Embroidery Library

Beaded Lace Necklace


The classic owl pendant from the 70s is back -- and made with freestanding lace and beads. You will love wearing this necklace as much as you loved platform shoes, flared plaid pants, and Barry Manilow.

Dress up your favorite outfit with this fabulous beaded pendant. Or, hang it in your kitchen window, or car's rear view mirror. Glass amber beads really make this necklace sparkle in the sunlight.

The lace owl is approximately 1 3/4 inches wide x 3 inches high.

Special Project Notes:

You can use either 40 weight rayon thread or 30 � 35 weight cotton thread. 

I use Coats and Clark 30 and 35 weight cotton thread. It's labeled as Mercerized ELS Cotton for Machine Quilting & Crafts; Machine Quilting; or All Purpose. I find Coats and Clark cotton thread at JoAnn's. I've also used Madeira Cotona, which is a 30 weight cotton thread.

I use the 30 - 35 weight cotton thread both in the bobbin (I wind my own bobbins) and in the top (needle).

A note about water-soluble stabilizers and needles:

There are many, many different brands of water-soluble stabilizer available. Some are thin and light, some are fibrous, and some are thick and heavy. It can be confusing to pick the right one for your lace project.

We've digitized and stitched thousands of freestanding lace designs, and have consistently excellent results with Sulky Ultra Solvy (the heavy weight water-soluble stabilizer by Sulky) and Vilene, a fibrous water-soluble stabilizer. We order Vilene from www.pointetopointe.com.

Use a sharp needle (as opposed to an embroidery needle) when embroidering onto water-soluble stabilizer - especially if using the "plastic-looking" kind (such as Sulky Ultra Solvy). An embroidery needle has a larger point, which makes larger holes in the water-soluble stabilizer, leading to tearing and misalignment.


Supplies needed:

** Water-soluble stabilizer
** Paper towels
** Fabric glue
** Assorted beads
** Necklace clasps (we used barrel clasps)
** Bead wire (we used 26 gauge)
** Bead stringing wire (we used size 0.15 inches or .38mm)
** Needle-nosed pliers or beading pliers

Designs used:

** Retro Owl (Lace)

Embroidering the lace

To embroider the lace, hoop one piece of water-soluble stabilizer (WSS). We used Sulky Ultra Solvy.

Kenny has tested different brands of WSS to see which works best. To see how different brands hold up when used with freestanding lace, click here.

Because freestanding lace can be seen from both sides, the bobbin thread should match the top thread. Wind a bobbin with the same thread that you will be using in the needle.


Embroider the design. We use a number 11 sharp needle when embroidering freestanding lace.

After the design has been embroidered, unhoop the WSS and cut away the excess. Trim as close to the embroidery as possible without cutting any of the stitches.

Soak the lace in hot water from the tap until the stabilizer has dissolved.

After soaking, blot the lace with paper towels.

Assembling the necklace

Once the lace is dry, the pendant can be assembled. First, we will add beads to the bottom of the lace owl by attaching them to the tail. Cut a piece of bead wire to about 3 1/2 inches ling. Insert a small bead on one end of the wire. Bend the wire up and around and twist the bead in place. Use the pliers to bend the end wire flat.

Add beads to the wire leaving about 1/2 inch of wire open on the opposite end. Thread the open end of the wire through the loop on the bottom of the lace. Then, twist the wire around itself and bend the end flat.

We added beads to enhance the owl's eyes. To do this, add a drop of fabric glue on the lace and press the beads in place.

To add the beads to the wings, cut two pieces of wire to about 2 inches long. Add a small bead to one end of each piece of wire, add beads and attach them to the side of the wings.  Attach the wire to the lace as you did with the tail.

Next, we will add the necklace to the pendant. You can make the necklace any length you like. We are cutting the bead stringing wire to about 34 inches long. Place the ends of the wire together and thread the ends through the loop of the lace.

Then tread the ends through the loop on the opposite end of the wire and pull the wire tight against the lace.

Add beads to each strand of wire, leaving about 1 1/4 inches open on each end. Then tie the open ends of the wire to the loops on the clasps. 

What a hoot! This dazzling owl pendant is ready to wear anywhere!

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Products used in this Project:

Retro Monkey (Lace) $3.99

Available in 1 Size:

2.50" x 3.09"

Retro Frog (Lace) $3.99

Available in 1 Size:

2.89" x 3.09"

Retro Owl (Lace) $3.99

Available in 1 Size:

1.68" x 3.10"