The Requisite Surfer Necklace

I’ve put up a few surf necklace projects, but not really the typical “surfer” type you normally think of. I see them sold in shops, but I seriously doubt that a surfer made them unless you get one handmade. This is a chance to make your own.
First, I gathered some supplies together: some chipped white shell bits drilled to use as beads, some dark lip shell round shaped beads for a sharp contrast (value is the term used in art), 49 strand coated flexible wire (Beadalon and Dandyline make these wires, and they’re very strong, I used .015″ diameter wire), crimp beads (in the size to match your wire, I used size #3), a clasp, some jump rings, a crimp tool, and wire flush cutters. All of these can be found at the local craft store.

Shown: beads, stringing wire, tube of crimp beads, and clasp

The necklace will have the clasp on one end and a jump ring on the other to close. I’m going to go ahead and use my crimp tool to finish one end (clasp or connector ring) before I start stringing. This just makes the process easier in my opinion, and prevents the beads from sliding off.

Crimping tool on top of the chipped shell beads

The crimp tool will have instructions on how to use it, but here’s the general procedure for this necklace.
First, I’m going to slide a crimp bead onto the wire:

Next, I’m going to slide my clasp (or jump ring connector) on:

I’m going to take the end of the wire and pass it back through the crimp bead:

Making sure the wires aren’t crossed WITHIN the bead, I’m going to use the bottom groove on the crimp tool to make my first indentation:

Next, I’ll turn the bead 90 degrees and press again using the top groove of the crimp jaws, folding over the crimp in place:

Cut the short end of the wire with the wire flush cutters close to the crimp to finish:

Now, we’re ready to string. In this example, I finished the jump ring connector side first and then strung beads. I decided to go with a 5+1 pattern: 5 chipped white shell beads, then 1 round brown shell bead. The chipped shell beads are random shapes and sizes, which make a nice look to the necklace, so don’t try to match sizes or shapes- pick randomly.

5+1 pattern

I continued this pattern for approximately 16″ inches, for a choker length necklace. You may want to measure your neck to make sure your necklace is long enough. Remember that the clasp will add about an inch to your necklace.

Pattern developing

When I get to the length I want, I’m going to finish the end just like I did the beginning of the wire, but don’t pull too tightly when finishing the wire, or you may strain the crimps. Also, you might want to leave a tiny bit of looseness for a later step.

Finished necklace

I wanted to add a pendant to my necklace, and I had one I got a long time ago from a local artist who made them from coconut husks. I’ve tried to scroll saw through a coconut, and my straight line was horrific, so I give mad props to that artist for carving these beautiful pieces. He had a brilliant idea of putting a spring ring clasp on the pendant to attach it to the necklace, but you could also take it off again if you wanted:

My seahorse pendant
Pendant attached

You can also do this with little charms you may have on keychains, other pendants, etc., and is very easy to remove and even put on other things.
So now I’m ready to head out with my surfer necklace and conquer the big waves.
When I’m in the hospital afterward, bruised, bloodied, and unconscious, they’ll say, “Wow, where did she get that cool surfer necklace? She must be hardcore.”
Respect the necklace. Gnarlicious.

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