So I’m really excited to share today’s project with you, because it’s a blend of everything I love to make. It’s a woven bracelet tutorial that’s tool-free (aside from scissors and glue). It’s got stone chip beads. And it looks SO much more fussy than it really is. If you can braid and string beads, you can make this, my new favorite accessory. In fact, if ever there was a tutorial that was inherently me, you’re reading it now. (Reading here for the first time? Hi. I’m Adrianne. And I’m kind of a DIY bracelet fiend. It’s nice to meet you.)
Here’s what you’ll need to make this easier-than-it-looks woven bracelet: surprisingly few supplies. I got most of this from consumercrafts.com, and I will leave links so that you can find the supplies, too. I’m not an affiliate and I don’t make any money if you buy these items, but I know it’s tough when you’re looking for something specific and you can’t find it anywhere. :)
- Stone chip beads – I’m using unakite. I don’t remember where I got these, but you can find stone chip beads at most craft stores with a jewelry section.
- Glue-on end caps and Super New Glue (or the jewelry glue of your choice)
- Seed beads or other accent beads (a metal nugget spacer would be really cute)
- Waxed linen cord
- Something to secure your work – I generally use a clipboard
This is a surprisingly simple technique. It’s just braided. Nothing fancy. All those strands? Just a braid. I started out with 9 strands (I cut them extra long at 12 inches each, you’ll want a bit of extra length), and separated them into 3 segments, just like any 3-part braid. I didn’t bother to knot the end, I just clipped it under my clipboard. Waxed linen is perfect for projects like this – the wax keeps it stiff and a little bit sticky, so you don’t have to worry that it’s going to unravel.
After I had braided down a few inches, I began adding beads. (I braided about 3 inches and cut off excess length, but I wanted a little extra just to make sure I had enough. You can always cut some off. You can’t add more at the end.) All I did was add a seed bead on 2 of the strands, and braided them in. Once I had about 1/2 inch in beaded length, I switched the type of beads I was adding, and began adding stone chip beads.
If this is a new technique for you, I talk in more detail about it in my wish bracelet tutorial, seed bead and hemp bracelet tutorial, and my beaded hemp wrap bracelet tutorial. You can view any of those to get more comfortable with braiding with beads.
When I began adding the stone chips, I added one to every strand to fill it out as much as possible. When I had about 2 inches, I switched back to the seed beads on just 2 strands again. Then, I finished off the braid in the same way as I began it, just braiding it to the end.
If you find that your cords are looking messy or they are covering the beads, I do tend to push the beads up and adjust tension on the strands as I work. Some beads will be larger than others and will need more or less tension on the strand to look full. So if anything doesn’t look quite right as you braid, if your stones are looking “trapped” rather than sitting on top of your braiding, loosen the tension on your bracelet, rearrange the beads a little if necessary, and then keep going.
Finally, I trimmed my ends, and glued the end caps on. You only need a couple drops of glue, and it will dry within 5 minutes. Depending on the length of your clasp, your finished length will vary a little. This particular clasp adds about 3/4 inch of length, so I cut my bracelet at 6 1/2 inches to fit my wrist, for a total length of 7 1/4 inches after it was done.
You can of course adjust this length to suit your wrist, but 7 to 7 1/2 inches is a common size. You will be able to cut the braids exactly where you need to; the wax will hold them together for gluing. Just center your beading, and cut equal lengths of braids on each side.
So what do you think? I think this is my favorite bracelet I’ve ever made. I love the natural accents, like stone beads and cotton and hemp twine anyway, and the colors are perfect for my fall wardrobe. What are you wearing this fall?