Make and Do: Introducing Beci Orpin’s Latest Book, Plus a Project You Can Try at Home


Make and Do is the latest book from superstar creative, Beci Orpin. It’s choc-a-block with inspiration, crafty ideas and projects that you can whip up at home.

From the DIY pro to the craft klutz, Make and Do covers all difficulty levels. It’s also divided into sections which focus on creating pieces from different raw materials such a fabric, paper and wood – so there’s something for everyone.

This morning, the kids and I spent ages sitting on the couch flipping through Make and Do and tagging some holiday projects. Over the next few weeks, we’ll show you the finished product(s), but in the meantime, Beci is giving us a Make and Do taster by sharing one of the projects – Found & Made Necklaces – which is featured in her book.


You can also win your very own copy of Make and Do by heading over to Checks and Spots on Instagram and entering our latest giveaway which is running until 10 pm Monday 22 December.

Make and Do! Beci Orpin’s Found & Made Necklaces

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Project extracted from Make and Do by Beci Orpin published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $39.95 available in stores nationally.


You will need:

  • Different types of string or chain
  • Variety of beads: wooden, plastic, metal, recycled
  • Variety of other materials: plastic tubing, metal rings
  • Polymer clay
  • Kitchen knife
  • Toothpick or needle
  • Needle and cotton
  • Scissors
  • Necklace clasps

The thing about these necklaces is that, in all honesty, there isn’t a lot to show you. It’s more about the hunting and gathering process than the actual technique of how to make them.

I went to all the obvious places – craft stores, bead shops and the like – but I also went to non-necklacey type shops. In the plumbing section of the hardware store I found beautiful copper rings (albeit attached to other plumbing parts); in my ocal op shop I found some ’80s necklaces, which I pulled apart for their plastic beads; and in my favourite stationery store I found some nice string. Online stores provide a plethora of amazing bead and other necklace discoveries, and don’t forget about electrical supply stores and garden centres – these can be veritable treasure troves if you look with the right eyes.

You can also make parts of the necklace yourself. Polymer clay is lots of fun to play with, or you can revitalise plain wooden beads with some paint. I also braided some cotton to make a ‘chain’ for one of the necklaces.


What You Do:

  1. Choose your favourite materials. Play around with the different elements to see what colours and textures work best together.
  2. Make some beads using polymer clay. You can use one colour or blend two colours together for a marbled look, add some small polka dots to a strip of clay, or twist two ropes of different colours together.
  3. For the polka dot beads, roll one colour of clay into your desired shape, then add some small ‘dots’ of a different coloured clay around the outside. Gently roll to combine (don’t roll it too much).
  4. For the twisted rope beads, take two long, thin rolls of clay and twist them together. Cut to the desired length with a knife.
  5. Use a toothpick or needle to pierce a hole through the middle of all your clay beads. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, bake the beads in the oven.
  6. To make a long curved bead, roll out the clay to the desired thickness and length, then push a toothpick through the middle to create a hole. Thread a needle with a piece of cotton and thread it through the hole.
  7. Bend the bead to the desired shape. Remove the needle but leave the thread in the bead. Tip: A toothpick gives a largerhole than a needle, making it easier to pass the thread through.
  8. Bake the curved bead with the thread insitu (because polymer clay is usually baked at a low temperature, the thread won’t burn). Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle.
  9. Select the string you’d like to use for your necklace and tie it to one end of the ‘baked’ thread. Pull the new string through the curved bead, then cut off and discard the baked thread.
  10. Thread all the beads onto the string or chain. If you like, add some knots along the string so that some of the beads sit higher than others.
  11. When you are happy with the arrangement, work out the desired length and trim.
  12. Tie on the clasps.
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