Picture Perfect

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Show off your favourite photos and a cascade of pretty beads in this gorgeous kilt pin brooch. By Lisa Floyd.

Lisa is a self-employed designer/maker with her own small business, Chilichic Jewellery. Having recently trained as a tutor she also teaches jewellery making at an adult education centre. Originally an idea for a workshop, this delightful brooch design has developed to follow a floral and leaf theme and will make an ideal gift. Display treasured photos on a kilt pin, decorated with embellished beads and lots of detailing. You can incorporate a myriad of finishes and bead choices to help make the brooch as pretty as a picture.



50mm kilt pin with loops

25mm photo frame with acetate insert

35cm (approx.) trace or curb chain

2mm and 3mm plain round metal beads selection

2mm crimp beads

50mm soft headpins 

0.4mm (26 gauge) beading wire

Metal bead caps assorted

Metal flower bead charm

Metal bead assortment (fluted; filigree; plain), various sizes

Glass bead mix (including flower and leaf shapes)

0.46mm (25 gauge) 7-strand bright tigertail thread

2-sided image, 2cm x 2cm




3 x frame links

Oval jumprings

T-bar flower clasp

Dyed shell leaf beads

0.6mm (23 gauge) wire (create links for leaves)

Assorted glass and metal bead droppers/charms



frame link
1.5mm (15 gauge) wire
0.4mm (26 gauge) wire


Designer tips:

Black and white images look good and lots of effects can be created using photo printing programs.

Display images on both sides of the frames.

The images can be swapped easily so choose plenty of pictures for different looks.



All materials from:









Step 1

Select glass beads in a range of shapes, sizes and colour tones plus several metal beads in various shapes and finishes. Pick four main glass beads and loosely arrange along with kilt pin, frame and chain to identify lengths required. Aim for overall length of chains and beads, left to right, of approx. 9cm, 6cm, 10cm and 8cm to give an asymmetric effect. Avoid symmetry when choosing and placing all the beads.



Step 2

Turn the four main beads into droppers by combining with bead caps and 2mm metal beads on 50mm soft headpins and forming wrapped loops on each. For the top drilled beads get creative by turning a headpin, a 2mm bead and a decorative bead cap into a flower, using the rest of the headpin to make the wrapped loop. Open up the last link on chain lengths and attach a relevant bead.



Step 3

Use flat pliers to open up links. Attach each chain length directly onto the kilt pin in between the pin's loops, and the frame to centre loop with three chain links. Place a crimp bead onto tigertail and thread through one kilt pin loop, double back through the crimp. Pull down to give two good lengths ready to attach beads, pushing the crimp up tightly. Secure with a crimping tool or snipe nose pliers.



Step 4

The remainder of the beads will sit along the tigertail. Choose smaller glass beads for the top area of the brooch, increasing in size towards the bottom, keeping spaces in between. Use metal beads on either side, securing a crimp bead under each to keep in place. Gauge the lengths required in relation to the chain, keeping one length longer than the other on each section and beads all positioned slightly differently.



Step 5

Repeat this theme for each loop. Alter the lengths for the outer sections so they become gradually shorter, keeping the main feature beads the longest. Snip the tigertail under the last crimps on each section. Laying the pieces down flat will help judge where to place the beads and cut the thread. Create detail by adding a metal flower charm to the frame and intersperse the glass beads with various fancy metal beads.



Step 6

Take five soft 50mm headpins and thread on a selection of glass beads, metal beads and bead caps to create 'flower'-style features. Choose smaller beads and flower shapes combined with metal bead caps to make each individual piece. Place 2mm metal beads at the back. The finished features should be similar in size when finished and need to fit comfortably on the kilt pin, threaded through each loop.



Step 7

Decide where each feature will sit and starting with end one, thread through a loop
so the detail is at the front of the kilt pin. Hold in place and wrap the headpin tightly and neatly around the pin's bar at least twice before wrapping the remainder around the
2mm metal beads at the back of the feature. Use snipe nose pliers to pull tight. Repeat for each feature.



Step 8

Use a generous length of 0.4mm wire, starting at one end and leaving spare wire to finish later. Wrap very tightly around the kilt pin bar working in one direction and over-lapping the chain links as you reach them. Ensure the chain lengths sit properly on the pin and 'fall' freely. Continue wrapping along pin and neatly around each bead feature to keep in place. Cut and wrap neatly to finish.



Step 9

The picture selection can include photos, original images or free downloads from the Internet, the choice is yours. The brooch insert is approx. 2cm x 2cm and the bracelet links 1.2cm x 1.2cm. Some printers can do sample sizes that are ideal; you can copy and paste into a frame on publisher or get them printed at a photo shop. Decide which images and use the plastic inserts as templates to cut to size.


EXTRA PROJECTS: make a bracelet and a ring

This bracelet features photo frame links, leaves, bead/metal charms
and a stunning flower T-bar clasp, all connected with oval links.

To make a ring, shape 1.5mm wire into a 'U' shape, add frame link and beads, cut and file. Flatten the ends to secure and wrap with 0.4mm
wire to finish.

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