Skull-A-Day 4.0 - Tutorial - #42: Skull and Heart Necklace

Tutorial for Dia de la Abby #42: Skull and Heart Necklace

When I saw these glass microscope slides and silver frames for them, in a craft supply shop, I knew they would make a great necklace. This piece is inspired by love...heart and head (skull). This is represented by an elongated Nazca skull and an anatomical heart.

I have been hunting for inexpensive glass microscope slides for a while, but have yet to find a small amount of them that was overpriced. I like that these from Inkssentials come in different sizes and have ready made frames in different metals to put them in. Before now, you would have to use copper tape, flux, solder and wire to wrap the edges of the glass. Though, I can do this, I don't want to. I like this faster method better.


  • 2 glass microscope slides - Mine are by Inkssentials, but regular ones work too
  • 1 metal frame - Mine is by Inkssentials, but you can use the copper tape, flux, solder and wire technique if you already have those supplies handy...I don't
  • Background paper - I chose black, but you can use a different color or print
  • Sketch book paper - You can use a different kind if wanted. I like the lack of texture with mine and how it works with water colors
  • Watercolor pencils - These give me better control and color depth than traditional water colors
  • A small paint brush - You're going to be working with a small image, so you need a small brush
  • Water - For painting
  • Small scissors - For cutting the image out
  • Glue stick - For adhering the layers
  • Bridal tulle - Since I used a black paper, I wanted to add texture. You can use a different sheer or not sheer fabric. Make sure it's thin.

  • 28 gauge wire in "silver" - You can choose any color. I used this gauge per a recommendation, but in the past, I've used a thicker gauge. I prefer that, because the 28 gauge is very fragile. However, you will learn how I made it less fragile at the ends for securing the toggle clasp
  • Size F metal crochet hook - This makes your chains smaller. You can opt for a smaller or larger hook if you want. It's up to how you want the piece to look. This size hook was easy to use for wire crochet
  • Beads with small holes - I choose a chipped glass style because I like how look with the crochet. You can choose a different kind if wanted. Make sure they have small holes, so the fit nicely on the wire. Larger ones can cause too much weight and strain on the wire. This can cause it to break, which you DON'T want
  • Small container for beads - You can plan out a pattern, but I chose 4 colors, and put them in a bowl to make "bead soup", which is a bit more random
  • Clasp - I used a toggle clasp, but you can use a different kind. It's just a preference thing and because I couldn't locate the chain I normally use for an elongater. I prefer the chain and lobster clasp type, since the final length of the crochet can be hard to judge until you are done.
  • Needle nosed pliers - These will be used for squishing wire and wrapping the loops to attach the clasp
  • Wire nippers/cutters - You can use small or large ones. I couldn't find my small ones, but it worked out since at the end, I cut multiple pieces at once with the large one. This ensured the ends were even
  • 2 beads with larger holes - These will go over the ends of the wire where the clasp will be. This helps make those ends sturdier. You don't want to holes so large, that they will slide down over all the crochet. You'll be placing these over multiple strands of twisted wire, so they should fit tightly over that. You might want to choose a few beads to check size.


1 - Since the frame is made to fit two glass slides and an image, I made this necklace double sided. I used a slide to trace two correct size squares onto black paper (background) and sketch book paper (drawing).

2 - With a pencil, I lightly drew lines about 1/8 inch on the inside edge of the sketch book paper squares, to act as guides for the drawing. In retrospect, I should have made these about 1/4 inch, because I didn't account for the width of the frame edges and drawing room.

3 - I lightly sketched out the images, using a real Nazca skull and an anatomical heart diagram, as guides.

4 - I used an India ink fine drawing pen to refine the lines of the images. 

5 - I used a big pink eraser to erase the pencil lines, but the one on a pencil will do fine.

6 - To paint them, I used a small paint brush to pull paint off watercolor pencils. This gives me better color depth and small detail control. 

7 - I used small scissors to cut around the image. I had intended to stitch through the paper edge with silver thread, but the thickness of the paper barely fit in the frame, so I nixed that plan. 

8 - I cut squares of bridal tulle bigger than the back ground paper. 

9 - I put a glob of glue from a glue stick in the center of the back ground paper. I centered the tulle and pushed it into the glue. 

10 - I used the glue stick to cover the back of the images. I centered them and pushed them on top of the tulle, so adhere them together. 

11 - I placed the glass slides on top and laid something just heavy enough to hold it down while the glue dried. 

12 - After the glue dried, opened the frame, 

13 - Put a glass slide in, 

14 - Put a piece of paper with the image facing the glass 

15 - Put the next piece of paper with the image facing the other way. Make sure they are both upright with the loop for the necklace..vs sideways or upside down. 

16 - Put the last piece of glass in and closed the frame tightly.

You only need basic chain crochet, wire wrapping and braiding skills. I'll include a video to show the basics of this style.

1 - With your beads in a bowl, string them on the wire on the spool in a random or planned order. I tried to put a red bead every 4 beads because it was a bright color, but the others were random. You are going to be making 3 strands of wire crochet, so you can add more beads if needed in between strands. You will need at least 30 beads for each strand...more if you want a longer length.

2 - With the wire, leaving a tail, make a slip knot. Put your hook into that slip knot.

3 - Make 20 chain stitches, just like you would with yarn, but take your time, so the wire doesn't kink.

4 - Slide a bead up to your hook and make a chain stitch. This is called beaded crochet. Continue doing this 29 more times, for a total of 30 beaded chain stitches. You can do more, if you want your length to be longer.

5 - Make 20 more chain stitches (without beads).

6 - Leave a tail. Use the wire cutters to cut the wire. Pull the tail tightly, so the end is secure.


7 - For the one strand with the pendant, you will want to string on 15 beads, the pendant and 15 more beads. I crocheted the pendant in, but you could attach it with a jump ring after the necklace is finished.

8 - Leaving a tail, make a slip knot.

9 - Make 20 chain stitches

10 - Make 15 beaded chain stitches

11 - Slid the pendant up to the hook. Make a chain stitch.

12 - Make 15 more beaded chain stitches.

13 - Make 20 more chain stitches without beads.

14 - Leave a tail. Use the wire cutters to cut the wire. Pull the tail tightly, so the end is secure.

15 - Put the ends together, lining them up according to where the crochet starts.

16 - Gently twist the tails together. This is just to bind them together a bit. It doesn't need to super tight.

17 - Braid the strands together. I had to do this part a few times, because the beaded chains kept being very uneven at the end. It's not going to be perfect, but try to keep the pendant centered as best as possible.

18 - Twist the ending tails together loosely.

19 - About 5 chains down on the end, squish them together by hand. Use the pliers to gently, but tightly twist them together. Since they are already braided, they should bind fairly easy.

I found using the traditional method of just twisting the tails with the thin wire, made the ends too fragile and mine even broke off. This thicker method will be sturdier.

20 - Use the wire cutters to cut off the tails a little before the twisting. There should be three short tails left in each side, that are twisted together.

21 - Slide one of the large holed beads on the twisted and bound wire. If it doesn't fit, use the pliers to compact the wire more until the bead does fit...or choose a bead with a slightly larger hole.

22 - By the bead, use the pliers to start a loop for the clasp. Slide one side of the toggle clasp on (or the chain or lobster clasp) and twist the wire around below it to secure it.

Repeat steps 19-22 for the other side, using the other piece for your clasp.

Here is a video showing the basic method. My method is a variation on this style. I used this style with thicker gauge wire and have great success.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...