How to Make a Silk Ribbon and Cameo Bolo Tie Necklace

How to Make a Silk Ribbon and Cameo Bolo Tie Necklace

It is March, and we are all ready to transition into Spring. For me, part of that transition is the jewelry I wear–the heavier, darker jewelry makes way for lighter and brighter accessories. With this in mind, here is a fun and colorful take on the traditional bolo tie, but made with dyed silk ribbons and flat-back cameo cabochons. The project assembles pretty quickly, so you too can be ready to welcome Spring!

Ready, set, make!

You will need these supplies:


Other supplies:

  • disposable gluing surface (paper plate)
  • stir-stick applicator (tooth pick)
  • aluminum foil
  • paper towels

Most bolo cord is approximately 3mm+ in diameter, and bolo slide findings come ready to accommodate the size. Because the silk ribbon is thinner, you will need to pinch the bolo back to reduce the cord opening size. For stability of the glue join, it is best to do this before permanently attaching the bolo back to the cameo.

Here is a “before and after” image of the bolo slide finding. If you have trouble adjusting the bolo finding by pinching, you can use nylon-jaw pliers. The jaws of nylon-jaw pliers won’t scratch metal jewelry findings as regular metal pliers do.

In jewelry-making, glue is a “cold connection” that holds various elements together. This project combines the plated brass bolo back with the plastic cameo cabochon, so a glue that will work with both materials is the key to success. I chose my favorite jewelry adhesive, two-part epoxy. Two-part epoxy works with most non-porous surfaces.

Gluing Metal Findings 101

free printable pdf featuring helpful gluing hints and tips from Rings & Things. And don’t forget the glue.

Epoxy glues form strong bonds. Most epoxy products, like Epoxy 330, instruct you to mix equal parts of resin and hardener. Gently stir the adhesive until mixed; refer to the instructions that come with your brand of adhesive.

Before beginning, make sure your pieces are clean and dry. Then apply a dab of glue to the backside of the bolo slide finding and spread it evenly. The elements on the face side of the cameo have a low relief that prevents them from sitting level on a countertop. I like to use a piece of scrunched-up foil to support the cameo and keep it as level as possible.

Place the glued cameo aside in a warm location to set and cure. The adhesive starts to set up after about 15 minutes and cures in about 2 hours. I like to keep an eye on the glued piece until it sets–if the cameo isn’t level, the bolo slide finding can shift and need repositioning. Once the adhesive sets, it won’t be a problem.

The two-part epoxy 330 adhesive dries clear. This bolo focal piece is ready for finishing.

The bolo slide finding can be confusing with its extra tube-like holes. Use the large and outer tube-like holes for stringing the ribbon through.

How to Make a Silk Ribbon and Cameo Bolo Tie Necklace

String the ribbon through one side of the bolo slide finding. Then straighten the ribbon to remove any twists and string the second ribbon end through the opposing hole.

Here is the adjusted ribbon in the bolo slide.

To add decoration and weight, finish the ribbon ends with two large-hole beads. String a bead onto the end of the ribbon; depending on the length of the bead, you may need to use beading tweezers for this task.

Tie an overhand knot about 1/2 inch from the end of the ribbon and tighten the knot. Fold the ribbon tail over and tuck it into the ribbon on the other side of the knot. Gently pull the bead up against the knot while pulling the ribbon tail into the bead hole (poking with beading tweezers may help with this task).

Here are the finished beaded-bauble ends. This finishing method is simple, clean, and attractive.

“Sundance” Bolo Tie Necklace by Rings & Things designer Mollie Valente.

“Panama” Bolo Tie Necklace by Rings & Things designer Mollie Valente.

Make Things,


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