Making bracelets on the beach. (Happy sigh.) Call me crazy but I always take something with me to make on vacation. A few years back it was leather wrapped bracelets. I loved making them, but they were a little too complex for the beach, so I made them back in my room. This year on vacation I wanted something simpler. These braided bracelets were the answer because the supplies are few (taking up next to no space in my luggage) and they are easy to make. This way, I could stay and enjoy the beach all day long.
- 4 ply Irish Waxed Linen about 2 yards
- 1 package size 8 seed beads or pony beads. For an average sized wrist, this equates to about 60-75 beads for a single wrap bracelet. It’s hard to give an exact number because you may be using beads that are different sizes or your wrist size may be larger or smaller. For these braided bracelets you can use about any smallish bead you like as long as the hole is large enough for the waxed linen. On the top bracelet above, I used 6mm round beads. On the bottom bracelet I used tubular size 10 twist hexigon Delica beads. Both bracelets in the middle were made using pony beads by Mill Hill.
- small button for the closure
- mini-clip board (you can get these at Office Max or Office Depot)
- 3-4 binder clips
1. GETTING STARTED
To make a single wrap bracelet cut the first strand of waxed linen 3 feet long and the second strand 2 feet long.
To make a double wrap bracelet cut the first strand of waxed linen 4 feet long and the second strand 30 inches long.
2. MAKE THE LOOP CLOSURE
Fold the longer piece in half.
Next, on the shorter piece, fold over 6″ on one end.
Now, hold both strands together so the folded portions are aligned and side by side. Tie an end knot, leaving an end loop large enough to go over the size of your button.
Pick up the shortest end of the 4 strands (the other 3 longer ends are used for braiding) and wrap this shorter end around the slip knot leaving a loop about the size in the photo above. Thread the end of the waxed linen through this loop and pull to tie it off. Do this 3-4 times and cut off the end.
3. CLIP IT DOWN
I keep all my jewelry making supplies in this little aluminum case – which I love because it all tucks away easily in my suitcase. But of course I forgot to pack a mini-clip board to hold down the end of the bracelet while I braid. I had just about decided to drag one of the hotel pants hangers down to the beach but fortunately my husband dug around in his backpack and found this binder clip, which ended up working great.
Before you start braiding, find a clip board or binder clip to hold down the knotted end of your bracelet before you start stringing on the beads.
4. STRING THE BEADS
If you are making a single strand bracelet start by stranding about 25-35 beads on all 3 strands. Double that number for the two strand bracelets. Cut the end of the waxed linen diagonally, to make the end act as a needle. The beading will go faster if you use the end of the waxed linen to scoop them on, as opposed to placing each bead on individually.
Knot the ends or use mini-binder clips or paperclips at the ends of the waxed linen to hold on the beads while you braid.
5. START BRAIDING THE BRACELETS
(I’m going to assume here that you already know how to braid.) When you start braiding, you may feel sort of like “What’s going on? Why does this look weird? Geez, I thought I knew how to braid.” The first 3-4 beads look like a mess, but if you keep going it all starts to fall into place.
All you have to remember is:
Slide a bead up on the outside right. Braid to the center.
Slide a bead up on the outside left. Braid to the center.
Try and aim to keep your tension even, but not too tight, so the beads lay fairly close to one another as you braid.
Here, the bead is in position on the outside left, ready to be braided into the center.
6. TIE IT OFF WITH A BUTTON
Hold the bracelet up to your wrist to check it’s size. When you are happy with the length, make 2-3 small braids to hold the end beads in place and tie an overhand knot.
Slide on a button and tie another overhand knot. Cut off the extra waxed linen, leaving ends about 3/4″ long.
Now, dream about what braided bracelets you can make on your next vacation!