Ultimate Beaded Lanyard Tutorial
Apologies for the lousy second photo, but this was too long to photograph without a mirror and my mirror is nowhere near a window!
I’m aware that this sits in the because I can category of crafting, but this is what happens when I decide to make a wearable roller bead lanyard with a bead ring on the end and then attach a beaded gecko to that ring. I really like it! While I find that while this is a little long for walking around in, the gecko sits on my knee such that I can roll it without dropping it or holding it. It’s pretty functional, doesn’t require me to clench or grasp it to use, and it offers me several different ways of stimming with the beads. Plus it’s easy to shorten by using fewer beads for the lanyard part, if you’d rather wear a shorter version.
- Regular pony beads in whatever colours you like (I used 87 different beads)
- Rattail cord (you’ll want about 3 metres)
- A giant pony bead or a wooden bead (the hole needs to be large enough to hold four strands of cord)
- A couple of star or flower shaped beads for the top of the lanyard and the end of the gecko’s tail (if you’re fancy)
- Thread and a sewing needle for a few overstitches (or glue)
- Clear nail polish or glue for finishing the end of the lanyard and the knot on the gecko’s tail (this keeps the cord from unravelling)
First, make a bead ring, a roller bead fidget/lanyard and a beaded gecko using these linked tutorials. Don’t try to put these together - just make one of each so you’re familiar with the process of making them. This tutorial assumes you know how to make each of those three things. It will not make sense if you don’t learn those three tutorials first.
Second, make the lanyard. I cut 1.5 metres of cord (taller people may want it longer still), folded it in half, threaded two pony beads on each end and then threading both ends through a star bead (but any pony bead will do). This just finishes the top of the lanyard nicely. I shifted those three beads down the cord, leaving enough space to pull the lanyard over my head, before I added however many beads I wanted in the normal way of a roller bead lanyard before leaving the usual gap of unthreaded cord. I then threaded on four beads (three rounded pony beads and one giant pony bead or wooden bead) over both ends of the cord (in the way you normally finish a roller bead lanyard) and cut the cord. Dab the cut ends of the cord with clear nail polish or glue. Do not knot the ends. Put the lanyard aside.
Third, make the bead ring in the normal way (threading beads onto a split ring).
Fourth, make the gecko in the normal way. Instead of using a new split ring, I slipknotted the cord for the gecko (I use 1.1 metres of cord) around the bead ring I made, halfway between the beads.
(I diverge from the linked tutorial in that I add a fancy bead like a star or a flower at the bottom of the tail, just because I like how it looks. I also use slightly smaller pony beads for the gecko’s claws, because I think that looks a little better. Neither of these things is necessary, though. I also seal the knot at the end of the tail with clear nail polish to make it a little sturdier.)
Firth, I join the bead-ring-and-gecko fidget to the lanyard. I push the beads at the bottom of the lanyard up to the bottom-most woven pony bead, wrap the cut edges of cord around the top of the ring and sew or glue them together, forming a closed loop of thread. Make sure the edges of the cord, the ones sticking up past the ring, are not longer than the length of your large bead - the purpose of the giant bead is to hide the cut edges of cord!
(If sewing, you’ll want the thread to go in and out of all four pieces of cord, sewing them to each other so they firmly hold the ring. I then coat the sewing with clear nail polish or glue. If gluing, make sure all four pieces are firmly glued to each other.)
Sixth, side the large bead over the four sewn or glued pieces of cord, hiding the join of the lanyard cord around the bead ring gecko - and that’s it!
Mine took less than an hour to make, was quite easy on my hands and only required a tiny bit of handsewing.
Image description under read more cut: