Key chain crafts have come a long way from the woven plastic Boy Scout projects of the past. With higher quality adornments like glass beads and silver charms, beaded key chains are both function and beautiful. Easy to make as a gift or to keep yourself, beaded key chains will add a touch of class to your jeans pocket or key-bowl. Here's how to get started.
Select your key ring style. There are a few different types of key ring styles you can choose from as your base for your beaded key chain. Key "rings" are the most popular and recognisable style with their traditional split circle but you can also use a small caribinier (used for climbing traditionally) or even a beaded chain. Depending on how many keys you think the key ring will need to hold, you may select the most functional style for your base key chain.
Select your beads. Choose quality beads for key rings for adults, specifically glass beads. Plastic beads are fine for kids, but to make your key chain into a piece of jewellery you want to choose beautiful colours and shapes in your beads.
Lay out your bead patterns. Lay your beads out on a piece of fabric so they don't roll away. You can repeat a pattern, go from largest to smallest or alternate colours on your bead chain. Make each "string" of beads between 4 and 6 inches long and plan to use three strands per key chain.
Tie onto the jump ring. Tie a 10-inch piece of nylon beading thread of fishing line onto your jump ring. Be sure the knot is tight and secure. String the beads on the line and end the string with a small bead and a tight knot to secure. If the hole in the bead is too big to hold the knot, simply wrap the nylon thread around the last bead and knot to secure.
Make your strands. Repeat the beading procedure until you have three strands of beads on your jump ring. Make each strand a little bit different in length for added interest. Each strand can also have different types of beads if you choose, but should have a cohesive colour theme.
Attach the jump ring to the key chain. Using a needle nose pliers open the jump ring a bit and attach to the key chain. Squeeze the jump ring closed to secure it to the key chain. Be sure the jump ring can move around the key chain easily so that it doesn't make attaching keys difficult.
Make a theme key chain by mixing beads and charms that have some significance to the chain's owner. You may also include a strand that spells out the owner's name to make identification easier.
Don't abuse your key chain as although the beading nylon is very sturdy, it will break if mistreated. For a beaded key chain that can take more abuse, use an eye pin to hold the beads instead of thread.