Multi-Strand Bracelets Tutorial

Stringing beads is a fun way to create jewelry that has the exact style and fit you are looking for. There is no end to the way you can combine beads in stringing projects, so let your imagination run wild! ~Amy Haftkowycz

 

 

 

 

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MULTI-STRAND BRACELETS 

Amy Haftkowycz from Trixie's Jewel Box

Stringing beads is a fun way to create jewelry that has the exact style and fit you are looking for. There is no end to the way you can combine beads in stringing projects, so let your imagination run wild!!

Skill Level: Beginner

Tools:

  • Wire Cutters
  • Chain Nose Pliers or Crimping Tool – 1 pair

 

Materials for 3 Strand Clasp:

 

 

Materials for 5 Strand Clasp:

       

 

 

 

Materials for 7 Strand Clasp (14 strand bracelet):

   

 

 

©2020 Amy Haftkowycz, All rights reserved. Distributed by Nirvana Beads. This project may be distributed and taught by customers of Nirvana Beads. This document may not be altered in any way without first obtaining written approval from Amy Haftkowycz.

 

NOTES:

The techniques and concepts covered in this tutorial work for any type of clasp and any size of bead. You can use small beads or large beads; 2-strand clasps or 7 strand clasps; you can double-up strands or string them individually. The possibilities are endless!

To determine how long your beaded section should be, take a snug measurement of your wrist (Figure 1), and then subtract the width of the clasp including the loops (Figure 1a) from this wrist measurement. The result is how long the beaded section, not including the crimps beads, should be. Once you add the crimp beads and loop of beading wire around the clasp, the finished length of your bracelet will be the perfect fit!

This method is a great general guide for achieving a good size; however since everyone is different in how they like their bracelets to fit, I recommend frequently trying your bracelet on while working. This way, if the fit is too tight or too loose, you can make adjustments before you’ve poured too much work into your project. Additionally, bead size can also affect how long your beaded section should be. Smaller beads usually require a shorter beaded section for a good fit, whereas larger beads may require a longer beaded section (ie, when working with larger beads, you may need to add ¼” – ½” or more to the length you get after you subtract the length of the clasp from your snug wrist measurement in order get a good fit).

When working with larger beads, using a smaller bead, such as an 8o seed bead, as a spacer in between the larger beads helps with the bracelet’s flexibility.

TIP: If you don’t have a tape measure, wrap a piece of string around your wrist and then measure it against a ruler.

 

 

BASIC SUPPLIES

 

Beading Wire: “Beading wire” is comprised of a bunch of very fine wires that are twisted together and then coated with nylon. It is both flexible and strong, and it comes in a variety of thicknesses and colors, so you’ll want to select your wire according to your design needs. In general, beading wire labeled as “fine” works well for most projects, but if you are working with particularly heavy beads, you will want to use “medium” or “heavy” wire. There are several popular brands of beading wire, including SoftFlex and Beadalon. Because beading wire is actual wire, you need wire cutters to cut it.

Crimp Beads: There are a wide variety of crimp beads (also called “crimp tubes”) out there. Some require a special crimping tool in order to achieve a secure crimp, while others only required chain nose pliers. My personal preference for crimp tubes are “twisted” or “tornado” crimps. These crimps do not require a special crimping tool. They have a spiral that runs both inside and outside the crimp tube, and when the tube is flattened with chain nose pliers, that spiral grabs on to the beading wire, creating a very strong and reliable crimp. See Figure 3 for a sampling of twisted crimp tubes.

 

 

Clasps (Figure 4): This tutorial uses multi-strand box clasps to demonstrate basic stringing techniques. However, the techniques covered in this tutorial can be applied to almost any type of clasp (with a few exceptions), as well as to necklaces and/or single-strand projects. Clasps are often times treated as an afterthought in beading projects, but there are many, many gorgeous clasps out there that truly “complete” the design of a piece.

Beads: And this is where the fun really begins! When creating any strung project, the way you can design a piece is limitless. You can create a completely random design by making a big pile of all your beads and picking up whatever you pick up as you string. You can develop a repeating pattern with just a few types of beads. You can double-up the number of strands attached to one loop on your clasp, or you can spread the beads out with just one strand on each loop. There are so many possibilities, and the samples that accompany this tutorial are just the tip of the iceberg.  Jump in and play!!

Tools (Figure 5, Figure 5a): You will need wire cutters and chain nose pliers for this project. A bead design board is helpful for laying out your design, but it is not absolutely necessary for creating beautiful strung designs. If you don’t have a design board, a beading mat or towel is also helpful for keeping your beads from rolling away, and a tape measure or ruler works fine for measuring the length.

 

 

CREATING A BRACELET 

1- Using the technique described in the “NOTES” above, determine how long your beaded section(s) need to be. Once you’ve calculated this length, add 3” to it, and then use wire cutters to cut the beading wire to this length. Example: For a bracelet that requires a 5” long beaded section, you would cut the beading wire to a length of 8”.

2- Separate the clasp before you begin stringing beads (Figure 6). Slide a twisted/tornado crimp tube onto one end of the wire. Pass the wire through one of the loops on the clasp and then back down through the crimp tube, leaving a short tail and forming a small loop or wire around the loop on the clasp (Figure 7). Note that you want this loop of wire to be small enough that it doesn’t overtake the design, but large enough that the wire/strand of beads can move freely. If the wire loop is too tight against the clasp, it will put pressure on the beading wire that will eventually result in it breaking. Once you’ve got the size of the wire loop set, use chain nose pliers to flatten the entire length of the crimp tube (Figure 8, Figure 9).

 

 

3- Begin stringing beads onto the beading wire. As you do this, be sure that the first several beads cover the small tail (Figure 10). Continue stringing beads until you reach the desired length. Remember that when you measure the beaded length, only measure the beads; do not include the crimp tube or the loop of beading wire in this measurement (Figure 11).

 

 

4- Once you’ve reached the desired length, slide a crimp tube onto the beading wire. Pass the beading wire through the loop on the second half of the clasp (making sure that you have the clasp properly oriented so that it matches/closes correctly) and then back through the crimp tube and 2-3 of the Czech glass beads, forming a loop of beading wire around the loop of the clasp (Figure 12). Pull everything in snug, so that the crimp tube is against the beads, and the beading wire loop is not too big or too small (Figure 13). Before flattening the crimp tube, double-check the flexibility of the beaded strand: it should be flexible enough so that it can easily wrap around your wrist, but tight enough that there are no gaps in the beading wire. Additionally, now is a good time to test the length of your bracelet. Since the crimp tube is not crimped yet, be very careful, but try the bracelet on to make sure if it is a good fit. If it needs any adjustments in length, remove the clasp and crimp tube, make the adjustments, and then try it again. Once you’ve double-checked the length/fit and flexibility of the beaded strand, use the chain nose pliers to flatten the entire length of the crimp (Figure 14).

 

 

5- Trim off the excess beading wire. To do this, hold the beading wire with your non-dominant hand, and press the flat side of the wire cutters firmly against the beads (Figure 15). Snip the beading wire off (Figure 16).

 

 

6- Once you’ve established that the length of the bracelet is perfect, you can begin stringing the rest of the strands. You can use the first strand you strung as a guide for the rest of the strands, or you can continue using a ruler to measure the length. Both methods work just fine, but do try the bracelet on after stringing each strand to make sure it still fits the way you want it to.

7- Repeat Steps 1-6 until you’ve completed your bracelet. Wear and enjoy!!

  

 


About Amy Haftkowycz from Trixie's Jewel Box: 

Like many others, my journey into the world of beads began on a fluke: one day, way back in 1995, I wandered into a newly-opened bead store in a neighboring town, and I was immediately hooked. And that addiction grew incredibly fast. I knew almost immediately that I couldn’t just buy the beads…I had make the beads myself! Before the end of my first year in the world of beading, I was set up with a torch, glass rods, and a kiln…I became a lampworker.

I spent many years making glass beads and selling them at bead shows and art fairs. It was a wonderful and exciting time. But, as the years wore on, my hands grew weary, and my mind craved to expand my beading experience.

As luck would have it, I had two dear friends who were looking to open a bead store, and they wanted a third partner to join them. It was the perfect opportunity at the perfect time, and in 2006 Artful Beads Studio and Workshop was born! Over the next 10 years, we had a wonderful time teaching classes, learning new techniques in beading, metal smithing, and metal clay, and generally having a great time. But, as we all know, all good things eventually come to an end; we all decided it was time to move on to new adventures and in January of 2016, we closed our doors.

And that’s when “Trixie’s Jewel Box” came to be. I still adored beads, and this was an opportunity to try things out in yet another direction. I received my PMC certification back in the late 90s, but hadn’t had the time for playing around with metal clay as I wanted. So, with the store now closed, I decided to focus my energy for Trixie’s Jewel Box on making metal clay jewelry components…pieces that add a unique, artistic touch to peoples’ designs without breaking the bank in the process.

I also began designing beading kits that center around my handcrafted components. This is a challenge that I truly enjoy, as it brings together my love of original metal pieces and my love of artistic Czech glass beads.

These days I can still be found at several bead shows a year, as well as on Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/TrixiesJewelBox, where I sell my handcrafted metal clay components, beading kits, Czech glass beads, seed beads, and beading supplies. Additionally, some of my projects can be found in various beading magazines (both past and present), and I maintain a beading blog on my website www.TrixiesJewelBox.com. I don’t imagine I will ever tire of beads!