How to Make Lanyards with Silicone Beads
Lanyards are a great way to display badges, IDs, keys or other small items. Making your own lanyards allows you to customize them to match your style or purpose. Silicone beads are a popular choice for lanyards because they are durable, flexible and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. With a few simple supplies, you can easily make your own silicone beaded lanyards at home.
Select Your Materials
You just need a few supplies to get started making lanyards with silicone beads:
- Silicone beads - These come in an array of colors, styles and sizes. Select beads that complement each other and fit with your intended design. Popular options include round, tube and alphabet beads.
- Lanyard cord - Nylon or polyester lanyard cording works best. Choose a thickness that matches the size of your bead holes. 1mm or 2mm cords are common.
- Lanyard hook or swivel clip - The plastic hook allows you to easily attach your lanyard to a badge or keys. Get split ring hooks for attaching multiple items.
- Beading awl or needle - Use this to thread your cording through the silicone bead holes. Get a large eye awl or needle to make threading easier.
- Scissors - Scissors help cut your lanyard cording to size.
Optional items include crimp beads or covers to finish lanyard ends and pattern templates to map out bead designs. Lanyard making kits sold online or in craft stores contain all the supplies you need.
Plan Your Design
Take some time to map out the pattern and colors for your lanyard. Planning your design will make the process easier. Here are some tips:
- Make a template showing the order and placement of beads. Align beads in repeating patterns or alternate colors.
- Select focal beads that stand out among decorative accent beads. Place focal beads at even intervals to create a balanced look.
- Choose 10-20 silicone beads for a single lanyard, depending on bead sizes. Too many beads will make lanyards bulky.
- Match the size of beads to the lanyard cord thickness so beads sit flush against each other without gaps.
- Color coordinate beads into complementary palettes. Contrasting and bright colors work best for visibility.
Once you have a design in mind, gather your materials and get ready to start threading your beads.
Thread the Beads Onto the Lanyard Cording
The fun part of the project is finally stringing all your beads onto the lanyard cording following your premade design. Here is how to get started:
- Cut a piece of lanyard cording about 36 inches long. This leaves extra length for adjusting the loop size.
- Attach the lanyard hook or swivel clip at one end of the cording. Secure tightly with a double knot.
- Thread the beading awl or needle with the open end of the cording.
- Following your bead pattern, thread the awl through the first silicone bead, pulling the cording through the bead's hole.
- Continue threading beads one at a time onto the cording. Push beads gently together to remove gaps.
- When your design is complete, knot the open end of the cording tightly. Trim excess cord.
- For a more finished look, cover cord ends with crimp beads or covers. Simply crimp the covers over the knotted ends with pliers.
Adjusting Length and Attaching Badge
Once your lanyard is fully beaded, you can adjust the length to fit comfortably around your neck for wearing. Here's how:
- Slip the lanyard around your neck and overlap the beaded section to form a loop.
- Allow enough overlapping cord so the loop is loose enough to fit over your head without straining.
- Slide beads along the cording to widen or tighten the loop as needed. Secure with a tight double knot.
- Use the hook or clip to attach your badge, ID or keys to the finished lanyard. For multiple items, add a split ring to the end.
- Check that your lanyard fits properly around your neck before trimming excess cord at the knot.
Tips and Inspiration
- Make matching lanyards for a group using coordinated colors and bead patterns.
- Use alphabet beads to spell out names, words or short phrases.
- Glue magnets to the back of beaded lanyards to display them on lockers or refrigerators.
- Give beaded lanyard gifts to crafty friends by including kits with supplies.
- Look for pattern inspiration online on craft sites like Pinterest. Repurpose bead designs from jewelry or keychains.
- Use gaps between beads to display small charms, gems or buttons by gluing them directly to the cording.
Lanyards with silicone beads make great DIY crafts that are simple enough for beginners. Follow the above steps to create custom lanyards using your choice of colors and designs. Make them for yourself or give personalized handmade gifts anytime of year. With an array of options for beads and materials, you can make unique beaded lanyards that show off your style.