Jewellery making was one of the first crafty things I started doing as a teenager. When I was around 15 I suddenly developed a severe allergic reaction to (what I later found out was) nickel. Anywhere it would touch me for longer than a couple of hours I would bleed in the perfect shape of whatever the offending metal thing was. This included earrings, necklaces, belt buckles, zips, bra strap loops, watches, rings and jean studs. I had to just stop wearing jeans and other studded clothes, look for bras with plastic loops and I started to make my own jewellery using glass and plastic beads. This has continued on and off since that time and whenever I see expensive beaded jewellery in shops I always think about making it for myself instead.
Recently the urge to make jewellery has returned and I made the bracelet above, inspired by this. I really liked the half and half look of beads and plait:
$80/£55 is a lot of money for a few beads and some cotton! ($80/£55 is a lot of money for costume jewellery full stop!). This was so easy to make, didn’t take very long and probably cost about 50p in materials.
- Thread your chosen beads onto some cotton/string/cord. The bead chain needs to be about half the length that would go all around your wrist. The thread needs to be thin enough to go through the bead holes twice.
- feed the cord back through all the beads keeping hold of the loop created on the end.
- tape down the loop and hook over three thread sections for the plait. These could be embroidery floss, yarn, cord, etc. They can be all the same colour or all different. Whatever you fancy. Here I’m using several threads of crochet cotton. The cotton is quite thin and I wanted a fat plait so I just cut many lengths.
- Plait the cotton threads until it is slightly longer than the bead chain. tie a knot to secure and trim the ends.
- To fasten the bracelet I used a calotte/clamshell and a lobster clasp because that’s what I had. feel free to improvise. Un-tape the beaded half of the bracelet and push the beads up to the plait. thread the two free cord ends through the calotte and tie a knot as close to the beads as you can, trim close to the knot and add a blob of glue to secure. Close the calotte around the knot and attach the clasp and you’re done.
After wearing it a few times hooking the clasp around the threads of the plait got annoying so I added a ring to the end of the plait for easy fastening.