Woven bracelets are one of my favorite things to make. They’re easy, they’re inexpensive, and they have such an organic feel to them. The mix of red seed beads and waxed linen in this piece reminds me of winterberries on a branch – which is one of the prettiest things about winter, in my opinion. (And after all, I know winter, here in Michigan… sigh.)
Anyway – you don’t need special skills or tools for this piece, you just have to be able to braid and glue! I got these supplies from Consumer Crafts (and shared the project last month over on their blog, Crafts Unleashed) so if you’re looking to make a purchase, you can click these links to buy everything you need for under $10.
- Size 6/0 Toho Seed Beads (I used a high metallic burgundy and a silver-lined light gray)
- 4mm Silver-plated Spacer Beads
- Black Waxed Linen
- Glue-on Hook and Eye Clasp – this one has a 4mm opening
- Super New Glue (or jewelry glue of your choice)
Now, this list is flexible. For one, you can choose any color seed beads you like, but I do recommend a high-quality bead like the Toho beads over a cheaper Chinese bead… seed beads are already inexpensive, so a few pennies more will go a long way in keeping your piece looking high-quality. The Toho beads have a nice, large hole and they’re quite uniform in size. The spacer beads are just to add an additional finish and texture – you could choose a third color of seed beads, or choose a bead that has a pattern to it. The waxed linen also comes in 4 colors, so whatever color scheme you choose, one will surely match. I prefer waxed linen because it doesn’t unravel while you work with it, and it’s very easy to string beads onto without needles.
First things first – cut 12 lengths of waxed linen, about 12 inches each. It’s more than you will need, but when you get to the end, you will be happy to have the extra ends to work with. Add a few drops of glue to your end cap, and hold your twine in place until it “catches”. It won’t have to be fully dried, but you do need to hold it for about a minute to get it to stick well enough to continue to the next step.
Next, secure your work. Typically, I clip mine to a clipboard. You can pin it to a pillow, set something heavy on top of it – whatever you like, but you will be pulling gently throughout the woven bracelet project, so stabilizing it is a good idea.
Separate your strands, 6 and 6. You will be using half to create a thick braid. Separate your 6 strands (you’ll see below that I’m working on the left) into three parts of 2 strands each. You’ll be using these parts to create a normal, 3-part braid. Begin your braid, and after a couple of passes, add a bead to the outer-most cord. Move it all the way up close to the braid, and then continue braiding as normal. Every few passes, add another bead. I prefer a more random look, but if you like for your beading to be totally uniform, you can braid a pattern. I just added beads every so often, focusing heavily on the red beads, and the least on the spacer beads.
When you’ve braided for 6 inches, stop adding beads, and braid down at least another inch. Tie your braid off in a knot. You will be cutting much of this non-beaded section off, but this will keep your work tight while you create your other strands.
Next, pull 3 more strands, and create another braid. This one will be similar to the first in the way you add beads, but it’s different because it will be thinner. That’s okay – in fact, it lends a more organic look to your woven bracelet. Finish in the same way – stop adding beads after braiding for 6 inches.
Use the last 3 strands to create another braid similar to your second one. When you finish it, you will have 3 beaded layers to your woven bracelet.
Braid the 3 sections together VERY loosely. Just enough to group them together, basically! Measure from the hook end of your clasp down 7 inches, and cut all three braids off at that point. The wax will help hold them together momentarily while you add a few drops to the other clasp end, and then glue it onto the finished end.
Allow it about 30 minutes to fully dry, and your woven bracelet is ready for wear, or for gift-giving! The waxed linen gives it a little bit of stiffness so that it holds its shape well, while still being flexible enough for comfort.
I’ve missed writing here lately, but in other news, I’m thrilled to say that my book is FINISHED so I’ll have a lot more time for what I love best – blogging! I will still be playing catch-up in the next week (and, I’m embarrassed to say, taking down the rest of my Christmas decorations…) but I’ll be getting back in the swing of things really soon. I’m looking forward to sharing with you on my regular schedule again!