can help you.  Cut off the excess loose piece of Soft Flex.  Now push all the strung beads up towards the button.

4.  You will have to measure out how much Soft Flex you need for the button closure loop and extra for the crimping before cutting the other Soft Flex end.    You will be stringing beads around the Soft Flex loop and use another crimp bead.

After my last size 6 seed bead of the main necklace, I strung 1 crimp bead, 1 size 6 seed bead, 1 drop bead until I had 4 drop beads between 5 size 6 seed beads, then 21 size 11 seed beads, then repeated 4 more drop beads between the 5 size 6 seed beads for the button loop.  You will had to adjust for your button size.

5.  Before you cut the Soft Flex, be sure and have about 3/4" of Soft Flex extra on each end for putting through the crimp bead and holding onto while pulling taut before crimping.  Make sure you have enough Soft Flex for your button loop.   Cut the Soft Flex and take it back through the crimp bead leaving a loop of beads on the end.  Now pull the Soft Flex taut, crimp the bead and cut off the excess.   Your Irish Tendrils is complete.  If you used drop beads and size 6 seed beads on each end of the loop, they will show around the button.  The button closure should be worn to the side of the neck near the front, but not in the middle. Figure 1


Instructions for Earrings

1.  Take Soft Flex wire and string 9 size 11 seed beads, 1 size 6 seed bead, 1 drop bead, and continue until you have 3 drop beads between 5 size 6 seed beads.    String 9 more size 11 seed beads.  This is the dangle of the earrings.

2.  Take one end of the Soft Flex wire through a size 8mm bead, 1 crimp bead plus 10 size 11 seed beads.  This is the top of the earring.  Put a hemostat on that end.

3.  Cut the Soft Flex at the other end and take that end up through the size 8mm bead and crimp bead, leaving a small piece of the Soft Flex sticking out.

4.  Go back to the longer piece of Soft Flex with the size 11 seed bead on the end.  Remove the hemostat and string on an earring finding.  Then take this end of the Soft Flex back through the crimp bead and down through the size 8mm bead and sticking out from the 8mm bead.  You should have a loop on top of the earring with the earring finding sticking out.

5.  Pull both ends of the cut Soft Flex wire taut, crimp the crimp bead and cut off the excess wire pieces.  Make a second earring the same way.    You can also use lobster claws and larger spring rings directly onto the earring loops so they can be interchangeable with other earrings.   This idea originated in my Beadwrangler's Hands On Bead Stringing book.

Figure 2


Now you have made the Irish Tendril Necklace and Earrings and are ready for St. Patrick's Day! 

NOTE: This design is the property of Lydia F Borin and is for personal use only. No part of this project may be used as part of another project, magazine article, book or other printed or electronic publication without the written permission of the owner.  For further information contact

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