Celebrating Nature: Beaded Bracelet {tutorial}

Welcome, precioussssses, to another feature by Blog with Friends!  This month we are celebrating Earth Day.  Go green with us and enjoy the projects!
There was absolutely nothing about this project that went as planned.  Nothing.
I want to thank a very understanding hubby, who helped me cling to my sanity as each attempt failed and ultimately fixed the final design flaw.  He (and it) are amazing!
Let’s start off with knowing what you need at the store, because life is so much easier when you don’t have to make multiple trips.  At least this time I didn’t have to walk back and back again.  Keep in mind the general beading technique, since it’s unlikely you will find the exact beads and findings I used.
Just FYI, when I say “finding”, it refers to any element of the piece that isn’t a bead, pretty much.  Most of the time I will try and specify the technical term of the finding, unless I don’t know it.
For this project I used:
  • Stretch Magic® Bead and Jewelry Cord, 0.7 mm
  • 6 crimp tubes, 2 mm
  • 20 beads, small
  • 3 beads, 1.5 inch length
  • jewelry finding (this is the branch and bird piece – I think it’s called a link)
Here’s a little tip: when choosing cord and crimp tubes, do some math.  Originally I picked up 1.3 mm crimp tubes to use with my 0.7 mm cord.  I didn’t think about the fact I would be doubling the cord through the tube.  Simple math dictates 0.7 mm doubled is 1.4 mm – a smidgen bigger than the diameter of my tubes.  So it was back to the store for the 2 mm.
Doubled up, the cord fit, but it was by no means a cake walk.  It will test your patience… and the strength of your headache medicine.  Oh – and your dexterity, but that comes later.  Thank the Universe for little helping hands!

Actually, the starters weren’t too bad.  Just an eyelet hole, crimp tube, crimping pliers, and a little snip off the extra cord and you’re done.  Remember the picture explaining the crimping?  See it here.

You’ll notice I made two per side of my finding.

Using two cords wasn’t Plan A… or B… or even C.  I tried loops with spacer beads, a large loop with a single crimp bead, and even thought to scrap the whole thing.  This is where my brilliant husband intervened.  I don’t know what I would do without him!

Once he suggested having two single cords, it made perfect sense, since my larger beads had two threading holes.  Finally the beads laid out the way I expected!  Crisis averted.

These holes were large enough there was no problem threading the cord through.  Keep in mind the Stretch Magic® is stretchy and you’ll probably want to pull it tight through the whole process, but it’s not necessary.  Just make sure you have enough length to complete your pattern – you will pull it in at the end.

The beads I used are adorably small, with just enough inner diameter to thread my cord.  This is almost literally a thread and needle situation..

I didn’t get a picture of the bracelet before I linked the two sides, so I’ll try and explain: one side of the link had one large bead, ten small bead pattern; the other side had one large bead, ten small bead, one large bead pattern.

This is one side:

Remember the dexterity issues I mentioned earlier?  Here’s where it gets fun… (she says, her voice dripping with sarcasm).

To complete the circle (aka: the bracelet), I decided to hide the final crimp tubes behind a large bead.  Taking the side ending with the large bead, you’ll un-thread the cords to add a crimp tube, then re-thread.  Take the other side (ending in the smaller bead, pictured above), thread that cord through the parallel hole in the large bead, finishing with the cord threaded through the crimp tube.  Repeat on the other cord.

Best placement is centered on the back of the large bead.  Here is where you tighten until the circle of the bracelet is complete.  When satisfied, use crimping pliers to finish off the tubes at the end.  This was a little tricky, as you’re trying to keep the beads tight while stretching the cord just enough to get the pliers in there.  Dexterity.

In my pattern, I used five small on each single cord with twenty total for the whole bracelet; large beads totaled three.  Add the length of the link and, laid out, the bracelet was just over 7 inches in length.  This may seem small (or not), but it’s within the normal range for the industry.  Plus, I used stretchy cord.

At first I wasn’t sure the final product would fit my wrist, but as you can see in the above picture, it stretched just enough to allow my fat hand through.

Below you’ll see the link finding on Quesadilla‘s wrist – the bracelet was a bit too big for her… for now.

Get inspired, try something new, and don’t be afraid to fail.  It’s all about having fun and creating something wonderful!

See how my friends are celebrating Earth Day!

Melissa has 10 Best Uses for Technology on Earth Day:

A yummy Celebration Dessert Pizza from Karen:

Keep it green like Lydia with a DIY No-Sew Shopping Bag:

Need to stretch a buck?  Jennifer is Stretching Your Cluck with some delicious recipes:

Upcycle with these Recycled Decorated Containers from Eileen:

Celebrate Earth every day!  Don’t forget to join your Earth Day projects in our link up!

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