Make a versatile, 2-in-1 convertible beaded eyeglasses leash / necklace this weekend!

Happy Friday, guys! I've got a brand new beaded jewelry tutorial project that you can whip up in practically no time and that will give you a two-for-one bang for your beading "buck":  a beautiful eyeglass holder necklace that converts to a regular necklace and back again in just seconds.

Here's the simple example I created for the tutorial :

I don't know about you, but I always cringe when I see the mostly cheap, boring and/or cutesy/trendy eyeglass leashes they sell in stores. When selecting eyewear frames we don't have to compromise on style and materials, so why not enjoy the same level of style sophistication and high quality materials in the eyeglass straps that attach to those frames?

I consider eyeglasses chains to be jewelry rather than fashion accessories and I give them the same attention to design and materials as any other type of jewelry. And if I or one of my jewelry clients is going to be wearing the equivalent of a beautiful beaded necklace attached to our eyeglasses or sunglasses, why shouldn't we also have the option of wearing it the other way around as a necklace?

Clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way. When I offer my high-end, one-of-a-kind beaded convertible eyeglasses chain / necklace designs they usually sell out almost immediately. And I personally have a wardrobe of different convertible eyeglasses chain / necklaces that I've designed for my prescription glasses, which I wear only for reading, designing jewelry and other close-up work, and my sunglasses.

There are a few different ways to allow a beaded strand to convert quickly and easily from a necklace to an eyeglass leash and back again. My favorite method is to attach a lobster claw, trigger or spring ring clasp to both ends of the strand, and then to attach a jump ring or split ring to each eyeglass holder end / finding. To wear the strand as an eyeglass leash, simply clip each clasp to the jump ring on the eyeglass holder finding. To wear the strand as a necklace, clip the clasps to a closed jump ring. You can even make a 1.5" to 2" extender chain by linking jump rings and adding a short, beaded drop at one end, which will make the necklace adjustable. Just clip one clasp to the first jump ring in the chain and clip the other clasp to the appropriate link to make the necklace the desired length.

Designing eyeglass chains - especially ones that also can be worn as a necklace - involves a few more challenges than designing beaded necklaces. The beaded strand needs to be fairly light so that it doesn't weight down the eye glasses and make them uncomfortable. Also, the ends of the leash need to be fairly slender and not so dramatic that they would clash with other jewelry being worn at the same time. In fact, sometimes I design them using fairly neutral color palettes that add a bit of sparkle but work with any outfit and play nicely with other jewelry and accessories. For convertible eyeglasses chains, I usually use a not-too-large focal bead or bead cluster in the center for when they are worn as necklaces. If the focal is too large or prominent it will look odd when the strand is facing the other way while being used as an eyeglasses holder. Since all these practical requirements can be somewhat limiting from a design perspective, I often look for small art glass beads with dichroic glass or a bit of gold leaf, or dip into my stash of  rare vintage beads and Swarovski crystals to add some one-of-a-kind style and subtle sophistication without too much size or weight. Sometimes even one special focal bead is enough to take the beaded strand from ordinary to ogle-worthy. Even if you are use less expensive beads and findings, you still can create eyeglass holders that are far superior to what you can find in most stores.

I'll be photographing and sharing some of my other dedicated and convertible eyeglasses leash designs soon to give you an idea of how I work withing the necessary design parameters. Until then, check out my new step-by-step beaded convertible eye glasses leash / necklace tutorial on Squidoo and make one - or a few - this weekend, for yourself, as a gift, or to sell!

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