Bracelets make outstanding accessories. They can make great gifts and giveaways, and they’re always a hit with children. If you’re looking to up your bead bracelet game and add new tricks to your jewelry making arsenal – our beaded bracelet guide has what you need – from the more complex bracelet making techniques to learning how to prep for each DIY project and lots more.
Crafting is something truly magical in general. From making your own dreamcatcher, perfume and even a bow with ribbon, the things you can do are limitless! So, grab a comfy seat, gather your notes, and stick with us as we break down how to make three different types of beaded bracelets.
Table of Contents
Planning for your beaded bracelet DIY project
Before we jump to our beaded bracelet tutorials, let’s take a moment to discuss how to go about picking the right supplies for all the projects.
1. How to choose beads
When at your local craft store, it’s always best to opt for beads that don’t have any sharp edges around the holes that can damage the beading thread.
You can go for plastic beads if it’s your first attempt at DIY bracelets, such as kanji or Lucite beads. Wood beads or shell beads are good alternatives too. Seed beads are another option because their surface is smooth overall, and they’re lightweight to boot.
2. How to choose the right elastic cord
The type of stretch cord you need depends on, not just the size of the holes in the beads you’ve selected, but also their weight. Most people prefer to stick to measures 1mm or 0.7mm of the stretch magic thread. But you should try and account for the beads you’re working with when choosing the right elastic size.
For example, if your beads of choice are seed ones, a 0.5mm elastic thread will do just fine. If you opt for anything thinner than 0.5mm, there’s a risk of the stretch cord fraying faster due to the weight of the beads.
Also, when you’re cutting the cord to start making the bracelet, always ensure you leave at least 7 to 8cm of elastic on either side. Doing so will help when it’s time to tie a knot and close off the bracelet. Plus, you always have the option of cutting away any excess thread.
3. Have a design in mind before your start making a bracelet
Unless you’re an old hand at making wrap bracelets, it’s always preferable to have a design in mind for yours before you start putting beads on the stretch cord. Here are few pointers that might help boost your creativity when thinking of a bracelet design:
- Try and mix up large beads with smaller ones or add spacer beads to keep things interesting. You can also add gemstones or letter beads to your design for variation.
- Pick a colour scheme and stick to it. For instance, a warm colour scheme with reds, yellows, and oranges or a cold one with blues, purples, and greens.
- Always try to keep the larger beads in the centre of the bracelet, with small beads towards the clasps or end.
- You can add some depth to your design by mixing up the bead sizes if you’ve opted for beads of a similar colour.
- Try using memory wire to create spiral friendship bracelets for extra fun.
- Once you’ve mastered the art of DIY bead bracelets, try your hand at wrap bracelets and macrame bracelets to add to your jewelry making skill set.
4. Invest in a bead tray
Beads are often strung up to be sold. And once you cut the string that’s holding them together, it can be challenging to stop different types of beads from mixing up together. However, if you have a bead tray around, you can arrange all the beads you’ll be working within different pockets of the tray to keep them separate. Doing so will help beaders work faster.
Step-by-step guide: How to make a stretchy beaded bracelet
It’s time to gather your supplies and learn how to make stretch bracelets. This type of bracelet is super-easy to make and doesn’t require too many tools. You have the option of choosing between glass beads or plastic pony beads for this DIY jewelry making project.
List of materials
- Tape/Binder clips
- Cord or elastic
- Beads of choice
Then this is what you need to do:
Measure your wrist size with the thread or cord and add about 7cm on either side (to help tie the knot later) before cutting the elastic with scissors.
Grab each end of the elastic cord you’ve cut between your fingers and stretch the thread gently. Doing so will help you avoid any gaps from developing in your bracelet while threading beads.
Next, put on some tape over one end of the elastic to stop the beads from sliding off the thread while you’re working. Replacing the tape with a binder clip will work fine too.
Start threading your beads on the elastic string. You won’t need to employ a needle for this part because most elastic threads are stiff enough to make the threading process pretty easy. Only make sure you’re holding the thread close to the end. It’s also a good idea to string the bead with the biggest hole first so that you have a place to hide the knot once you tie off the bracelet.
Continue adding the beads until you’ve achieved the desired length. Keep wrapping the beaded string around your wrist to check the size and fit. Ensure the first and the last bead touch and the fit of the cord isn’t too snug. If there are any gaps, that means you need to add more beads.
Once the bracelet is the size you need it to be, it’s time to tie off a surgeon’s knot. Start by taking off the tape or clip at one end of the thread. Then fold the ends of the elastic over each other like you do when you’re tying your shoelaces. Don’t tighten the knot just yet.
Add another knot to the one you’ve already made. Then wrap the ends of the thread around each side of the formed circle. Now tighten the square knot.
Check to see if the knot you’ve made will slide under the bead with the biggest hole. If you can’t slide the knot inside the hole, try tucking the ends of the thread inside it instead.
Once you’re done with that, add glue on top of the knot. And wait for it to dry according to its instructions. After the glue is well and truly dry, your stretch bracelet is ready for use.
Step-by-step guide: How to make a clasp beaded bracelet
If you’re not a fan of stretchy bracelets, try this tutorial instead. However, bracelets with clasps are a little more advanced than your standard seed bead bracelet held together by a knot. Also, this version will require more tools too.
List of materials
- Wire cutters
- Two crimp beads
- Two seed beads
- Clasp & hook
- Nose pliers (needle)
Then you need to follow these steps:
Start by gauging your wrist size with a measuring tape and add 12 to 15cm to the number. It’s best to keep the wire a little longer than your actual size because this will help in creating a comfortable fit. Plus, remember that some beads are larger than others, and you need enough space to accommodate all the beads in your design.
Use the wire cutter to cut the beading wire accordingly. The wire should be flexible and pliant, not the kind used for wire wrapping. Wrap tape around one of the ends to ensure the beads don’t slide off the thread as you work.
Lay out the design pattern you have in mind on a flat surface and measure the length. Add or remove beads according to the size of your wrist.
Next, start threading the beads on the wire. Once you’ve got your pattern arranged in front of you, it’s just a matter of stringing the beads one after the other. Keep measuring the wire against your wrist to gauge the bracelet’s size.
Once you’ve got all the beads threaded on the wire, finish off the bracelet by adding a crimp bead, a seed bead, and one side of the clasp (in that order).
Then thread the wire through the seed and crimp to make a loop. In the end, your clasp should appear to be hanging off the loop.
Now, slowly slide the crimp and seed towards the clasp to make the fit a little snug. You don’t want the loop to be too tight, and the clasp should have enough room to wiggle a little. Leave a tail measuring 2.5cm on the wire. Proceed to pinch the crimp tightly with the plier so that your knot is secure.
Hold the bracelet upside down so that the beads slide towards the clasp. Then tuck the extra wire (tail) into the first few beads to hide it.
Next, repeat the process for the other end of the wire without pinching the crimp. Once you’ve threaded the wire back through the seed bead, crimp the wire. Tug on the wire so that the beads fall against the clasp.
Try on the bracelet to check its size. If the bracelet is smaller than it should be, add a few more beads by pulling the clasp, seed bead and crimp off. Add them once you’ve added more beads and the bracelet is the right size. Pinch the crimp bead with the plier. Then thread the remaining tail through the bead and carefully cut off the excess wire with the wire cutter.
Step-by-step guide: How to make a multi-strand bracelet
Multi-strand bracelets may not require a bracelet knot or a stretch magic cord – but they need many other supplies. However, don’t let that put you off from trying this easy DIY tutorial because you may just fall in love with the finished product.
List of Materials
- Two jump rings
- Clasp & hook
- Bead tips
- Needle and thread
- Beads of choice
- Nose pliers
Then follow these instructions:
Start by measuring your wrist and add about 0.5 to 2.5cm to the number. Doing so will keep the bracelet from being too form-fitting and give you the space you need to play around with different types of beads.
Next, cut two pieces of thread twice as long as your measurement to add them to your bracelet as a beaded strand.
Fold the two threads in half (while holding them together) and tie a knot near the topside of the loop. Add about two to four knots. The result should consist of a large knot with four threads flowing from it.
Add a drop of glue on and press a bead tip over it. You can use the pliers or your fingers to fold the bead tip. The loop must be on the same side as the extra end of the thread.
Thread all the four strands through a beading needle and start stringing the beads. Keep at it until the bracelet is a little bit shorter than you need. Next, take the needle off the thread and tie a few knots a little close to the last bead, but there should be a small gap between them nonetheless.
Add glue to the knot and fold a bead tip over them. The loop of the bead tip should face away from the beads this time.
Repeat the step to create as many strands as you’d like. When you’re done with all the strands, arrange them out (side-by-side) in the order you like best. You can also interweave the threads together to create an intricate look.
Open the jump rings with the help of the pliers. Hold on the ring firmly with the pliers as you slip the clasp onto it. Only one end of the beaded strands should be on the ring at this point.
Close the jump ring with the pliers and repeat the process for the other side of the beaded strands. Attach the clasp and hook to the jump rings on either side, and your bracelet is ready.
There’s always some fun to be had with making bracelets. Whether you choose to make a macrame bracelet or create a multi-strand version – the sky’s literally your limit. Plus, bracelets never truly go out of style. Try pairing a glass bead bracelet with your metallic bangles and watch the magic. In short, there’s very little to stop you from following any of our bracelet tutorials and adding to your jewellery collection!