For many people, the beads are what draw them to an eyeglass chain project, and it's the beads that will make your gift one-of-a-kind. A few quality glass beads can add to the chain's beauty, Bergmann says, but stick with mostly lightweight beads so you don't end up with a heavy piece of jewelry. Choose a variety of shapes, colors and patterns.
"There are all sorts of beads that are pretty and artsy, where it's not just the Plain Jane style of lanyard," she says.
For a bold look, Sacia says, mix different types of colorful beads and colored wire and rings. If you're going for elegance, use a metal chain with occasional pearls or crystal beads throughout. For an earthy mom, try a brushed metal chain or leather with natural-looking wood beads.
Depending on the style of chain, your list of tools and supplies could include jewelry wire, double jump rings similar to key rings, crimp beads to secure the end of wire, crimp covers to disguise end knots, side cutters to trim wire, and jewelry and crimping pliers. If you're creating a traditional chain, you'll need eyeglass connectors, which are the cording that slips onto the sides of glasses.
Making a basic chain takes only a few steps. Many projects will use jewelry wire cut to 34 inches or longer depending on your preference.
From there, add one eyeglass connector on a double jump ring, attach that to the jewelry wire, and place the crimp bead and crimp cover. Then string the beads in your desired pattern. Add the second eyeglass connector to a double jump ring and place it on the other end of the beaded wire. Finish that end by attaching another crimp bead and crimp cover.
Voila, you've got a hand-crafted piece of jewelry.
If you're a beginner and unsure about technique, you can buy pre-made jewelry to serve as the beaded chain and then remove the clasps and attach eyeglass connectors. You'll still be creating a handmade item, and you'll gain some jewelry-making experience for future projects.