For those of you who love jewelry, I am going to show you how to make a bracelet today that is beautiful and fairly simple to create. It’s a great project for experienced beginners – it makes up quickly, there aren’t any difficult patterns to follow, and I’m going to show you how to finish your clasp in a way that looks polished and professional with a set of end cones. So if you have the hang of bead stringing and how to use your pliers – you should find that this is very easy to do and really takes your jewelry pieces to the next level.
The other technique I will show you is how to get the twisted look with multiple strands of beads, and beginners can achieve this look whether you finish your ends with cones or caps. So even if you haven’t really had a lot of experience with bead stringing – you can still make a bracelet like this one for yourself! Let me show you how!
First things first: choosing your beads. Your bead choices are the star of the show in this piece, and you can’t go wrong if you choose beads you love. I will share what I used here if you want to re-create these colors, but let me offer a few tips if you want to try something uniquely your own style. I like to blend coordinating or contrasting colors, and use different textures, finishes, or shapes. For twisting, you will want to use beads that are small, so that you can use several strands. I used a 6mm strand of gunmetal glass beads, a 4mm strand of faux-turquoise beads, and 4mm fire-polished Czech beads in turquoise and jet black with an aurora borealis finish. This gives the final piece color, depth, and a little bit of sparkle. The Consumer Crafts website has an entire line of Twister Beads that are the perfect size for this type of project – but don’t feel limited to just one line of beads if you are smitten with something else, because virtually any small beads will work well in this piece. I used 4 strands. If you are sticking with smaller beads, you may be able to use 5 or even 6 strands. 7-inch strands should work fine for this project – longer is perfectly fine!
Other supplies needed to make a bracelet with twisted bead strands:
- Beading Wire
- Crimp Beads
- End Cones
- 16 or 18 Gauge Silver Plated Wire
- Round-nosed Jewelry Pliers
- Wire Cutters
- Clasp of your Choice (I like lobster-style clasps for bracelets)
- Wire Guards (optional)
Form your ends from wire. Cut off about a 2-3 inch length of wire, and make a loop to fit the inside of your end cone. These end cones are 10mm x 16mm but you can certainly use a larger or smaller size to suit your tastes. (Making your loop from wire like this ensures that there are no gaps in a jump ring to risk losing a strand of bead with prolonged wear.) Just wrap the end around your pliers to form a loop, and wrap the small end of wire around the “neck” of the loop 2-3 times. If you have excess, you can cut it off with wire cutters. Before you continue, make sure your loop fits inside your end cone. If not, experiment with other sizes until you get the right size. Once it fits, make the other end. They will resemble large pins.
Now, string your beads! Cut off more wire than you need; it will make it easier to work with. You can always trim it down, but you can’t add more length. A 10-12 inch length should be enough. You will need you use crimp beads to hold them on – thread your wire through the end loop and feed both ends through the bead. Crimp the bead closed with your pliers. For gifts and pieces for sale, I really recommend using wire guards here as well. (I was planning to add them to this piece but my wire guards seem to have walked away in our recent move!) The shorter tail end of your bead wire can just be fed into the bead hole close to the end. I use 7 inches of beads – the end cones and clasp will add some length, but twisting your strands will shorten it a little. It ends up being a wash in the end for length. But if you are using a particularly large end clasp or don’t plan to twist your beads, you will want to adjust the length smaller accordingly.
Once you get to the end of your strand, use another crimp bead to secure it to the opposite end of your bracelet. Again, the short end can be tucked into the end bead with a pair of pliers. If you plan to twist your bracelet, leave the strand a little bit loose; 2-3 mm of slack wire will aid in twisting. If you’re unsure about how many strands will fit, test your end cone after you add each strand to make sure the ends will be adequately covered.
Once your strands are finished, the last step is to finish off the ends of the bracelet and add the clasp.
Add your end cone over the loop, covering up the messy beaded ends. Now, form the same kid of loop on the pointy end of the cone – form it over your pliers and around the neck, wrapping 2-3 times to secure it. Nip off the excess. The other end will be formed in the same way, but add your lobster clasp to the wire loop before closing it off.
You should now have a great-looking multi-strand bead bracelet. If you like this look, you can leave it just as-is. But for an alternate look, twist the strands to make a bracelet with a fun new look!
You can’t just twist the strands… they will un-twist. What you are actually going to do is kind of braid or tangle them together in a way that won’t allow them to come undone.
Separate a bead strand from one end of your bracelet. Now, take the opposite end of the bracelet, pull it up toward you, and pass it under the bead strand. You’re making a twist – just pull the bracelet out straight. You should find that all your strands twisted except the one you separated. Repeat the process, but alternate which strands you pass the bracelet end through. Rather than give you a specific formula (which will vary depending on how many strands you have), I recommend just experimenting until you get the look you want. If one of your passes doesn’t look right, you can just reverse it and try another pass. You’re done anytime you’re happy with the end result!
I hope this tutorial has inspired you to make a bracelet for yourself! This is a really versatile style that will change just by using a different style of beads. What’s your style?
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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).