Happy Friday, friends! I have been feeling this week like it was never going to get here, haha. I’ve got a fun, fish-themed bracelet design that I want to share with you using lots of natural elements (which is my very favorite style). This layered bracelet was made following the Blueberry Cove Beads monthly challenge:
If you caught my post last Friday, I shared a bead subscription box with you guys called Blueberry Cove Beads. (They’re sponsoring a great bead box giveaway, too – so be sure to get entered for that because it ends TONIGHT at midnight!) Anyway, this week I got a chance to open up the bead box that Isobel sent to me to see for myself, and it was full of Caribbean-themed goodness! Each month, subscribers get a new themed box full of new beads, charms, and findings that match a certain theme. Take a look at some of the goodies that greeted me:
It was SO right up my alley, with the hemp and natural elements! It’s a high-quality assortment, and I just love the idea of having a new theme each month to inspire me! So of course I couldn’t resist making an earthy hemp layered bracelet today. From the box, I used the copper fish charms, an aqua shell bead, and the hemp. I added 20-gauge copper wire and seed beads from my stash to match, and used wire cutters, round nose pliers, and a metal hole punch to alter and shape the metal components.
First, I turned one of the shell beads into a button-style closure. I used a length of wire about 6 inches long, and fed it through the center hole. I coiled it up on top to secure it and to make it match the organic feel of the beads, and on the bottom, I looped the wire around my round nosed pliers to make the loop to tie the hemp. Just under the loop, I wrapped the wire around several times to secure it, and I cut off the excess. The process is just the same as making a charm, just using different dimensions. It’s not my neatest wire-wrapping, but because the backside loop won’t even show, I wasn’t as careful as I could have been. A little bit messy is okay on the backside.
Next, I wanted to alter the fish so that I could thread the onto the hemp horizontally. That meant I needed to punch a second hole. I used my hand pliers for this, but you could also use a screw-down punch. You’ll need to punch a 1/16″ hole (or 1.6mm) in the tail. I wanted my fish to look like they were swimming – not like they were caught and hanging.
Next, I cut off 4 lengths of hemp that were 24 inches long. In hindsight, I think I would have preferred three strands, but that’s a matter of personal preference! At the center point, I doubled them, and tied an overhand knot, creating a loop closure. That gave me 8 strands to add beads and fish charms to.
I added my beads randomly, and I didn’t fill the strands all the way, either. The one great thing about layered bracelets is that even when you don’t add lots of beads to a strand, all the strands will rest together – making beads visible no matter what angle to look at it. At the end of each strand, I tied an overhand knot at the very end, to keep the beads from falling off as I worked. When I was all done adding beads, I gathered teh strands together, measured a beaded length of 7 inches, and tied another overhand knot, securing all the strands together. Then, I tied the shell closure I made onto those tail ends, and then trimmed off the excess length.
An unexpected thing happened to me (though truth be told, I should have expected it) – when I curved the bracelet, the fish all turned inward. As I had threaded them on, it was natural for the curve of the hemp to follow along the underside of the fish charms. But while I was initiallhy annoyed, they still looked pretty cool facing the opposite way, so I just went with it!
They look like a swimming school of fish as you wear the bracelet, and the gaps where the beads are and aren’t allow the strands to nest together nicely. It was kind of a whimsical style, but if you’re into beacy or nautical jewelry, or if you love fish, diving, or the ocean, it’s a great style as we gear up for warmer weather!
Don’t forget that TODAY is your last chance to enter the bead box giveaway from Blueberry Cove Beads. If you missed it – don’t worry! U.S. and Canadian jewelry lovers can subscribe to the service and get a box delivered to your door each month (and you can cancel anytime, too). If you know a bead lover, a box makes a great gift, too! Visit Blueberry Cove Beads to learn more, and happy beading!