Making Illusion Necklaces Without Crimp Beads

Isolated necklace made of shells. image by Saskia Massink from

Things You'll Need

  • Clear cord
  • Acrylic paint
  • Beads
  • Glue
  • Pliers
  • Bead tips
  • Clasp

Illusion necklaces are those necklaces that appear as if the beads are floating around the wearer’s neck without being supported by a string. The most common way to make an illusion necklace is to use transparent cord to support the beads and to keep each individual bead in place with crimp beads. However, jewelry designers who feel that crimp beads would take away from their design use other options to secure the beads in place.

Design your necklace using light beads. Because you only place a bead ever inch or so on a very light string to make an illusion necklace, using heavy beads will cause your cord to kink, ruining the drape of your necklace.

Purchase a transparent cord to make your jewelry. Many craft stores will carry these cords; if you do not have a local craft store, you can probably buy thin fishing line and it will work just as well. If you would like to purchase jewelry-making cord, you can shop online from a reputable dealer.

Decide how far apart you want your beads and then measure and mark your cord. One easy trick that some jewelry designers use is to dot a tiny bead of acrylic paint at every place where a bead is supposed to go. If the bead slides over the paint, then nobody will see if; if the bead is slightly off to the side, then you can just scrape off the paint with your fingernail.

Tie a knot over your first dot of paint and then slide your bead over it. If the knot is too small, you can take the bead off, double-knot it, and try again. Your knot should be small enough that your bead could slide over it, but with some resistance. Take off the bead once you have made sure that it can fit over the knot.

Dot a bead of craft glue or super glue over the knot in the cord, slide your bead over the knot, and hold it for a few seconds to secure it. Superglue can dry very quickly, but you may have to wait for up to 24 hours for craft glues to dry.

Tie the next knot (either single or double) over the next acrylic paint dot, add a tiny bit of glue, and slide the next bead over that knot. Continue to repeat this process until you have added beads over every dot of acrylic paint.

String a bead tip onto the end of your cord and tie a large knot at its end. Then close the bead tip using pliers. Repeat for the other side of the cord.

Finish your illusion necklace by attaching a clasp to one of your bead tips. Even if you used superglue, you should wait a few hours to wear your necklace.


  • "The Beader's Bible"; Dorothy Wod; 2008

About the Author

Ethan Schwartz has been a scientific and freelance writer for a year, writing scientific literature for "Gene Therapy" and articles on education, health and personal finance for eHow. Schwartz graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences and will begin medical school in July 2010.

Photo Credits

  • Isolated necklace made of shells. image by Saskia Massink from