A lovely set of pearls add elegance to an 18 Inch doll’s wardrobe!
Today’s blog is part of an ongoing series about making fun accessories for 18 inch dolls: doll bed/storage, clothes rack, jewelry, headbands, and shoes. Here are the postings so far:
Supplies used for the project:
- Multicraft Bead Glass Multipack Pearl White
- Silver headpins
- Sweet Beads Fundamental Finding Earring Post with 4 mm Ball Silver (prefer over Cousin Elegance Silver Plated Ear Post 4mm Ball which has extra metal behind the ball)
- Jump ring assortment
- Round nose pliers
- Chain nose pliers
- Stretch Magic Beading Cord Clear – 0.5mm, or 0.7mm
- Jewelry adhesive – I used BeadFix
- Clasp – lobster clasp, barrel clasp, toggle clasp, and magnetic clasp (caution with young children – swallowing multiple small magnets can be life threatening)
Pearl Jewelry Set
My first jewelry set made for an 18 inch doll used two packages of Multicraft Bead Glass Multipack Pearl White in four different sizes. I think I needed two packages to make the necklace, bracelet, and earrings. A bead reamer helped open some holes that were partly closed.
Stretchy elastic cord such as Stretch Magic Beading Cord seemed like a better choice than strong wire for necklaces and bracelets handled by children. Stretch Magic comes in different thicknesses – 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1mm. For this project, either the 0.5mm or 0.7mm Clear went through the smallest pearls if the cord was stretched before stringing.
NOTE: Always pull and stretch the cord before using it. This will allow the cord to go though small beads better- and keep it from sagging later. If you pull too hard, it can snap and hurt you.
An alternative I plan to try is Beadalon Elonga cord, made of several individual stretchy strands, which comes in 0.3 mm, 0.7 mm, and 1 mm. Another brand is Opelon.These stretchy floss cords are supposed to be easier to knot and don’t stretch out over time – although they can fray.
Knots tied with stretchy elastic cord require a strong jewelry adhesive to secure them – they will not hold without it. My favorite so far is BeadFix – an industrial strength glue which is highly elastic, water-resistant, and quick setting. The fine tip helps place the glue in tiny areas. Letting the adhesive set for 24 hours before handling the jewelry is recommended. Be sure to recap each time after use. I am going to try other brands as well: Eclectic E6000 Jewelry & Bead Adhesive, Aleene’s Jewelry and Metal Glue, and Beadalon G-S Hypo Cement Bead Stringing Glue.
Note: While making jewelry is a fun activity with older children, these industrial strength glues should be supervised and/or handled by adults. Adequate ventilation is important.
I cut a strand of elastic cord a few inches longer than needed and pulled on it to stretch it. I strung beads in gradated sizes – starting with five of the largest glass pearl beads in the center, and added on each side – seven of the next smallest size, eight of the next smallest size, and ending with about ten of the smallest size. That was my plan anyway – but…
careful observation shows the sides are not symmetrical – one side has two more beads than the other. Audrey Ann (my doll) said not to worry – no one would notice. 🙂 The length of the bead strand was about 9-1/4″; the necklace was 10-1/4″ with the clasps attached.
I tried three types of clasps for the different jewelry sets I made. The photo above shows, from top to bottom, a lobster clasp, a barrel clasp, and two magnetic clasps. Toggle, S hooks, and hook and eye clasps are other choices not shown. I thought spring ring clasps may be too difficult to handle for small hands – I have trouble with them sometimes!
For this first set, I used magnetic clasps. I hoped they would be easy to use by an older child or adolescent and pull apart easy without breaking the strand of beads if pulled on too hard.
The crimp tube shown above is for use with 0.5 mm stretch cord. These tubes crimped in an unattractive way with my regular crimper pliers so I chose to secure them with glue. I threaded one end of the elastic cord through a crimp, through the loop on the clasp, and back through the crimp. Before pulling the cord taut, I applied a tiny dot of BeadFix near the loop and pulled the crimp over it by pulling on the elastic cord. If needed, I added another tiny dot between the crimp and bead. I held the cord gently taut until the glue set a bit.
The elastic cord works well for bracelets – they can be slipped off and on without needing a clasp.
The bracelet was easily constructed by stringing about twenty-two of the 4 mm pearls (second smallest in the multipack) for a total length of about 3-1/4″. This length slips on easily but does not fall off.
Once strung, the ends of the elastic cord need to be tied in a square knot. To do this, start tying a knot as it comes naturally to you – for me this is left over right – then push the end through the center.
Then tie another knot that goes the opposite, unnatural feeling direction – for me that is right over left – then push the end through the center. The knot should form sort of a square. A surgeons knot (not shown) is even more secure. After the step above, go over and through the top of the loop one more time before pulling it tight.
The knot has to be tightened up between the two end beads so they are touching – without catching on a bead. This may be surprisingly tricky.
Once the knot was tightened between the two end beads, I figured out a way to stretch the elastic cord between my fingers to isolate and tighten the knot before adding a tiny dot of glue. If the glue gets on other beads, they may become cloudy and messy. I hold it long enough for the glue to set some, trim the cord ends close to the knot, and let go. The beads on each side of the knot may adhere to each other which can help hide the knot.
The first knot I made was larger than I wanted (left photo) – it separates the beads and shows too much. This was my first bracelet. It was hard for me to overcome years of making very secure square knots by adding another knot or two. I learned that with one square knot (right photo) – over once, and over once the other direction – and secured with glue, the knot showed less and did not separate the beads as much. A surgeons knot would be better and still not show much.
I do not have photos of making the earrings – but I will describe what I did.
Each earring was made with a 4 mm silver ball post with a loop, a silver headpin, a 4 mm glass pearl (second smallest in multipack)), and a 10 mm silver jump ring. I put the headpin through the pearl and cut off the rest of the headpin leaving just enough to make a loop. I used round nose pliers to shape a loop from the cut end. Before closing the loop I had made, I inserted the loop on the post and the 10 mm ring in it. Chain nose pliers were used to close the loop.
The earring was then one unit that dangled nicely. The process was repeated for the other earring being careful to match the size of the loops so they hung evenly.
The size of the bead and jump rings worked well – anything larger would not be scaled well for a doll.
My first jewelry set was complete! I learned a lot and was inspired to make many more!
Pearls would look great with a fancy dress – but they dress up this outfit nicely!
P.S. Audrey Ann’s dress was made from the free Katie Dress pattern by Sew Like My Mom. It is simple to make using 1/3 yard of fabric, rick rack or piping trim, and a 7″ all-purpose zipper (the zipper length can be longer and cut off once it is sewn in). For being somewhat zipper phobic, I found the zipper insertion to be very easy. It helped to use some Wonder Tape to hold it in place while sewing.
Her cute lime green Mary Jane shoes are from the Doll Clothes Superstore. I plan to learn how to make shoes for 18″ dolls. I will also post an article about a clothes rack made from a quilt stand for mini quilts. Please check back soon.