Belting it Out

64 Arts

Back in my belly-dance days I was completely enamoured by the sparkling, jingling coin belts, the beaded hip belts and more sequins than you could shake a sequined dance cane at. But all of those things cost money–those costumes were hand-beaded and you paid for every stitch.

What’s a just-over-broke single girl to do?

Beaded Belt over LBD

Beaded Belt with a Little Black Dress

Get crafty, of course.

There are some things best left to the pros but many things you can do yourself if you’ve got the time on your hands (perched in front of a Lifetime movie marathon comes to mind). After all, budget is one of the main reasons many choose to d-i-y. Today’s project isn’t just for the dancers–leave off the bells (maybe even the extra chains) and you’ve got a great belt to jazz up a little black dress or to sling over your jeans for a night out with the girls.

Now, I made this belt years ago and don’t really have a use for a second one, so this won’t be a step-by-step tutorial. It did get broken at some point and one of the links lost so I can show you that as I replace it. Otherwise, the basic procedure is easy enough.

What You’ll Need:

  • Small-link chain
  • Lobster-claw clasp
  • Beads: e-beads, focal beads, and metal-toned spacers
  • Beading wire
  • Basic jewelry tools (needle-nose and round-nose pliers, wire cutters)
Beaded Belt laid out in a circle on the floor

This belt is long--I'd need a panoramic lens to get it all in straight!

Putting it all together:

  1. Measure 2 lengths of chain long enough to reach around the top of your hips. If it’s too tight it can break as you move but if it’s too loose it’ll slide right off.
  2. Attach the business end of a lobster claw clasp to one set of chain ends with a beaded link (medium-sized focal bead with a wrapped loop on each end.
  3. Join the two chains every 6th loop by inserting a beaded bar between them (see step-by-step, below). Start with a short bar at the beginning of the bet, increasing to to desired width and decreasing as you get to the other end of the belt.
  4. Join the two chains at the opposite end to a single length of chain by way of another beaded link. This additional chain allows you to adjust the length of the belt to accommodate different weights of clothing or wear-ability options.
  5. Attach bells, beaded drops or additional chains to the loops of the beaded bar depending on how you want to finish off the belt.

Making the Beaded Bars

Beaded Bars How-To

  1. Make a small coil at one end of your wire and slide on an e-bead or similar.
  2. Slip the beaded wire through the link of the top chain and add the beads that form the spacers between the chains.
  3. Slip the beaded wire through the corresponding link of the bottom chain and add a final e-bead.
  4. Make a wrapped loop to finish the beaded link.


In case it’s not ridiculously obvious, I’m having a ball with these jewelry posts: I’ve been making various baubles since I checked out a book on coiled-wire jewelry from my Middle School library, using Mom’s pliers and some spare copper wire. Still to go I’ve got a fun bracelet project and, yes, even a make-your-own tiara tutorial! Plus maybe a few other bits thrown in for good measure before we move on to perfumes in May.