When I was a kid I had a book about ocean creatures. Inside was a beautiful color illustration of the mother octopus, hanging her garlands of pearly eggs from the ceiling of a cave. That image really stuck with me over time, and while I was bead shopping for a different project I happened upon the perfect beads to make gorgeous octo egg strands you can enjoy as a land lover. Granted, these beads are a little prettier than the real thing, which seem to start off milky white or booger green before turning more translucent.
In this Ible you'll learn how to make a single egg strand. They're a very interesting piece worn singular, but since they're also pretty quick to make you can create multiple strands of varying lengths and combine them for an extra exotic statement necklace!
Step 1: You Will Need...
Teardrop shaped beads in pearl, opalescent, or white. These great ones I found at Michael's are by Bead Gallery
Jewelry wire--be sure the thickness is compatible with the diameter of the holes in your beads. I used "German Style" wire, ideal for wire wrapping projects.
Round Nose Pliers
Needle nose or Flat jewelry pliers
A few seed beads of similar color to your teardrops, or small faux pearls.
Step 2: Wire Work
Cut a length of jewelry wire slightly longer than you intend the final piece to be. Give yourself at least an extra inch or inch and a half. I used 24 gauge medium temper wire; fine enough not to give the piece a bulky, wire-dominant look, and firm enough to allow some basic wire wrap work.
Use round nose pliers to start spiral at the end of your wire. Clamp the end of the wire between the pliers and rotate gently to create a curve.Work as close to the tips of your pliers as possible, to keep the spiral center small and delicate.
If you're brand new to wire work and need to watch this process in motion, this is an excellent guide for getting started! Without a third hand, its tough to get the best photos of this part.
Now use flat, needle nose pliers to hold the center "o" you just made. With your opposite hand, guide the rest of the wire over the curve to continue the spiral. Pinch and turn, pinch and turn --adjust the grip of your pliers as needed. Stop when you've done 1 or 2 revolutions of wire, since we want to keep the wire work from stealing focus from our piece. This is called an "open loop" spiral.
Go back to your round nose pliers. Use a fatter part of the pliers (about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up) to make a corve above your open loop.
Bring the wire straight down the side of the curve, rather than making a closed circle. This will be the bale from which your pendant hangs. It is a little larger and oblong so that it will be compatible with a variety of chains and cords.
Step 3: Beading
Start by threading on a single faux pearl or seed bead of your choosing. I feel the faux pearl makes a nice ocean-themed accent, and starting with a smaller bead traditions the eye to the large teardrops nicely.
Work Upside Down -- Hold your piece so that the wire bale is on the bottom.
Begin stacking teardrop shaped beads. Alternate direction to help the heads of the beads settle together. This will prevent gaps and ensure you can pack on the most "eggs" for your wire length. You'll find that the teardrop shaped beads do a lot of the work for you. They will begin to twist and helix, and create the randomized egg cluster look you want.
Step 4: Closing the Strand
When you reach your desired strand length, aim the last teardrop bead downward.
Curve the length of the remaining wire back up toward the bale, forming a "C" shape that traps the final bead in place.
Use wire nippers to snip away the excess length.Leave 1/8 inch of wire after the last teardrop bead.
Use tweezers to tuck the end of the wire back into the bead cluster. This will securely close off the egg strand and prevent the wire from snagging on clothes.
You've just completed a single strand of octopus eggs!
Step 5: Wear and Enjoy
Pair your pendant with a matching silver chain and off you go! These make elegant gifts for the ocean or cephalopod loving people in your life, or could also be a great accessory for a mermaid cosplay.
If you liked this Ible, please remember to cast a vote for it in the Necklace Challenge.