The 4th of July is my favorite holiday all year. It’s barbecues and popsicles, family and friends, parades and fireworks – what’s not to love? So it probably makes sense that I love to make red, white and blue accessories so that I have something festive to wear. Today I’m going to show you how to make a layered bead bracelet in patriotic colors. I love to make layered bracelets, because they give you the look of a stack of bracelets, but you just have one piece to keep track of in your jewelry box. You can add as many or as few strands as you like by choosing different sized end caps. I’ll show you as we go where you can make adjustments to change the style of this bead bracelet.
- Waxed Linen (I used white for this project)
- Star-Shaped 6mm Beads
- 4mm Red Bicone Crystal Beads
- 4mm Blue Bicone Crystal Beads
- 4mm Clear AB Round Crystal Beads
- Super New Glue or Aleene’s Jewelry Glue
- Large Hook-and-eye Glue-on End Clasp
I used all the beads in this mix. If you’re going for a different color scheme with this same design, then opt for at least three seven-inch bead strands. Sizes between 4-6mm in a variety of colors and finishes work best. I’ve mixed crystal and metal today. Pearls aren’t likely to have a large enough hole for this design, but size 6/0 seed beads will work, and give you some really pretty finishes and colors to choose from. First things first: cut your cords. It just so happened that 13 strands worked wonderfully for this piece! I cut them long while I work, about 9 inches. That way if you need to trim an end off while you work, you won’t have to worry about losing any length. Glue on one of your end caps with a few drops of glue. What’s nice about the waxed linen is that the way makes it slightly sticky – not sticky feeling when you wear it, but enough to get your strands to group together well, and to hold a firm end while you work. Give your glue a few minutes to dry (three to five minutes is plenty), and then begin stringing your beads. You won’t need a needle, the wax makes stringing easy. I added anywhere from 8-16 beads onto each strand of linen. I varied the pattern to make it random, though you may want to avoid putting tow of the same color next to each other and to vary the position of beads when you move onto the next strand. For example, if you make the third bead on each strand a star, you’re likely to find all the stars grouped together when you wear it. So switching it up will give you a better mixed look. Push the beads closer to your beginning point. Even up the strands so that they are all the same length – about 7 inches beaded. You can test it against your wrist for size, and keep in mind that each end cap adds about 1/2 inch of length to your finished piece. Trim off the excess and glue on your second end cap. Now, I get a lot of questions when I share this design about how to keep the beads from sliding around. Well, you don’t. The wax finish on the linen will stop them from clumping all to one side each time you move, but the beads will move with your movement. By filling the strands at least a third of the way, it will give you a nice full look. Re-arrange your beads to fill then evenly across to start, so that your finished end doesn’t look empty. Your bracelet is now ready to wear! Do you love July 4th, too? What’s your favorite thing about this time of year?
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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).