Memorial Day is right around the corner, which is the unofficial-official-start-of-summer! Every time we get to shorts and sandals weather, my ankles get a new bracelet. Are you the same way? Whether it’s a tradition for you, or you just want to try something new, I have a surprisingly simple ankle bracelet design to show you today!
There’s a lot of room for variation with this design depending on the beads you like. I used the double-row look to incorporate two separate colors, but you can get a different look with any combination.
Supplies needed to make your own bead and hemp ankle bracelet:
- Hemp Jewelry Cord (I love this variety pack from Darice, you can use any thickness to suit your beads. I used six 24-inch strands of 10 lb. hemp for my ankle bracelet.)
- Seed Beads – you know you have some laying around! If not (or if you want a new color for the new season) choose either 6/0 or 8/0 size. I used size 8/0 in this project.
- Set of 5mm Glue-on End Caps
- Lobster Clasp
- Aleene’s Jewelry & Metal glue
- You will also need a pin, clip, or clipboard to hold your bracelet while you work
First things first: trim your hemp cord to six strands of 24-30 inches. Why the range? Well, hemp is made from several strands wound together. As you string beads onto it, it can begin to unravel. If this starts to happen, you should trim off the frayed end to keep working. The size of hole in your bead will make the most difference in how much your hemp will fray as you work. The larger the bead, the less fray you will have, but if it’s a snug fit, you will want it a little longer. You can always trim off excess when your bracelet is finished, but you can’t add more length if you run short.
Tie your six strands together with an overhand knot. Then, secure the end to your workplace. I clipped mine to a canvas board because that is what I had handy, but a clipboard will work well for woven bracelets, too!
Separate your strands into three groups of two strands each. We will be making a basic braid, but to give the bracelet weight and texture, we are doubling up the amount of cord going into the bracelet. On the outermost strand, thread on a bead, and begin to braid. I begin working left to right, but it makes no difference.
When you get to the other side of your braid, again, thread a bead onto the outermost strand, and braid the two strands to the center. You will continue this pattern for the whole bracelet. In my case, each time I pulled from the left, I added an orange bead. Each time I pulled from the right, I added a red bead.
This gave me two separate rows of color. You could incorporate even more colors, or you could make the whole bracelet a single color – this is where you make the pattern your own! Continue adding beads into your braid like this for the length of the bracelet, which should be a final braided length of 8 to 9 inches. (The range accounts for your own preference. Standard ankle bracelets are 9 or 10 inches, depending on which size the wearer prefers. We will be adding one inch of length when we add the clasp at the end.)
When you reach your desired length, tie an overhand knot to secure your braid.
You can trim the tails quite short, because we will be gluing on ends caps. I LOVE these end caps, particularly for woven bracelets like this. Let me show you a closer look of how the set comes:
A toggle clasp is included with the 5mm set, but for additional security, I like to replace it with a lobster clasp. Toggle clasps work well for bracelets, but as much movement as your legs do, I don’t recommend them on ankles. You can save the toggle findings for a future jewelry project!
All you have to do is trim your bracelet “tails” to the length of the cap, which is roughly 1/4 inch. Add a dab of jewelry glue to the inside of the cap, and cover your bracelet tails. Give it a good twist to ensure that it fully coats, and allow it to dry. Do this for both ends. It will be dry enough to finish your piece in about 5 minutes, but give it at least 30 minutes before wearing your bracelet.
If you are new to jewelry and findings intimidate you, or you know you will be wearing it all summer long, you can also make this a friendship-style bracelet, and leave the tails long to be tied onto ankles (or wrists) for the season. Enjoy!
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Adrianne is a writer, artist, designer, wife, and mom of 2 kids. She blogs at happyhourprojects.com where the theme is tutorials and recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Her favorite projects are jewelry-making, paper crafts, and recycled crafts. She participates annually in ArtPrize, an international art competition, and she’s the author of the book DIY T-Shirt Crafts: 50 Ways to Recycle a T-Shirt (August 2015).