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Design on a Dime: Attitude Adjustment Necklace

Design on a Dime: Attitude Adjustment Necklace

Erin Strother
erins 1 year ago

It’s October, which means it’s time to get out my favorite Jack Skellington mug and buy lots of candy that I will eat long before Halloween, necessitating the purchase of more candy which I will also eat, because we rarely have any trick or treaters and candy doesn’t eat itself, you know. But just in case a few random kids in adorable costumes pop by on October 31st, I need to be prepared, so I better go buy more candy now. It’s a vicious cycle.

Recently, after eating a few armfuls of prematurely purchased Halloween candy and drinking a glug* of pumpkin spice latte from my Jack Skellington mug, I was all hopped up on sugar and caffeine and got an idea for a cool, mixed media, Halloweeny-ish necklace. (Spoiler alert: there are NO skulls. I know you’re disappointed, but I just wasn’t feelin’ skulls this time.) I wanted to make something that you could wear any time of year, without people saying, “Hey, why are you wearing that clearly inappropriate Halloween necklace on Arbor Day?”


So this is what I came up with. There’s black leather (a necessity), which I cut out of a scrap of remnant in order to get the exact width I wanted, but you can substitute any wide-ish leather lace you have in your stash. I used a blue electroplated crystal stick for the focal bead (these come in a bunch of other colors in case blue isn’t your thing) and some nifty silver metal donuts** with an interesting hammered texture.

Now, here’s the kicker.

I’m usually not into sparkly crystal things at all, but I love these crystal bezel sliders. They have a clean, contemporary vibe with just the right amount of edginess to pull off this look, plus, they have 2 sets of holes, which makes them more interesting to work with.

Oddly enough, this project worked out almost exactly like I imagined in my head, which, in my world of many, MANY experimental design failures, qualifies as a Halloween miracle.

Typically, what happens during my design process is this: I’ll get an idea and it looks really good in my head, and I’m all “Wow, this is going to be awesome! I am a genius,” and then I finish it and put it on, and it’s all lumpy and smooshed-looking on one side, and I immediately see where I went wrong—like, “Sigh. If only I had added another bead right HERE, this would look so much better, but now it’s too late because I’m far too lazy to take it apart and start over, so it will sit in my drawer forever and I’ll never wear it one time. My life is ruined. Wait, maybe I can give it to somebody for Christmas, and they’ll be too polite to say ‘Hey, this is all smooshed-looking, and why couldn’t you just give me a Starbucks gift card like a normal person?’”

I promise, this necklace is NOT one of those. It looks amazing on. A little bit biker chick, but not over the top.

How good would this look with black leather boots?! (You may wish to wear other items of clothing as well.)

But if you DO make it and decide to give it to somebody else, (which you won’t, because you will totally want to keep it for yourself) you KNOW they are going to be all, “Yo, this is SO much cooler than a Starbucks gift card!” And then they’ll feel all guilty about the lame bottle of Trader Joe’s chardonnay they got for you because it’s so inadequate by comparison.

Win-win, baby.

To make this necklace, you’ll need three strands of beads, available exclusively from Michael’s stores. I paid less than $15 total, because I wisely used a coupon (there are ALWAYS coupons on the Michael’s website) and also, some of the beads were on sale. Budget a couple more bucks for the cost of leather and findings (jump rings, wire, eye pins, clasp). No biggie. You’ll have enough beads left over to make earrings and a bracelet, (or some other equally stunning project of your own creation) and possibly enough cash in your wallet to buy even more Halloween candy before anyone figures out you’ve eaten it all. Twice.

*A “glug” is a unit of measure I made up in my own head. It’s about a cup. Wait, no, probably more like a cup and a half.

**You should not eat these beads, even though they are confusingly called “donuts.” Instead, eat the Halloween candy you were planning to give to small children dressed as zombies. They’ll totally understand.

Erin Strother

About Erin Strother

Erin Strother is a full-time graphic designer with an obsession for jewelry design living in southern California with her long-suffering husband George and their disobedient dog Swiffer. She has won 6 Pulitzer prizes, an Academy Award for “Best Virtual Sound Editing,” $4 in the California State Lottery, and other prizes too numerous to mention. She is currently working on her first novel, “The Summoning Circle.” (Really!) See more of her work at http://www.studioEgraphics.com and http://www.etsy.com/shop/StudioEgallery.



  1. Lynne Gunning October 20, 2016

    Just an fyi-I got to know you exist by watching Beads, Baubles,& Jewels. Love what techniques they use for all types of methods.
    What I am looking for is a provider that has some original charms for earrings-I am looking for charms (or whatever it’s called) in graduated sizes so that I can make 3 pc. set. Let me know if you can help. Thanks ?

    1. Erin Strother
      Erin Strother October 22, 2016

      Hi Lynne, I’m glad you found us!
      Halcraft has a whole section of charms in three different finishes–silver, gold and rose gold–and also a huge variety of Bead Gallery beads that are great for earrings. All are available at Michael’s stores.