On the 5th Day of Christmas: How to make jewelry clusters

This month, ABS contributors are sharing tutorials for fun beaded projects. The first thing that jumped to mind was my tutorial on how to make jewelry clusters! They are one of my very favorite things to do, and something I employed regularly when I had my jewelry shop. Since this is super popular on my blog, I thought ABS readers would get a kick out of seeing it here, too.



* I like tight clusters, ones that don’t move, so I tend to wiggle the top rondelle down a little and hold it in place with my pliers as I make a closed loop. As I wrap the loop closed, those wraps hold the cluster in place.

* If I’m making cluster earrings, I do each step for both sides before moving on to the next to make sure they are even.

* I like 4mm rondelles the best. 3mm is a little small, so you might need more trios to make this look nice and full (and not droopy). 5mm rondelles may need only 4 trios instead of 5 – it depends, so have extra supplies on hand as you work.

* I like mixing in other shapes, too, like tiny brios, wheels, rounds, and buttons – it gives the cluster a nifty and different look.

* I like 26ga headpins for rondelles because some just wouldn’t take 24ga. Rather than have a ton of each size headpin on hand (since I made my own), or manually drilling out each hole (not fun), I went with the smaller size. Because I wrap them tight, they remain secure, and no stress occurs on the loops from constant movement. If the rondelles you’re working with will fit 24ga, and you’d prefer that size, go for it.

* Similarly, if you prefer using a thicker gauge for the headpin, like 22ga to 18ga, those work just fine, too. The only change you might have to do is make the third loop a little wider to accommodate the bigger gauge (this depends on how small you make your loops in the first place).

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14 Comment

  1. TesoriTrovati
    December 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Ah….so THAT is how you did that! I have some of your jewelry with the clusters and I love them. I think I will wear my necklace tomorrow! Or the earrings! Thanks for the advice about the trios. No wonder my clusters come out wonky! Enjoy the day. Erin

  2. Rebecca
    December 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    My pictures aren't showing! Not on the 4th day either….will check back later as I always loved your clusters Brandi!

  3. freshbakeddesigns
    December 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks so much, Brandi. I always wondered how to get the full, lush look in bead clusters. You have clearly solved this for many of us. Great tutorial.

  4. sandi m
    December 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I've always admired your clusters. They are so lush.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Pamela770
    December 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to try this 🙂

  6. Ada Gavris
    December 13, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Thanks for sharing!Good instructions!

  7. easycinderella
    December 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Love this tute. Just one question. How do you go about attaching if you opt for the briolette?

    1. Brandi Hussey
      December 14, 2012 at 12:11 am

      The brio will take the place of the headpin. So, wrap the brio like normal, with the wire down around the hole, and leave the top brio wire (the one you'd loop to attach it to another component) open. Stack the trios onto that top wire, slide the extra rondelle on top, then loop the wire closed.

      Basically, you're sandwiching the trios between the brio and the loop. Does that help?

  8. Attorney Angela Lund-Logan
    December 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. Think I am going to try this out tonight.

  9. Cindy
    December 14, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I too loved these clusters, Brandi! What gorgeous results and such a clear and concise tutorial. Makes me miss the days when you posted shots of your jewelry!

  10. Gardanne
    December 14, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Great tutorial Brandi, always wondered how that was done.

  11. easycinderella
    December 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Yes it helps! Thank you so much!

  12. JanelDudleyBeads
    December 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I love the way that looks, will have to give it a try.

  13. Jean
    December 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I love this!!! jean

Comments are closed.