Create beautiful pearl necklaces, bracelets, and earrings! In this tutorial, we’ll give simple pearl knotting steps for you to follow so you can start designing your own classic pearl jewelry!
PEARL KNOTTING STEPS
STEP ONE: Unwind the silk thread from its spool and wind it around your hand to stretch the thread and smooth out the kinks a little bit.
STEP TWO: Make a double or triple knot at the end of the thread (the non-needle end) about 2” from the end and thread a clam shell on so that the knot slides inside it. Leave the clam shell open until all the pearls are knotted.
STEP THREE: Make your first knot above the clam shell. This will protect the first pearl from rubbing against the metal of the clam shell.
STEP FOUR: Place the clam shell in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Bring the clam shell under, behind, and over your hand, crossing over the long thread.
STEP FIVE: Bring the clam shell under the long thread, to start making a knot.
STEP SIX: Place the tweezers through the loop of the knot and grasp the thread at the top of the clam shell and hold tight against the clam shell.
STEP SEVEN: Release your non-dominant hand from the loop. While still holding the thread in the tweezers and against the clam shell, begin to pull the loop tight against the tweezers. You want the front part of the loop to slide under the front prong of your tweezers so that the knot is wrapped tightly only around the back prong of your tweezers.
STEP EIGHT: Carefully release your tweezers from the knot. Grasp the thread above the loose knot with your tweezers and begin to slide the knot down towards the clam shell, tightening the knot against the clam shell.
STEP NINE: Thread all your pearls onto the thread.
STEP TEN: Slide the first pearl down, firmly against the knot that you just made above the clam shell. Leave the other pearls further up on the thread, making sure to give yourself space to make a new knot. And the process of creating a new knot begins again. Repeat steps 4 – 8, now with the pearl and clam shell together.
STEP ELEVEN: Place the pearl and clam shell in the palm of your non-dominant hand; bring both the pearl and clam shell under, behind and over your hand, crossing over the long thread. Bring both the pearl and clam shell under the long thread to start making a knot.
STEP TWELVE: Place the tweezers through the loop of the knot and grasp the thread at the top of the pearl and tight against the pearl.
STEP THIRTEEN: Release your non-dominant hand from the loop. While still holding the thread in the tweezers, against the pearl, begin to pull the loop tight against the tweezers. You want the front part of the loop to slide under the front prong of your tweezers so that the knot is wrapped tightly only around the back prong of your tweezers.
STEP FOURTEEN: Carefully release your tweezers from the knot. Grasp the thread above the loose knot with your tweezers and begin to slide the knot down towards the pearl, tightening the knot against the pearl. At any time if you see that you will not get a tight knot snug against the pearl, use an awl to loosen the knot and try again. You want to do this before the knot is tight.
STEP FIFTEEN: Slide the next pearl down firmly against the last knot made and make a new knot.
STEP SIXTEEN: Continue the knotting technique until all the pearls have been added and knotted in between.
STEP SEVENTEEN: Remember to knot on the top of the last pearl before sliding your last clam shell onto the thread. Notice in the photo the direction of the last clam shell being added. The last step is to make a double knot inside the last clam shell. Yes, it’s a little tricky!
STEP EIGHTEEN: Before closing up each clam shell, place a dab of G-S hypo cement glue on the double knot inside each clam shell, careful to not get any glue on the pearls, and let it dry for a few minutes. Trim the extra thread and close each clam shell using flat nose or chain nose pliers. Silk thread is slippery and tends to fray so this is why I suggest placing a dab of glue on the double knots inside the clam shells.
STEP NINETEEN: Attach a clasp and closure using jump rings and voila! You have a beautiful, classic pearl necklace to wear.
TIP 1: Check your necklace regularly to see if the pearls are still snug in between knots. Silk thread is a natural fiber that stretches from regular wear and deteriorates over time from the natural oils on your skin. You may need to re-knot your necklace every couple of years.
TIP 2: Wear your pearl necklace after applying make-up, hairspray of perfume. Before you store away your pearl necklace, run it through a damp cloth a few times then wipe them dry. Allow the silk thread to completely dry before storing your necklace away. Do not soak your necklace in water, jewelry cleaner or ultrasonic cleaner.
TIP 3: Use a jewelry pouch to store your pearl necklace.