I stumbled across this idea as a result of my mom being absolutely obsessed with Victoria Emerson bracelets. She showed them to me a few months back and hinted that she wanted some for Mother's Day. They are absolutely gorgeous but can run as much as $199. YIKES. Sorry mom but that's not happening on my budget.
I have this tendency to see things and be like, "Hey! I could make that! Why buy it?!" And sometimes I'm right. A lot of times I'm wrong. Or it ends up being way too time consuming, which, paired with cost of materials, makes it completely worth it to just buy. These bracelets are somewhere in between. I thought I was going to pull my hair out the first time I made one, but don't let that scare you away! I have since made multiple more and have learned lots of tips and tricks that make the process immensely easier. Yay for you :)
Let's start with the basics: What you need.
-Beads - $5+. The rounder, the easier. Those shiny, gorgeous beveled ones will make a spectacular bracelet but they will also drive you insane in the process. Because they have edges, the beads get a bit wonky when you string them on and they do not want to stack nicely - resulting in a crooked bracelet. Possible? Absolutely. But I wouldn't suggest it on your first go. Also, bigger beads are a good idea for your first try. Not HUGE, but not those super microscopic 4mm ones either. Not only does it require a lot fewer beads to make a bracelet (which also means less stitches), but they are so much easier to thread. Win win!
-Leather Cord - $2. I prefer 1mm diameter. I used 2mm for my first couple of bracelets and it definitely works too. However, I like the beads to be the main attraction and thinner leather helps make that happen. Definitely get at least 2yards. Go with 3 yards if you want more than 4 wraps around your wrist.
-Beading Needle - $2.50 (set of 4). These things are awesome. I had never used one before. They are insanely flexible and the eyes are HUGE, making threading a breeze!
-Thread - $2. For this specific bracelet, I used pearl cotton thread in size 5. You can also use Nylon thread or Polyester thread. If you use Nylon or Polyester, I would suggest doubling your thread for more support. I love the way this bracelet turned out using the cotton thread but it was kinda a huge pain in the ass. I definitely prefer the end result, though. Will go into more detail later.
-Button - $2 (set of 4). I like the kind with the hook in the back but anything should work.
-Scissors. Because cutting your thread is easier than biting it.
-Shallow Dish. Not completely necessary but it's a nice way to keep your beads together and easily accessible.
And we're ready to go!
Cut a long piece of thread. I usually go for about an arm span's worth for this first part. Open the eye of your needle, insert your thread and pull it down so it locks into the needle. You're ready for your first bead! This one is the hardest so hang in there :)
Push the needle through the bead. It will be A LOT easier if you keep the bead on the needle instead of pushing it down onto your thread (as pictured). Weave the needle over the first piece of leather and under the second. Keeping the bead in place with your fingers, start to pull your thread through the bead, stopping when you have roughly 6 inches of thread through the bead. Your thread should be under the second piece of leather. Make sure you have a little bit of room between the button hook and your bead.
Bring the needle and thread over your second piece of leather and string it back through the bead, making sure to pull it under the first leather strand. The easiest way to picture this is as a figure 8. Repeat this same stitch through the same bead to keep it in place. Over the leather, through the bead, under the leather, wrap over the leather, through the bead, under the leather...
Ensure that your bead is securely in place. Knot your strands and cut the short one. WHEW! I promise the rest are easier :) Reneedle your thread and let's get down to business!
Pull your thread so that it is taught, but don't pull it too tight or the beads will start to bunch! If you are using cotton thread, you will likely have to use your fingers to adjust most of the stitches to make sure they are tight enough. Annoying, but worth it in the end because it keeps everything tight and straight.
Keep going until you start to run out of thread. Knot on a new piece and test the knot to make sure it is going to hold. You can add a small drop of super glue or clear nail polish if you would like, but be careful! Too much will make the knot too big and it will not thread through the bead. Cut your ends down. Don't knot until you have to! Pulling the knot through the beads can be tricky, so get your knot as close to the end as possible. Continue with the bracelet in the same pattern you did before :)
**Remember how I said that the cotton thread was a huge pain in the ass? Well, here's why. It is already a thick thread, which is AWESOME both aesthetically and for support, but getting a knot through these beads is not easy. At all. It took me a while to make it work. I purposefully made my thread strands realllllllly long so that I would only have to do one knot.
Periodically check the length of your bracelet. I like mine to be 3 wraps long most of the time. Once you achieve the length you want, do an extra figure 8 through the final bead. If you are using a thinner thread, do a couple extra figure 8's.
Leave a loop on one side on your final figure 8. Make a knot with the loop and the single thread on the other side. Cut down the ends. Congrats - you're in the final stretch! It's all easy peasy from here.
Make a simple overhand knot with the two strands of leather.
Now, we need to make some knots to create "pockets" that you can string the button through to close the bracelet. Make a double over hand knot. You want your pocket to be large enough the slip the button through easily, but small enough that it catches the button so your bracelet will stay on. Roughly 3/4 inch seems to work for me.
Make a few more double overhand knots if you would like your bracelet to be adjustable. Cut off the excess leather and you're DONEZO! Congratulations :)
Hopefully you got through it without too much frustration... I know I was ready for a glass of wine after my first one, but I promise that it gets easier! Such a fun Sunday activity and they would make such a wonderful, thoughtful gift. Everyone loves handmade :) And the best part? The options are ENDLESS! So many colors and bead types to choose from.
Make sure to hop over to Instagram and share any bracelets you make using this tutorial - I would love to see what you come up with! Tag @hannmadeit in the comment section :) I am also going to be giving this particular bracelet to a lucky winner! To enter, you must like the tutorial photo on Instagram and follow HannMadeIt. To get an extra entry, repost the picture and make sure to tag me!
Do you make wrap bracelets? What do you do differently? Have you found anything that makes the process easier for you?