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Project

Custom-Made Pearl Jewelry

Create one-of-a-kind jewelry with this pearl dyeing and stringing process.

Introduction

For color consistency, dye a few test pearls and use a stopwatch to time how long you keep each in the dye (We tested ours at five, 10, 20, and 30 seconds, and one, two, and five minutes). Attach the pearls to a card, noting the time next to each, and use this reference chart to choose the saturation of color you prefer.

To create the colors we made, add the following to the hot water and vinegar in step 1:

Yellow-Gold Dye:

2 teaspoons golden yellow powdered Rit Dye
1 teaspoon tan liquid Rit Dye
We kept these pearls in the dye for five seconds.

Mauve Dye:

1 teaspoon mauve powdered Rit Dye
2 teaspoons tan liquid Rit Dye
We kept these pearls in the dye for 30 seconds.

Resources: Glass pearls are available at elveerosenberg.com. Crimping pliers, crimpable beads, and monofilament are available at metalliferous.com. Silk ribbon is available at tinseltrading.com. Rit dye can be purchased at ritdye.com. Brush-on nail glue is available at most pharmacies.

Materials

  • Hot (not boiling) water
  • Rit dye: powdered and/or liquid
  • Vinegar
  • Spoon
  • Glass pearls
  • Tulle, cut into rounds about the size of a dinner plate
  • Paper towels
  • Stopwatch (optional)
  • Card (optional)
  • Pearl diagram
  • For necklace: 63-inch satin ribbon and thirty-eight 12 mm pearls
  • For bracelet: 38-inch satin ribbon and thirteen 10 mm pearls
  • Tapestry needle
  • Spool of .6 mm monofilament
  • 2 crimp beads
  • Crimping pliers
  • Nail glue

Steps

  1. Step 1

    First, make the dye: Start with two cups hot (not boiling) water. Add dye (see recipes for two color suggestions above) and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Mix with a spoon.

  2. Step 2

    Place 5 pearls in the center of a tulle round and gather tulle around pearls. Hold gathered tulle and dip pearls in and out of dye mix until the desired color is reached. Rinse the tulle, with pearls still inside, in cold water. Remove pearls from tulle and place on a paper towel to dry.

  3. Step 3

    Begin by downloading the pearl diagram, which helps illustrate how to string the pearls on the ribbon. For the necklace, begin 20 inches from one end of the ribbon. For the bracelet, begin 13 inches from one end of the ribbon. At this point in the length, poke a guide hole with a tapestry needle close to one edge of the ribbon.

  4. Step 4

    Feed monofilament, still on spool, through the ribbon from back to front. Add a pearl. Poke a guide hole diagonal from the first, at the opposite edge of the ribbon. Feed monofilament through this hole, front to back.

  5. Step 5

    Turn the ribbon over so the first bead is in the back, and the monofilament is coming through to the front. Fold the ribbon over itself at a right angle, beneath the last hole. Add a pearl to the monofilament.

  6. Step 6

    Poke a guide hole in the folded part of the ribbon, on the same side as the previous hole. Feed the monofilament through this hole, front to back. Make sure you are not catching the ribbon twice. Turn the ribbon over and pull the monofilament taut. Add a pearl and repeat steps 4 to 6 until you have reached the desired length.

  7. Step 7

    To finish, add a crimp bead to the desired endpoint. Crimp bead with crimping pliers. Add a drop of nail glue to secure the crimp bead. Make a knot in the ribbon to cover the bead. Cut the monofilament from the spool and repeat step 8 to finish the other end.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, March 2008

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  • Stargazer71 19 May, 2010

    In the event that some of you are looking for the list of Rit Dye forumlas- if you email the contact on the Rit Dye Website-they will email you a complete list which I referred to in 2008.

  • Caitlin_Losey 30 Sep, 2009

    I think I'll try making one for a christmas gift.

  • heleninparis 26 Feb, 2009

    Opps! My last sentence was cut off (and I was under the limit -huh?)

    ... and chances are your question has some very good answers by these great people helping each other (especially dharmagirl :) I know Iearn so much even when I didn't think I had a question! Thanks everyone!

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    I'm wondering if when a person does a post and seeing their post as #1, #5, or say #8, (just #'s not posters), they think their post is somehow before all the others? I'm trying to figure out why people ask questions that have long since been answered. SO, for future reference, READ ALL the PREVIOUS POSTS before you ask a question (especially here with 90 posts so far)

  • JudyMcDole 9 Feb, 2009

    How does one get a color chart to do the other colors that were shown? I'm guessing that Rit has a website, so I'll give that a try.

  • JudyMcDole 9 Feb, 2009

    How does one get a color chart to do the other colors that were shown? I'm guessing that Rit has a website, so I'll give that a try.

  • hollyaandrews 19 Nov, 2008

    The Rit custom color instructions do work! The difference is that you only use the original 2 cup mixture for the pearls (15 seconds in the ivory worked great). But the mixture needs to be watered down more for fabric. The original instructions, I believe, call for an additional 3 gallons! I just dumped out half or more of what I used for the pearls and added hot water until the test fabric came out right. My ribbon and pearls are perfect!

  • khalicoe 17 Nov, 2008

    Remember painting as a kid and no matter what colors you mixed you seemed to end up with some form of brown? Can't be much different than that, right?

  • kasaco 21 Oct, 2008

    Does anyone have the formula for the chocolate pearls and the charcoal grey ones? I would really appreciate the tip!

  • kasaco 21 Oct, 2008

    Does anyone have the formula for the chocolate pearls and the charcoal grey ones? I would really appreciate the tip!

  • HillcrestStudio 9 Sep, 2008

    I agree with CadenceEmotion....I would love to make some of the other colors shown on the show. I checked Rit's website, but the color recipes are for fabric

  • CadenceEmotion 5 Sep, 2008

    Since this is the second airing of this segment, I was hoping that someone might have some extra color suggestions. The rit dye chart is for fabric so obviously the timing would be way different. I would love any of the grays. I really don't understand why someone at MSO went to all the trouble to research the color mixing and timing but it is not available. Why not share this? If it is in a book for purchase, I would like to know that information also. Thank you

  • lampillar 9 Jul, 2008

    Martha and her guest made and/or showed many beautiful colors on the tv episode that aired this project - they were all fabulous. Go to Rit's website (i think its www.ritdye.com) to learn the color-blending recipes. Good luck!

  • Laza 8 Jul, 2008

    i am useing red and black in my wedding does anyone know how to make them red

  • lyniferinsydney 17 May, 2008

    8 of us get together each year in 2 beach houses in South Australia, to craft, eat and enjoy the beach and company! This year we did the pearl necklaces, I downloaded all the info from the website, we sent to the US for the beads. We found they worked better in the hot dye and had great success, I am going to try and download some photos!

  • Mariko 15 May, 2008

    I dyed the glass pearls that I got from the site from Martha's show. What you need to do is keep the dye pot warm. When the liquid cools, it doesn't dye the beads. We got very beautiful results.

  • margaretherndon 27 Apr, 2008

    I bought glass pearls last night and tried to dye them grey using RIT royal blue and black mixed together. I kept the pearls in the bye for 5 minutes and they still barely look different. Has anyone had this problem? Maybe I need to use more expensive pearls??? I bought them at a Michaels-like craft store, and they are definitely glass pearls/

  • TeacherFCS 22 Apr, 2008

    I am attempting to get a very HOT pink color pearl, has anyone achieved this?

  • lyannkemal 15 Apr, 2008

    I am having trouble with making the necklace. I am following the pearl diagram, but once I have about 5 pearls done, I pull the ribbon to straighten out the necklace, and all the twisted part of the ribbon unravels to a line and all the pearls are together on the monofilament. What am I doing wrong? I think it is because I am left handed. Any suggestions would help immensely!

  • LadySpa 8 Apr, 2008

    I need help with the crimp beads, and the Spool of .6 mm monofilament.
    For some reason I can not find the Monofilament, So is there something else I can use or is there another name it goes by?
    As for the Crimp Beads, Does any one know what size to use?
    If anyone has an answer please email me at JayLyn869 at AOL . COM.
    Thanks

  • Lidarose 2 Apr, 2008

    I dyed glass pearls I purchased at Wal-Mart for $1.49 per package and they look beautiful. I also dyed lots of others I had in my "stash" which were purchased at Hobby Lobby or Michael's and even garage sales (old necklaces). They all did fine. I can't wait to make several bracelets from them using memory wire.

  • dharmagal 2 Apr, 2008

    For those of you who missed it- Here is the info you will need for the formulas

    /27/08 at 9:03 p.m. ET

    ATTENTION EVERYONE- THE RECIPES FOR THE COLORS YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO USE ARE FOUND ON THE RIT DYE WEBSITE- THEY ARE LISTED UNDER "DYEING TEChNIQUES - THEN CREATE CUSTOM TECHNIQUES. I PRINTED THE LIST OFF THE WEBSITE- THE FORMULAS SEEM TO BE IDENTICAL TO THE ONES THAT MS USED. Still don't know the width of the ribbon- I am going to a bead store to discuss.

  • JacMaxGrc 1 Apr, 2008

    We need the receipes and color charts. I don't understand what the big hold-up is. I mean, if the guy who did all the research mentioned on the show has all the info, why can't he post it? It sure would be a helpful guideline that would save me time and money. I'm thinking about making the neclace for my Momther as a Mother's Day gift.

  • JacMaxGrc 1 Apr, 2008

    We need the receipes and color charts. I don't understand what the big hold-up is. I mean, if the guy who did all the research mentioned on the show has all the info, why can't he post it? It sure would be a helpful guideline that would save me time and money. I'm thinking about making the neclace for my Momther as a Mother's Day gift.

  • JacMaxGrc 1 Apr, 2008

    We need the receipes and color charts. I don't understand what the big hold-up is. I mean, if the guy who did all the research mentioned on the show has all the info, why can't he post it? It sure would be a helpful guideline that would save me time and money. I'm thinking about making the neclace for my Momther as a Mother's Day gift.

  • dharmagal 1 Apr, 2008

    Thanks for the info Tervnut. I realized that every time someone posts a new comment the responses get pushed back. This new era does present new challinges- but I love it. So many nice people.

  • tervnut 1 Apr, 2008

    Ah, BUMP - for directions on dying (thanks Dharmagal for your research!!) check the post by Dharmagal posted 9:03pm on 3/27/2008 ... each new post pushes it back - as of THIS post it is number 31. THANKS AGAIN!!

  • tervnut 1 Apr, 2008

    Love the video, is there anyplace on MarthaStewart.com that has a diagram of what dyes to mix together and how long to dip the pearls for each shade to be achieved?? I am going to have a LOT of fun with this!! THANKS!!

  • lillyut 31 Mar, 2008

    I am confused about the ribbon needed. In the Tools list it states Satin, in the resources it says silk. I imagine the weights of the fabrics are different. Has anyone tried this project. What ribbon did you use?

  • PizzaGirl 30 Mar, 2008

    nevermind my comment below... i see the source now. Sorry!

  • PizzaGirl 30 Mar, 2008

    i posted a comment before about this and it seems to have gotten deleted! i was wondering where martha said you could purchase the pearls. i want to make at least 10 pieces of jewelry so this info would be VERY helpful to me! thanks

  • dharmagal 30 Mar, 2008

    Kathy Deron- It appears that you will have to experiment with the timing issue. I think you will need to select your basic color. Then take a few pearls and dip them in the dye bath. Using a stop watch, I think in five second increments should work. Once you find the shade you want, write down the correct time. Affix the test pearl on a 3x5 card and write down the length of time that matches the shade you want.

  • joycev 29 Mar, 2008

    Thanks for the correction on the number of beads and sizes. That definitely makes more sense. :o)

  • kathyderon 29 Mar, 2008

    can anyone tell me how long to keep them in the water for the different shades?
    And can i get the pearls in different sizes?
    Thanks a million

  • dharmagal 29 Mar, 2008

    Oops!!! Sorry, I apologize- See comments No. 23 from me for 3/27/08, for formula source.

  • julesnick 29 Mar, 2008

    thank you dharmagal for the pearl info...I was just browsing the Rit dye website when I noticed your comment. IF anybody finds more details about this craft I'd love to hear it.

  • dharmagal 29 Mar, 2008

    For those of you who want the source for the formulas from Rit Dye - see Comment No. 21, dated 3/27/08. Isn't great to have new pictures and revised instructions.

  • dharmagal 28 Mar, 2008

    Hello DavidBondarchuck.
    If you read some additional comments, you will find the information that you are looking for. Check my comments under Dharmagal.

  • DavidBondarchuck 28 Mar, 2008

    what are the recipes for all of the other shades featured on the show?

  • joycev 28 Mar, 2008

    Are the sizes and number of beads correct in the instructions? It states 38 larger beads for the bracelet and 13 smaller beads for the necklace.

  • sallyb23 28 Mar, 2008

    Has anyone have a good dye recipe for creating "CHOCOLATE PEARLS"?

    How fun would it be to have a strand or two of faux chocolate. The real thing costs really big $$$. Sally B

  • jamjarjude 28 Mar, 2008

    Thank you Kristin.

  • Sulowe 28 Mar, 2008

    I loved this segment. Do you have the rit dye recipes for the gray and darker colored pearls. My e-mail is suzanne.spence@cox.net.

  • KristinStClair 28 Mar, 2008

    we used 5/8" double sided silk ribbon for the 10mm mauve pearl bracelet and 3/4" double sided silk ribbon for the 12mm gold pearl necklace.
    please be patient, we take beauty shots following the show and it takes a couple days for them to be uploaded. The pictures and video should be here Monday. thanks!

  • KristinStClair 28 Mar, 2008

    we used 5/8" double sided silk ribbon for the 10mm mauve pearl bracelet and 3/4" double sided silk ribbon for the 12mm gold pearl necklace.
    please be patient, we take beauty shots following the show and it takes a couple days for them to be uploaded. The pictures and video should be here Monday. thanks!

  • KristinStClair 28 Mar, 2008

    we used 5/8" double sided silk ribbon for the 10mm mauve pearl bracelet and 3/4" double sided silk ribbon for the 12mm gold pearl necklace.
    please be patient, we take beauty shots following the show and it takes a couple days for them to be uploaded. The pictures and video should be here Monday. thanks!

  • KristinStClair 28 Mar, 2008

    we used 5/8" double sided silk ribbon for the 10mm mauve pearl bracelet and 3/4" double sided silk ribbon for the 12mm gold pearl necklace.
    please be patient, we take beauty shots following the show and it takes a couple days for them to be uploaded. The pictures and video should be here Monday. thanks!

  • dharmagal 28 Mar, 2008

    Debdtexas.
    I would also love some pictures. I am Dharmagal who found the source for the formulas from Rit Dye. At your convenience, please email to me at eackbarali@yahoo.com. Thanks! If anyone has info regarding the ribbon type and width, I would appreciate an email too. Thanks again. These necklaces are so beautiful. Happy Crafting everyone.

  • dharmagal 28 Mar, 2008

    Debdtexas.
    I would also love some pictures. I am Dharmagal who found the source for the formulas from Rit Dye. At your convenience, please email to me at eackbarali@yahoo.com. Thanks! If anyone has info regarding the ribbon type and width, I would appreciate an email too. Thanks again. These necklaces are so beautiful. Happy Crafting everyone.

  • debdtexas 28 Mar, 2008

    Marymourton I sent you an email this morning and Ishwoch please email me personally. I won't be checking this site regularly so write me at debdtexas@tx.rr.com.
    Thanks,
    debdtexas

  • marymourton 28 Mar, 2008

    Yes, I would like pictures. The jewelry looked so pretty but I'm not sure I can remember how it is supposed to look when making it. My email is mmourton@revere.k12.oh.us.
    Thanks, Mary

  • lschwoch 28 Mar, 2008

    I also missed this segment. Is there anyway I can get pictures? What width ribbon did you use? Was it double sided?

  • debdtexas 28 Mar, 2008

    Weird, it won't print my entire comment. If you want copies of photos I took email me at debdtexas@tx.rr.com please give me time to get them to you but write again if you haven't received them in a week.
    Debdtexas

  • debdtexas 28 Mar, 2008

    I took photos of the necklace being made on TV and will send them to anyone that emails me. They are fairly small and won't take up much space

  • debdtexas 28 Mar, 2008

    I took photos of the necklace being made on TV and will send them to anyone that emails me. They are fairly small and won't take up much space

  • dharmagal 27 Mar, 2008

    Dear heleninparis,
    Thank you for the shout out. I was so happy that I was able to locate the source we will need to make this beautiful necklace. Rather than ordering glass bead pearls, I think I will hit the thrift stores to see if I can find some acceptable alternate source. This craft will make some beautiful Birthday or Christmas presents. Maybe I should apply to MS for a job so I could critque the instructions that are published on her website.

  • heleninparis 27 Mar, 2008

    Let us all give a loud round of THANK YOU and a big WHOOPEE! to "dharmagal " for taking the lead in finding out the information we need for the dying formulas for the pearls :) THANKS so much for helping all of us, dharmagal. You're great!
    :) Helen

  • dharmagal 27 Mar, 2008

    ATTENTION EVERYONE- THE RECIPES FOR THE COLORS YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO USE ARE FOUND ON THE RIT DYE WEBSITE- THEY ARE LISTED UNDER "DYEING TEChNIQUES - THEN CREATE CUSTOM TECHNIQUES. I PRINTED THE LIST OFF THE WEBSITE- THE FORMULAS SEEM TO BE IDENTICAL TO THE ONES THAT MS USED. Still don't know the width of the ribbon- I am going to a bead store to discuss.

  • hallinr 27 Mar, 2008

    I don't think anyone on Martha's staff reads our comments. Several times I requested better instructions and commented that a picture is very important. No response, no changes. If we were shown different color formulas they should be available. Also there should be a team that reads the instructions for corrections before printing. Please Martha, put the quality instructions with pictures back into your crafts, and recipes.

  • hallinr 27 Mar, 2008

    I don't think anyone on Martha's staff reads our comments. Several times I requested better instructions and commented that a picture is very important. No response, no changes. If we were shown different color formulas they should be available. Also there should be a team that reads the instructions for corrections before printing. Please Martha, put the quality instructions with pictures back into your crafts, and recipes.

  • samcgahagin 27 Mar, 2008

    Please post pictures and better complete material list and instructions for this project. A video of the segment would be very helpful.

  • ecu 27 Mar, 2008

    Has anyone (yet) figured out the ribbon width-and why in the directions is the bracelet for 63 inches of ribbon and the necklace 38 inches--the bracelet also requires 38 pearls and the necklace only 13--is something wrong here?

  • ecu 27 Mar, 2008

    How do I get more dye "recipes" for the pearls besides the two online? Thank you.

  • dharmagal 27 Mar, 2008

    It's me again. I did a little research . The Rit Dye webstie has a section identified as Create Custom Color. If you click on that section, you can get the formulas(recipes) for a beautiful selectiion of colors. At least it is a place to start. I am going to try it. I hope you will too.

  • melodysmountaintreasures 27 Mar, 2008

    When using the crimp- bead at the end of stringing, put the string through the crimp bead and then through a tiny bead, or small ring then put the bead back through th crimp bead a second time. when using the crimp tool, crimp using the thole closest to the handle . Then use the indentation in the front to bent the metal into itself making a tube. You can get crimp cover silver beads to cover the tube if you'd like.

  • dreedsurvivor06 27 Mar, 2008

    Thanks for letting me know that I will have to experiment to get the color that I want.

  • dharmagal 27 Mar, 2008

    How disappointing. MS Customer Service has responded to my email indicating that the only information that will be available is for the two color combinations that they showed in the segment. DITTO for the ribbon size. Well at least, I tried. If you want any other colors, I guess you will have to experiment.

  • bestmanors 27 Mar, 2008

    I enjoyed the pearl dying presentation but would like the recipes to the other colors in order to dye the pearls as shown by Martha. Where can I get access to these different recipes? I look forward to a reply. Thank you. MW

  • dharmagal 27 Mar, 2008

    I sent an email to Customer Service requesting: (1) color formulas for all of the examples displayed for the segment, (2) width of the ribbon that was used, (3) pictures of the project. After three attempts, it appears that Customer Service will not be able to provide the info. I requested that my email be forwarded to the person who developed the process. Wish me luck!

  • ScrappyCrafterB 27 Mar, 2008

    I love this idea-Beautiful pearls! I too would like the formulas for other colors. The grey would be perfect for some of my outfits. I may try making earrings as well if the pearls can fit into jewelry fittings. I love to scrapbook and make cards, but the creativity of this jewelry caught my eye.

  • KLSee 27 Mar, 2008

    I would really appreciate the "recipes" for all the other colors you showed on the segment. Could you make them available to us? Thanks

  • dkelly7 27 Mar, 2008

    I would love to have the formula for the grey pearls, please.

  • mooki99 27 Mar, 2008

    Disappointed that there wasn't a picture, or a 'recipe' for the other colors shown on the show.... why point them out so carefully if you don't want to show us how?? Also, are the measurements for the ribbons correct? 63" for a bracelet seems AWFULLY long, especially when the necklace is listed as 38".... something tells me they are switched around! Thought the necklaces were very pretty though......

  • sherryky1 27 Mar, 2008

    could you add the recipes for the other colors. I may make these for the bridesmaids in my daughters wedding. A picture would be great as well.
    Thanks. They look gorgeous.

  • joydv 27 Mar, 2008

    I so wish (all) your instructions would include photos...even one would help for those of us who missed the segment, and/or need a visual to get started. I'm sure I'm not the only crafter who would appreciate a photo. Thanks!

  • harmony8u 27 Mar, 2008

    yes but if you want different blues and red and purples and stuff like hers on the show. how do you know what colors to mix together.

  • KristinStClair 27 Mar, 2008

    for other colors, choose the RIT dye you like and do time tests with the dye to achieve your desired color. Its best to 5 -10 second increments with single pearls. Once you have your gradient of color, you can pick the one you like and start dyeing a bunch at a time.
    for black pearls try the "grey pearl" RIT dye - they look like gun metal - beautiful!

  • joydv 27 Mar, 2008

    I so wish (all) your instructions would include at least one photo for those of us who missed the segment, and/or need a visual to get started. I'm sure I'm not alone in my wish. Thanks!

  • joydv 27 Mar, 2008

    I so wish (all) your instructions would include at least one photo for those of us who missed the segment, and/or need a visual to get started. I'm sure I'm not alone in my wish. Thanks!

  • shearsnip 27 Mar, 2008

    land of odds glass pearls say "not washable" , so I wonder if they can be soaked in hot water--?

  • harmony8u 27 Mar, 2008

    i wish she would of told us the mixing dye recipe to the other colors. since they know all of them.

  • harmony8u 27 Mar, 2008

    you can get the glass perarls at www.landofodds.com for cheaper

  • harmony8u 27 Mar, 2008

    you can get the glass perarls at www.landofodds.com for cheaper

  • harmony8u 27 Mar, 2008

    you can get the glass perarls at www.landofodds.com for cheaper

  • harmony8u 27 Mar, 2008

    to order the beads theres a little order button at the bottom you cant order them off the site. also did she said what mm ribbon you sure for the neklace?

  • jgjkn 27 Mar, 2008

    What width ribbon is used in making the pearl jewelry?

  • thistleme 27 Mar, 2008

    unfortunately i missed this segment - long distance phone call - can you provide a picture of what the finished necklace looks like? having trouble picturing it... thanks

  • peach74 27 Mar, 2008

    I would also like the color combinations. In addition, do the distributors you mentioned, sell to the general public? I did not see a place to purchase on elveerosenberg.com . I plan on making these for a bridal shower.

  • sassy382918 27 Mar, 2008

    my comment is the same as the others. I would like the other color combo's. I thought these would make great mothers day gifts

  • deshman 27 Mar, 2008

    I too would like the other color combos. I would love to do the black pearl look....

  • jiggysmom 27 Mar, 2008

    I would like to try this using the other colors shown on the show today. How can I get the formulas for the other colors too?