Project #13: Double Indemnity Anklet

originally posted October 2011

I’m a huge classic movie fan, and as you may have already deduced, I also love to craft. The idea to blog about my favorite classic movies is something that’s always been at the back of my mind, but this is a craft blog and classic movies don’t really fit in with the craft theme. Or do they?

Actually, I think they do. I’ve decided to challenge myself by coming up with craft projects that somehow tie into my favorite classic movies – a little something that I like to call Movie and a Craft Project. The first project is called the Double Indemnity Anklet which ties into the movie, Double Indemnity.

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Double Indemnity is a classic example of film noir, and I love this genre. It stars Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. The movie takes place in California in 1938. A time when men wore hats and women weren’t called women, they were called dames. MacMurray plays Walter Neff, an insurance salesman who drops in on a gentleman who needs his car insurance renewed. As it turns out the man isn’t home, but instead he meets the guy’s wife, Phyllis, played by Stanwyck, who happens to be dressed in nothing but a towel.

Of course, this piques Neff’s interest and so he decides to stick around and speak with Phyllis about the insurance. He winds up flirting with her, seeing how far he can take it, comments several times on the anklet she’s wearing and gets shut down by Phyllis who sees him to the door. However, within 24 hours, Walter finds himself in cahoots with Phyllis to off her husband for a little insurance money.

Walter gets in over his head and digs himself into a hole that he can’t get out of, nor does he try. In the end though, things go array. To paraphrase Walter Neff, he did it for the money and for a woman, but in the end he didn’t get the woman or the money. Double Indemnity is a gritty, seedy, little gem of a movie, with Barbara Stanwyck playing the ultimate femme fatale.

The project I came up with is this anklet. It seemed an obvious choice to me seeing as Walter was so fixated on the anklet Phyllis was wearing. I made mine in red and aqua for that vintage feel. I picked up the red beads and the chain at Michael’s. In case you’re wondering, those red beads are 6 x 3 mm dog bone beads from Halcraft. The package says they are dyed bamboo coral. The rest of the materials I had on hand.

So, here is how to make this anklet…

Materials needed:    

6 mm round beads
6×3 mm dog bone beads
20-gauge craft wire
4 mm jump rings
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers

To figure out what size your anklet should be either measure one you already own, or take a tape measure and measure the circumference of your ankle and add a half-inch to an inch extra to the length, depending on how big you like your anklets.


1. Make 3 center beaded links. Cut three 2-inch lengths of craft wire and make the beaded links as shown in Step 2 of the Simple Loop Tutorial. For the 2 outer links, thread 3 dog bone beads, the 6 mm bead, and 3 more dog bone beads. For the center link first thread on a 6 mm bead, 3 dog bone beads, and then another 6 mm bead.

2. Connect the links together with jump rings. This should measure a little over 4 inches.

3. Determine how much more length you need to finish your anklet and cut a piece of chain to that length. Cut that chain in half and attach the clasp components to one end of each piece of chain.

4. Connect the chain to each end of the beaded links with jump rings.

5. Next, to make a small bead dangle for the clasp, take a headpin and thread on a 6 mm bead, then 3 dog bone beads. Make a simple loop as in Step 1 of the Simple Loop Tutorial. Connect 3 jump rings together and attach one end to your bead dangle, and then connect the other end to the chain close to the clasp.

And now your anklet is complete!

If you haven’t seen Double Indemnity, I highly recommend it. Go out and rent it, buy the supplies to make this anklet, pop up some popcorn, and make this project during the movie.



Simple Loop Tutorial – Part 2

In Part 1 of this tutorial, you learned how to make a simple loop using a head pin. Now, I’m going to show you how to make a beaded link using the same simple loop technique. My first thought was to cram part 1 and 2 all into one blog post, but then I came to my senses and decided breaking this tutorial into two separate posts would be the logical and easier way to go.

Please note: In this part of the tutorial, I am using a 6 mm bead. The length of wire cut is the length that will accommodate a 6 mm bead. When making bead links with larger or smaller beads, you will have to experiment with different lengths of wire to determine what length is best for the size of bead you are using.

Materials needed to make a bead link:

6 mm beads
20-gauge craft wire
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers

How to Make a Bead Link:

1. Cut a 1-1/4-inch piece of 20-gauge wire and hold the wire between the jaws of your round nose pliers.

2. With your other hand, push the wire to wrap it around the jaw.

3. This will form a small loop at one end of your wire that is sort of bent to one side.

4. To straighten the loop, place the bottom jaw of the pliers into the loop.

5. Make a slight bend of the wire to the right.

6. You will end up with a loop at the top of your wire. It should loop like a little lollipop.

7. Thread a 6 mm bead onto the wire.

8. Make a 90-degree bend of the wire.

9. Trim the wire to 5/16-inch. Place the wire just a hair past the 1/4-inch mark that you made on your round nose pliers. Make a simple loop in the same manner as Part 1 of this tutorial.

10. You will be left with a beaded link. If your loops are open on either end, just take your chain nose pliers to gently squeeze them closed.

I recommend buying inexpensive craft wire and head pins to practice making your loops. You’ll find that once you get this skill down, you will be coming up with all kinds of jewelry and beading projects that incorporate beaded links.

Later on this week, I’ll be posting a new jewelry project so you can put your new skills to use.

Simple Loop Tutorial – Part 1

There are plenty of jewelry-making techniques out there to learn, but basic wire wrapping is a skill that every jewelry maker should understand. I’ve posted a few tutorials in the past that utilize the simple loop technique for beading projects. In some of those tutorials I explained how to make a simple loop but didn’t really go to in depth with the instructions. So I’ve decided to post a more detailed tutorial on how to make a simple loop for jewelry making and beading.

In Part 1 of this tutorial, you will learn how to make a bead dangle using head pins.

Materials needed to make a bead dangle:

Any size beads
Head pins
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Sharpie or felt-tip pen

How To Make a Simple Loop:


  1. Thread a bead onto a headpin.
  2. Using your chain nose pliers, make a 90-degree bend of the wire.
  3.  Trim the wire to 1/4 inch.
  4.  On your round nose pliers, measure to 1/4 inch from the tip of the pliers and mark that spot with a felt-tip pen. Place the wire in between the pliers at the 1/4 inch mark. Make sure that the wire is sitting flush in between the pliers and not poking up at the top. Check this by running your finger down the pliers. If you feel the tip of the wire sticking up then pull it down a little bit.
  5. With your free hand, grab hold of the bead. Begin making your loop by rolling the pliers away from. This will wrap the wire around one side of your pliers.
  6. When you’ve wrapped the wire around, remove the pliers. The loop will be about halfway formed. Place the other jaw of the pliers back into the loop and roll the pliers until the loop is completely formed and closed.

In Part 2 of this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make beaded links using this same simple loop technique.

Project #12: Beaded Stitch Markers

originally posted June 27, 2011

This weekend the weather was terrible. It’s been raining off and on for days, but this is Florida and this is the rainy season. Here’s the view from my kitchen window yesterday…

Real nice, huh? If you look close enough you can see my yard and my neighbor’s yard beginning to flood slightly. That’s always nice…I know the dog really loves it when the backyard is completely saturated with water, not really actually.

I decided it was a good day to do some crafting, so in between laundry loads I made up some new stitch markers. Most knitters have these among their knitting paraphernalia and use them to keep track of where they are in a row as well as to remind them to do something like increase or decrease in a certain spot of their knitting.

The only skill that you need in making these is knowing how to make a simple loop on a headpin. I used various sizes of jump rings and split rings to hang my beaded dangles. The smallest sized jump ring used in this project is 8 mm, which will fit up to a size US 8 knitting needle. The size 10 mm jump rings will fit up to a size US 10 knitting needle. The split rings used for this project were 12 mm, which will fit up to a size US 15 knitting needle.

Here’s what you will need to complete this project:


  • Round-nose pliers
  • Flat-nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Ruler or measuring tape


  • Headpins – need to be long enough to have room to make a loop
  • Jump rings and/or split rings – 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm in size
  • Glass, metal, plastic, gemstones beads in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors


To make your bead dangles, first string your beads onto the headpin.

Using either your fingers or the flat-nose pliers, make a 90-degree bend. Next, trim the wire using your wire cutters. I trimmed mine leaving a 1/4 inch of wire to form my simple loop. The length of wire you leave for your loop depends on how big you want to make the loop. This will be a trial and error process if you haven’t made simple loops before.

I wanted a fairly small loop, so I placed my wire near the very tip of the round nose pliers.

Holding onto the beaded end with my other hand, I then turned my pliers to form a loop with the wire. I turned until a complete loop was formed. Your bead dangle is now done.

Next, open up a jump ring with your pliers and just slip the loop of the bead dangle onto the jump ring, then using the pliers again, close the jump ring. For attaching the bead dangles to the split rings, I opened up the loop of the dangle as I would a jump ring, placed it on the split ring, and closed up the loop with my pliers.

There’s your finished stitch marker!

Not much too them really. A few basic beading skills are all that’s really needed to complete these. They’re a great rainy day project, and they make a fun gift for those knitters in your life.

Happy crafting!

Project #8: Necklace Redesign – Before & After

originally posted February 22, 2010

I’ve been making jewelry for around 20 years, and in that 20 years I’ve accumulated a moderate-sized collection of hideously made pieces just screaming to be redesigned into something better. I keep said hideous jewelry in a bag hidden from public view. Well, not too long ago I was rooting through that bag and came upon this little gem…

I would guess that I made this around 15 years ago, and it’s sat in a Ziploc bag for about that long, too. Among the several flaws in this necklace, two stood out the most to me – the shoddy workmanship and the fact that the gold-colored seed beads had tarnished into an ugly blackish-brown color. I did, however, like the combination of purple, gold, and brown-tone beads in this necklace and thought I could do a lot better redesigning this into a much nicer piece of jewelry. I decided on which beads I wanted to reuse in the new design. The only new beads used were gold seed beads to replace the original tarnished beads. Check out the new and improved necklace using the components of the old, ugly piece:

I’m pretty happy with the end result, in fact, I think it’s pretty darn snazzy (don’t mind me as I toot my own horn). Go through your old stash and see what you have that needs to be remade into something new and fresh. Garage sales, your grandmother’s jewelry box, and thrift shops are great places to find inexpensive beaded jewelry that can easily be taken apart and remade, and a cheap way to add to your bead collection.

Instructions for the “After” necklace design:


Size 11/0 glass seed beads

A variety of glass beads (mine range in size from 4 mm to 8 mm)

Bead board

Beading thread

Bead tips

8 – size 5.5 mm jump rings

12 – size 4 mm jump rings


Glue or clear nail polish

Pliers – chain nose, bent nose



1. The best way to start is first determine how you want to lay out your center strands. You can do this by laying your beads out on a bead board.

2. Once you’ve decided on a layout, start stringing your bead strands. Each strand is strung on double-stranded beading thread. Cut the following lengths of beading thread:

a. For the side strands – cut 27 inches of beading thread for each side strand (you’ll have 2 strands that are 27 inches).

b. For the inner center strand – cut 16 inches of beading thread.

c. For the outer center strand – cut 17 inches of beading thread.

d. Note: If you’re necklace is going to be a different length than mine, figure out the length of each strand, double the length of each strand, and add about 5 to 6 inches to allow for knot tying. In other words, if the finished length of your side strands are going to be 6 inches, you’ll want cut each strand of beading thread at least 18 inches for each side strand. Same goes for the center strands.

3. You should have a total of 4 strands of thread. Take each strand, fold it in half, and tie a knot at one end of each strand. Now, you’ll have 4 double-stranded lengths of thread.

4. At the end of each double-stranded length of thread, string one seed bead to sit flush at the knot. If the knot slips through the hole in the seed bead, tie a bigger knot. The seed bead acts as an anchor for the knot and keeps it from slipping through the hole in the bead tip. Next, string a bead tip, open side facing down so that the seed bead sits inside the bead tip.

5. Start stringing the side strands by first threading on 10 seed beads. Then, add decorative accent beads. In the case of my example, I used 4 mm round gold balls separated by seed beads that were a different color than the main seed beads (in this case, purple). Once you finish stringing your accent beads, finish stringing the seed beads until you’ve reached the desired length of your strand. Once you get to the end, string on a bead tip facing up then string on a seed bead so it’s sitting inside the bead tip. Pull the threads taut but not so tight that the strand buckles. You want a smooth strand of beads. Tie a double knot, making sure the knot is large enough not to slip through the seed bead hole. String your center strands of beads as well. Put a dot of glue or clear nail polish on all knots and set the bead strands aside to let dry.

6. The next thing to do is make the jump ring links. Take two 5.5 mm jump rings and connect them in the center with three 4 mm jump rings, using your pliers to open the jump rings. Attach another 5.5 mm jump ring to the bottom 5.5 mm jump ring with three more 4 mm jump rings. In addition to trying to explain this step, I also wanted to see how many times I could get away with saying jump rings. I think I overdid it. Anyhoo, make two of these links. And in case I’ve confused the hell out of you in my attempted explanation of this step, each one should look like this:

7. Once the glue has dried on the knots, cut any excess thread flush with the knot, being careful not to cut the knots. With your pliers, close each bead tip.

8. Attach 4 mm jump rings to each bead tip. Then, join the outer and inner center strands to one end of each jump ring link. On the opposite ends of the jump ring links, attach the side strands.

9. At the top of each side strand, attach a jump ring and your clasp components, and finally you’re done!

Check out the before and after side by side. I think the “after” is huge improvement.

If you have pieces of jewelry in your collection that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, wouldn’t give as a gift to your worst enemy, or even try to sell, then it’s time for a redo.

Happy Crafting!

Design Your Own Jewelry: Elements of Style

originally posted February 1, 2010

There are many elements that determine the design of a new jewelry piece – the materials used, the designer’s own personal style and, for those who design for a living, the clients needs just to name a few. If you’re new to making jewelry but don’t know where to start, the following design idea basics should help you in creating new pieces to add to your jewelry collection.

The Repeated Pattern

Repeating a pattern throughout a necklace or bracelet creates a nice symmetric look, and it’s probably one of the easiest designs to create. I made the bracelet above by starting out with small beads, gradually stringing on larger beads, then back down to the smaller beads. I repeated this pattern three times for the desired length of this bracelet.

The Asymmetric Design

Creating an asymmetric look is another option. Simply string your focal beads a bit off center, generally to one side or the other. In the example above, I used black onyx beads in 3 different sizes, starting out with the smallest to largest creating a graduated look in the size of the onyx. Then, I added five large, bright red, imitation Cinnabar beads a little off center and then finished stringing my black onyx.

I used the same asymmetrical design concept in the bracelet below. Keep in mind that using different shaped beads together creates visual interest as well. Notice the texture created when mixing the smooth round black onyx beads with the larger, saucer-shaped rhodonite beads.

The Centerpiece Design

When you want to emphasize larger focal beads, make them the centerpiece of your design. The 3 faceted teardrop glass beads make up the centerpiece of the above necklace. I broke them up by placing smaller spacer beads and accent beads in between them. To finish this piece, I used two different repeated patterns up the sides of the necklace.

These are just a few design ideas, but there really are endless options when it comes to making your own jewelry. Keep in mind, too, that the best way to start designing a necklace or bracelet is to lay the pattern out on a bead board to see if it works before stringing your design. This will help you figure out the right length for your necklace/bracelet , as well as how many beads you’ll need to create your design.

Happy Crafting!

Project 4: Beaded Charm Bracelet

originally posted June 15, 2009

Beaded charm bracelets are quick and easy to make. In this week’s project, I made my bracelet using black onyx beads, sterling silver beads, and sterling silver wire. Bead dangles are used as the charms in my example, but you can use anything – charms, beads, crystals, etc. This is a great project for reworking old jewelry, thrift store finds, or broken bracelets & necklaces you have stashed away in your jewelry box. You’ll need basic jewelry making skills to complete this project, specifically you’ll need to know how to make bead links using wrapped loops. As I said, I used sterling silver wire for this project, but you can also use artistic wire to make these bracelets. The artistic wire comes in a variety of colors, which allows you to be really creative with your designs.

Here are the supplies you’ll need to complete this bracelet:

Please note: The supply list and instructions are for a bracelet that has a finished size of 7-1/2 inches. Before adding the clasp, the size is about 6-1/2 inches. You may need to add more bead links or use less than I did depending on what size bracelet you normally wear.

• 20 or 22-gauge wire
• 6 and 8 mm beads
• 2-inch head pins
• 5.5 mm jump rings
• S-hook clasp or hook & eye clasp

• Round nose pliers
• Chain nose pliers
• Wire cutters


1. Make five 8-mm bead links and four 6-mm bead links using the wrapped loop method.

2. Make eight 6-mm bead dangles using the wrapped loop method on 2-inch long head pins.

3. Attach the links together with jump rings in the following manner: 8-mm bead link, bead dangle, 6-mm bead link. Close the jump ring. Continue attaching the bead links in this same pattern until all bead links have been connected to form your bracelet.

4. Add a jump ring to both ends of the bracelet and attach your clasp.

5. Add a bead dangle to your clasp. Do the steps you normally do to make a wrapped loop but don’t make your wraps. Open the loop a little bit, slip the clasp into the loop, then begin making your wraps to complete the dangle.

As you can see with the example below, I used a variety of bead sizes and I also have some bead links using the wrapped loop method and some links with just simple loops. Rather than attaching the links together with jump rings, I linked them directly together. Either way works well, it just depends on what your preference is.

Happy Crafting!