If you want to make a necklace but don’t have a clasp, never fear! You can still make a stylish necklace that you can put on over your head with no clearly defined front or back. Commonly referred to as an endless necklace, you can make it out of cord and beads.
So, how do you make a cord necklace without a clasp? Evaluate the materials you have available to help you decide on a style. If you have crimp tubes and a crimp bead cover, you could consider using those. If you are just starting out with jewelry making, a simple square knot will get the job done: Just make sure it’s long enough to go over your head.
The first step in making your corded necklace is determining what style you’re looking for. There are simple designs, with just a cord and a pendant, or you can have a necklace that’s fully beaded. There are just as many options for finishing off your necklace without a clasp, from tying the ends in a square knot to making a slip knot to allow the necklace to be adjustable.
When you are making your corded necklace, there are lots of varieties of cords to choose from, ranging from leather cord to rattail. These different types of cord may need to be finished in different ways, so consider the material you are using and the method you want to end your cord necklace with carefully.
A Simple Cord Necklace
Before you get too far down the rabbit hole of methods of closure for your cord necklace, consider simply tying the ends of the necklace once you get it to the appropriate length. This is especially handy if you are making friendship necklaces or bracelets and have woven the necklace.
All you need to do is place the necklace on the recipient and tie in a square knot. If you’re planning on this necklace being able to come off, you’ll want to add enough length to it to slip on and off the recipient’s head, so measure carefully before tying.
Tying a Slip Knot
You can also end your necklace by tying a slip knot or sliding knot in the cord. This allows you to adjust the length of the necklace easily while still not using a clasp. This method tends to work best for cords such as leather or satin cords.
- Start by measuring how long you want your necklace to be. Double or triple that length of cord and cut it. Thread on your beads or weave your design.
- Next, you will need to loop the cord into a circle. Take the cord that is on top and hold it approximately 5 inches from the end, folding it over so that the cord bends backward onto itself, giving you three cords laying side by side. This cord will be your working cord.
- Take your working cord and loop it around and to the back, laying it underneath of the other cords.
- Repeat this process, wrapping your working cord around the other cords once again. You will need to make sure that you are moving away from the bend in the cords rather than towards it. You should also make sure that you are wrapping two cords rather than one.
- Repeat the process at least two more times.
- Slide the end of the working cord through the wraps and exit it out at the initial bend you made when laying out your cords. Pull the end to tighten the loops.
- Turn the piece over and repeat the process to make your second slip knot or sliding knot.
- Trim your cord near the ends of the knots. You can then slide the knots open and closed to adjust the length of your cord and thus your necklace, bracelet, or another piece of jewelry.
An Endless Necklace
- Start by threading your beading needle with your cord of choice. While the regular thread is a great option for beginners, more durable beading threads, such as FireLine are stronger and will typically last longer than regular threads.
- To keep beads from sliding off of the end of your thread, place a piece of masking tape on the end of the thread. Some people will also use tools such as a Bead Bug, but this is not required.
- Thread your beads onto the needle and thread. Consider mixing up your beads into a variety of different designs or stick with all of the same bead types for a more muted appearance.
- Fill up your thread with your beads, typically aiming for a length of around 30 inches.
- Once your necklace is the desired length, thread the needle and thread through the first bead that you strung onto the necklace. That bead will now have the cord or thread on either side of it.
- Tighten the necklace by pulling the ends up until the beads are as snug as you’d like them.
- Now it’s time to tie your knot. On either end of the center bead, tie a double half hitch knot. To make a single half hitch knot, loop over the beaded strong and bring the tail end around to the back of the loop you have made.
- Come up through the loop. Repeat that a second time to make a double half hitch knot.
- Make sure you repeat the knot on the opposite side of the bead to secure your necklace.
- To secure the knots, place a drop of jewelry glue on the knot and allow it to dry.
- On either side of the center bead, feed the thread through several beads. Then, trim the end of the thread.
Making an Endless Knotted Necklace
You can do something similar to the above method with your beads and cord but add knots between each bead, which produces a unique and delightful design. Start by picking out your beads and a contrasting or complementary cord.
Check the holes on the beads to ensure that when you make a knot in the cord, the beads won’t pass over the knot. If they do, you will need to use larger cord, double up your cord, or make bigger knots.
- Once you have your supplies together, start by making an overhand knot in your cord at least 6 to 8 inches from the end of the cord, giving you a long tail to work with later.
- To tie an overhand knot, make a loop with the tail end of your cord. Slide the end of the cord or string through the back of the loop. Gently pull the knot tightly to secure it.
- After you have your first knot in place, slide on one bead and snug it up all of the way adjacent to your first knot.
- Next, repeating the process for tying an overhand knot, tie a knot immediately on the other side of the bead. To secure your knot against the bead without having excess slack in the cord, do not tighten the knot all of the way down.
- Instead, once you have tied the knot, stick a corsage pin into the knot and push the knot up adjacent to the bead. Tighten the knot securely before removing the corsage pin. Finish tightening the knot as soon as you remove the pin.
- Repeat placing the beads on and knotting between each one until you have reached your desired length. Save one bead for the next step to complete your necklace.
- To connect the ends of the necklace, slide on the last bead. Pull your original tail through the last bead in the opposite direction so that you have threaded the bead in both directions with your cord.
- Taking the cord on one side, tie an overhand knot in the cord between the bead and its adjacent bead. Use a corsage pin similar to how you tighten the knots on the rest of the necklace and snug the knot to the bead.
- Repeat this knot tying process on the other side of your final bead with an overhand knot.
- Place a drop of clear jewelry glue on each of the knots that you made on either side of your final bead, and allow the glue to dry. You can also use a product such as hypo-cement.
- Thread the tails of your necklace through the adjacent bead on either side of your final bead to hide the ends. Trim the ends with a pair of scissors as close to the bead as you can so that the ends are not visible.
- Wear your new necklace with pride!
Using Crimp Tubes
When you are making your necklace, you can also secure the ends with a crimp tube. Rather than tying a knot in the cord, you can thread the beading wire or cord through a crimp tube.
- Feed both ends of your cord or beading wire through a single crimp tube, threading them in opposite directions.
- Tighten your necklace to your desired length, and then using a crimping tool, crimp the crimp tube.
- Once you have crimped the tube, you can place a crimp bead cover over the crimp tube to hide it.
To learn more about this technique in detail, watch this video by Beadaholique on YouTube.
Up Next: How To String Beads On Leather Cords