Corn bead necklaces date back from what I could find to the Cherokee Indians around the 1830's. These necklaces are still made today by tribes and can be found in gift shops and online. I was so inspired by the beauty of their necklaces that I went and made one for my daughter's birthday.
What you'll need:
large sized corn kernels
(we found ours for 35 cents a pound at a local feed store)
Medium sized sewing needle
It's similar to coloring Easter eggs, add about a cup of hot water to a glass bowl with 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 10-12 drops of food coloring of one color per bowl.
I used McCormick's neon food colors which come in Pink, Purple, Green and Blue
(note the pink came out looking red and the green a bright yellow)
Soak the corn kernels in the bowls for 3-7 days.
I left ours in for 7 days mostly simply because we had a busy week, but I found that the colors really kicked in after 5 days. You also want to soak the kernels until their soft enough to thread.
If the needle is to big it will split the kernels, I twisted the medium sized needle through each kernel only a few split that way, make sure to have extra kernels.
After threading the corn beads let them fully dry and you can apply a clear coat craft sealer to them to protect the outer shell of the kernel from chipping.
Once the necklace is strung with the desired amount of corn beads add a jewelry clasp or knot the ends together if it was made long enough to just slip over the head.
I loved this project it was fun taking something relatively common and cheap and turning into wearable jewelry. The kiddos went on to make bracelets and matching earrings.