How to Make a Bib Necklace: Falling Water Tutorial

Ever wanted to know how to make a bib necklace?  There are many many ways to create this trendy look, but here’s my favorite.  This bib necklace tutorial includes detailed instructions, a printable PDF and even links to a beading kit that will make it easier (and cheaper!) to find all the beading materials to create your own Falling Water necklace.

A customer of mine said it best, “The way it lays is so perfect it seems magical. And I love that it is just heavy enough to remind me that it is made of rocks and sea creatures.”  This necklace is my favorite creation so far! Dripping with pearls, sea-green semi-precious stones, and tinkling shell coins. Accented with beautiful aqua terra jasper, a sprinkling of semi-precious aqua beads and a large natural turquoise bead (something blue!)

Of course you love it!  Who wouldn’t?  But you aren’t ready to shell out $140 to call it your own?  Well, I’ve got good news, with $52 for materials, 6 hours of your time and these instructions, you can make one for your very own!  Something this glamorous ought to be shared!!  Never made a hand-knotted necklace before?  See this Blog Post for a video tutorial on how to hand knot a beaded necklace.

Bib Necklace Beading Kit

The Falling Water necklace is made with green aventurine chips, freshwater pearls, mussel-shell coins and shell beads and accented with bright, stabilized turquoise and unique aqua terra jasper beads.  Please feel free to source materials yourself, I purchase most of them from Fire Mountain Gems.  However, since I receive such a high discount when I order in quantity, I’m offering Falling Water Kits in my Etsy shop, for less than you’d pay at Fire Mountain, complete with a color printout of the beading chart and instructions. 

Finished necklace will measure 17″ around the neck.
Materials you will need (included in the Falling Water Kits):

  • 1 – silver-plated toggle clasp, 15.5x12mm
  • 75 – silver-plated jump-rings, 5mm
  • 73 – stainless steel split-rings, 5mm
  • 21 – silver-plated bead-tips, 2.6mm
  • 28 – mother-of-pearl cube beads 7x6mm
  • 50 – freshwater pearls, white rice, 5-7mm
  • 59 – green aventurine chips
  • 99 – square-cut, black-lip shell chips 6-9mm
  • 33 – yellow-dyed 15mm mussel-shell coins
  • 31 – natural 15mm mussel-shell coins
  • 10 – light-turquoise-dyed 15mm mussel-shell coins
  • 1 – stabilized turquoise nugget,small-medium
  • 3 – square aqua terra jasper beads, 10x10mm
  • 4 – round green aventurine beads, 4mm
  • 20 yds – size F silk beading thread, light green or grey
  • Hypo Cement (to keep end-knots from unraveling)
  • 2 – very fine, “wide-eye”, wire beading needles 
  • 1 – strong tapestry needle for pulling the knots tight

You’ll also need 1 or 2 pairs of small, smooth-jawed beading pliers.
A color printout of the beading chart is also included in the kit, or you may click on the picture of the beading chart below to download, view or print a PDF version of the beading chart:

This project is best done on a cloth to keep beads and findings from skittering all over the place.

First, get out all your mussel-shell coins (keeping different colors separate) and attach a silver-plated jump ring and a stainless steel spring ring to each one using your pliers (as in the pictures):

Next, you’ll want to string the strands that hang down from the necklace’s base strand.  I recommend starting at one side of the bead chart and working across, keeping the finished strands lined up in order on your table to keep them from getting mixed up.

  • Cut off an appropriate length of silk thread (depending on the length of the strand you are making) 
  • Thread one end through the bead tip as shown and string on all the materials of that strand according to the bead chart (don’t make any knots during this phase,) then go back through the holes of every bead and split-ring, except the last one at the bottom, and thread back through the bead tip.  

  • Pull the thread through, pushing down the materials so they’re all snug against each other.  Then with the two strands, tie a regular old granny knot, as shown, two times so that you’ve made a square knot as in the second picture.  Dab a little bit of hypo cement on the knot, close the bead tip using pliers and snip off the leftover string.  
  • Do this for each hanging strand across the chart, keeping them lined up in order on your work table to avoid confusion later.

Now you’re ready to thread the necklace’s base strand, incorporating all those hanging strands you just finished.

  • Start with two lengths of silk thread, about 40″ long, held together and threaded together on the beading needle.  
  • Tie a simple, tight, overhand knot in one end and snip off excess string, so that when threaded into the bead tip, it doesn’t stick out.  Thread into the bead tip and dab with hypo cement.  Close bead tip with pliers.
  • Begin beading according to the chart (watch the instructional video on hand knotting, if you’ve never done it before) knotting after each bead (but not between square shell chips when they are strung together in a row, they look better without knots in between) and threading through the holes in the bead tips of the strands you’ve already completed as indicated in the chart.  There is no need to knot after adding the dangling strands, just add the next bead and then knot.  
  • Repeat this until the last bead.  Don’t make a knot after the last bead, thread the strings through the last bead tip and then make a knot, pulling very snug against the knotting needle to ensure that no space is left between the bead tip and the last bead.  
  • Snip off the string so that it won’t stick out of the bead tip, apply a dab of hypo cement and close the bead tip with the pliers.

Now all that’s left is to attach the clasp pieces to each end’s bead tip via a jump ring, and Voila!  You did it!

No Comments


Thanks Laura! I’m not sure which handmade jewelry design pages you mean? Do you have the link of where you got here from?


I’ve been collecting bits and bobs for ages to make a necklace but never quite found the right combination. This is perfect! Thank you for posting it.


I did it–with no beading experience whatsoever, and I’m very pleased with the results! Thanks for such descriptive instructions. I can’t wait to wear it!



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