Baubles crafted from beads in hues that span the rainbow have been cropping up on seemingly every influencer, runway, and editor as of late, serving as playful accessories that add a pop of personal nostalgia to any look. They're basically exact replicas of the handmade beaded jewelry you definitely designed during your childhood, proving that kitsch, color, and handcrafts are in. Take Susan Alexandra's Joyful Hoops Jumbo or Roxanne Assoulin's Just Say It Magic Beaded Bracelet for example, which retail for $118 and $110, respectively. They both consist of technicolor beads strung onto wire or stretchy string, AKA similar materials to those you used as a kid, except rather than costing a mere $2 or $3 per piece, these retail for the same price as 20 lattes. And they're even on the more affordable end of the spectrum!
There's no doubt that the designer versions of the beaded jewelry trend are incredibly cool and high quality (Alexandra also makes all of her pieces in Brooklyn, so an up-charge for labor certainly makes sense), but you can make your own at home for a fraction of the price. If you've got time for some arts and crafts, why not look to modern designs that you like and use them as inspiration to create original styles? You'll be able to customize them by choosing specific charms, bead colors, and words to spell out, so channel your inner child and dream up a few fun pieces.
To get started, first decide what kind of accessory you want to make—earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and even barrettes are all fair game! Once you've chosen your style, head to your favorite craft store like Michael's and select your wire, thread, clip, etc that you'll be adding your beads onto. For stretchy bracelets and chokers, I recommend using a clear stretchy cord rather than an elastic cord. Remember to ensure the diameter of the cord you choose will fit through your chosen beads, and that the thicker the cord, the more durable your jewelry will be. For earrings, most craft store will have bare hoop or fishhook earrings that you can string beads onto ready to go.
Now comes the fun part; choosing your beads! Take a cue from Susan Alexandra and mix crystalline versions with classic opaque ones for an especially playful look. The more color and shapes, the better! Seeing as beads are made in an array of shapes that don't take themselves too seriously (think zoo animals, daisies, and the like), there are infinite ways to really make your pieces your own.
Have an inside joke with your BFF? Why not put a key phrase from it on a bracelet and give it to them as a token of your undying love? Letter beads are so fun to play around with and can also create pieces that are great conversation starters. If you need some inspiration for words to add to your masterpieces, Assoulin's designs are a great place to look.
Sometimes it's cool to be a kid again.