Okay so if you only just read the title of this post, saw the words “fish bracelet”, and came to visit me anyway… thank you. :) I know it sounds weird. I’m not sure what possessed me to pick up these fish beads. But I love, love, LOVE how this bracelet turned out, and I wanted to share with you!
This is a really simple design and it doesn’t involve any precision techniques so I can confidently say that if you don’t make a mess of superglue, this project is suitable for any skill level. The clasp is a glue-on end cap that you attach with jewelry glue, so as long as you can manage that, the beading itself is extremely easy.
What you will need:
- A focal bead that gets attention. Yes, mine is quite a large fish. Somehow when I ordered it from Consumer Crafts, I thought it would be small… I don’t know why? But I LOVE it even more when I saw it was over an inch long!
- Hemp, cotton, or linen twine in any color you like. I used a combination of two – waxed linen and hemp. I will talk more about working with each below. Also a pair of scissors.
- Small, coordinating beads. I used seed beads that were size 6/0 and 8/0 from my stash in colors that looked beachy to me. Not all seed beads will fit all sizes of cord out there so you may have to experiment a little.
- Glue-on end caps and Aleene’s Jewelry glue. It doesn’t have to be Aleene’s but that is what I use and swear by so that is what I will recommend. You may experiment with other types or brands if you want. My end caps also come with an “s” hook clasp but I like to use an actual lobster clasp instead for more security.
I like waxed linen when I bead layered bracelets like this because it doesn’t unravel while you work with it. It really does have a coat of wax on it, making it really nice to thread beads. Size 8/0 seed beads fit on it and it was nice for the fish. But, on its own, it’s a little thin looking. So, I complement with a fatter twine and use hemp too. But it’s totally up to you. Both are really inexpensive, but hemp is a lot easier to find (it’s even at dollar stores and every craft store carries it). You just have to use larger-hole beads to work strictly with hemp, and often you won’t know what works until you’re sitting down with it trying to fit a bead on.
Anyway – beginning with the linen cord – I centered my fish, and tied a knot at each end of it to keep it from sliding all over my bracelet. If you don’t mind if it moves, the knots aren’t necessary. I jut want my beads to stay in approximately the same places as I put them, so they don’t all just slide to the bottom of the bracelet. The waxed linen also helps with this – they won’t slide much as the wax is just sticky enough to keep it from sliding a lot (but not to sticky that you actually feel it when you wear it).
For the rest of the beads, I did the same thing: added a few, then tied a knot to keep them in that area. There was no real pattern or measurement, sometimes it was 3 beads or 6 beads, sometimes the knot was an inch away from the last one, sometimes it was 1/2 inch or two inches. By keeping it random, your knots are less likely to “pile up” and will be offset within the bracelet. Keep your two end/final knots just under 6″ apart. Knots right at the end will actually make it more difficult to glue on your end caps. My recommendation is to bead about 5 1/2 inches.
Once you have your fish strand done, take a moment to see how many strands will fit in your end caps. This size accommodates about 8 strands, I think they are 4mm end caps. Once you know, bead that many strands. You can add as many or as few beads as you like. I like the hemp and cotton to show through – it lends a more earthy feel – so I leave plenty of open space on my strands.
We are going to cut all these cords down to approximately 6 inches. (If you have a larger or smaller wrist, you will want to make adjustments to this). The end caps and clasp will add nearly an inch to your length, so keep that in mind. I’m aiming for a 7″ bracelet. The only one you have to be cautious of is to keep the one with your focal bead (my fish) centered.
Now, add some glue to your cap, and glue all the strands into one side. Give it about a minute to dry, it dries quickly. Then, arrange your remaining cords kind of how you want them, make sure they’re trimmed off evenly on the other side, and glue on the other side. You just want to make sure any giant tangles aren’t there before gluing it. A little bit of crossing over is fine though.
Now attach your final clasp, and it’s ready to wear! I confess… I originally made this one for my sister, but once I put it on… now I can’t part with it. (Fortunately there are still 4 more fish beads left… I can make her another, haha!)
I hope you’re not getting tired of all the jewelry projects lately… nearly EVERYTHING in my craft stash is packed right now! I managed to save just a couple little bins to get my craft on, and I picked my jewelry supplies because they’re all small enough not to disrupt our move. We will be closing on our NEW house later this week, and moving this weekend or early next week. It’s so exciting! It just doesn’t allow for as much crafting as I normally enjoy – so bear with me the next couple weeks as we get moved and settled. :)
How’s your summer starting out? Have you been up to any creative fun?