I love designing woven bracelets. It’s the natural fibers and earthy colors, it’s the calming pattern of braiding, knotting or weaving, and it’s especially the cost – twine and seed beads are some of the most inexpensive supplies you can buy when making jewelry. I’ve got a woven bracelet design to share with you today that’s got a wintry theme that reminds me of winterberry branches. It makes a perfect last-minute handmade gift. Best of all, even if you don’t have any of these supplies on-hand, you can still make this woven bracelet for under $10!
Better yet, even if you do have to buy all the supplies, it will be enough to make up to 4 bracelets, just buy an additional clasp for each one you’re planning to make. If you can braid, if you can add beads onto twine, and if you can glue stuff together, then this project is for you. There are no special jewelry techniques or tools necessary. I’m going to share the actual bead colors I used in the links below, but don’t forget: half the fun of creating is trying combinations that fit your own style. You can choose any color twine and beads to make this woven bracelet piece one of a kind.
Supplies needed to make your own winterberry-inspired woven bracelet:
- Size 6/0 Toho Seed Beads (I used a high metallic burgundy and a silver-lined light gray).
- 4mm Silver-plated Spacer Beads.
- Black Waxed Linen.
- Glue-on Hook and Eye Clasp – this one has a 4mm opening.
- Super New Glue (or jewelry glue of your choice).
Now, this list is flexible. For one, you can choose any color seed beads you like, but I do recommend the Toho beads. They have a nice, large hole and they’re quite uniform in size. The spacer beads are just to add an additional finish and texture – you could choose a third color of seed beads, or choose a bead that has a pattern to it. The waxed linen also comes in 4 colors, so whatever color scheme you choose, one will surely match. I prefer waxed linen because it doesn’t unravel while you work with it, and it’s very easy to string beads onto without needles.
First things first – cut 12 lengths of waxed linen, about 12 inches each. It’s more than you will need, but when you get to the end, you will be happy to have the extra ends to work with. Add a few drops of glue to your end cap, and hold your twine in place until it “catches”. It won’t have to be fully dried, but you do need to hold it for about a minute to get it to stick well enough to continue to the next step.
Next, secure your work. Typically, I clip mine to a clipboard. You can pin it to a pillow, set something heavy on top of it – whatever you like, but you will be pulling gently throughout the woven bracelet project, so stabilizing it is a good idea.
Separate your strands, 6 and 6. You will be using half to create a thick braid. Separate your 6 strands (you’ll see below that I’m working on the left) into three parts of 2 strands each. You’ll be using these parts to create a normal, 3-part braid. Begin your braid, and after a couple of passes, add a bead to the outer-most cord. Move it all the way up close to the braid, and then continue braiding as normal. Every few passes, add another bead. I prefer a more random look, but if you like for your beading to be totally uniform, you can braid a pattern. I just added beads every so often, focusing heavily on the red beads, and the least on the spacer beads.
When you’ve braided for 6 inches, stop adding beads, and braid down at least another inch. Tie your braid off in a knot. You will be cutting much of this non-beaded section off, but this will keep your work tight while you create your other strands.
Next, pull 3 more strands, and create another braid. This one will be similar to the first in the way you add beads, but it’s different because it will be thinner. That’s okay – in fact, it lends a more organic look to your woven bracelet. Finish in the same way – stop adding beads after braiding for 6 inches.
Braid the 3 sections together VERY loosely. Just enough to group them together, basically! Measure from the hook end of your clasp down 7 inches, and cut all three braids off at that point. The wax will help hold them together momentarily while you add a few drops to the other clasp end, and then glue it onto the finished end.
Allow it about 30 minutes to fully dry, and your woven bracelet is ready for wear or for gift-giving! The waxed linen gives it a little bit of stiffness so that it holds its shape well, while still being flexible enough for comfort.
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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).