DIY Ombre Bead Necklace

If you know me, you know that I’m much more likely to pin a great craft project than I am to actually try it out. These days, between the kid, work, freelance and, you know, running my own craft biz, the opportunities to bust out a just-for-fun craft project are somewhat few and far between. That said, I totally acknowledge that it’s those opportunities to break out of my comfort zone and try something new that keep the creative juices flowing. So I decided to not only give a new project a try, I’m doing a tutorial, too. Because what good is a project if you can’t share it with the internet, right? ; )

So this project was inspired by the lovely painted bead necklaces I’ve seen around, including one that I purchase from Oceanne at the Indieana Handicraft Exchange over the summer. This Loves That and Totinette make examples that I’ve been drooling over for months, too.


– Unfinished wooden beads

– Cord/string/chain/ribbon to make the necklace

– Acrylic craft paint – white plus one color of your choice

– Small paintbrush

– Skewers or extra paintbrushes

– Water cup

– Palette or other surface to mix paint

– Spray sealer (optional)

Select the beads you’d like to use. I like the look of a little size contrast so I used three 20mm and one 25mm beads for my necklace. Keep in mind that the number of beads you use will determine how many shades of paint you’ll need to mix— more beads equal more subtle gradation in color.

Mix paint for each of your beads using a ratio of white to your selected color (in my case aqua). For the darkest color, I used four drops aqua to on drop white. The next shade was three drops aqua to two drops white, then two drops aqua to three drops white and finally one drop qua to four drops white for the lightest shade. Since the beads are small, you really won’t need to mix more than those five drops unless you plan on painting multiple coats.

The secret to making the beads easy to paint is to thread them onto a skewer or even another paintbrush so you don’t have to hold them with your fingers to paint all sides. Test ahead of time to make sure the skewer you use has a snug fit.

Paint all sides of the bead and let dry. The beads tend to soak the paint up, so dry time will be 1-5 minutes depending on how thickly you applied the paint.

Optional—if you like a less matte look, seal the dry beads with a product like Modge Podge or a glossy finish acrylic spray sealer to add shine.

Thread your dry beads onto a chord and determine the length you like best. Tie in back and voila!, a fun ombre necklace.


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