December 31, 2015 20 Comments
Chan Luu-style bracelets seem to allure all of us. Who can resist a bracelet that wraps around your wrist multiple times displaying your favorite beads. I hope this tutorial will get you started with a new wrap bracelet obsession. Be sure to check out the very end of the tutorial for great tips on changing up the beads, # of wraps & more!
Attaching the Clasp & Preparing the Bracelet for Some Bead Action
Step #2 Remove the entire length of the thread from the card. String the big-eye needle onto the end of the thread that does not already have a needle attached.
Optional: Some people prefer working this bracelet up with the use of clamps and a wooden tray. Fasten the button to one end of the tray with a clamp. Then secure the leather cords to the opposite end of the tray with another clamp, leaving a bit of space between the two cords for easy access when adding beads.
Stitching the Beads to the Leather
Step #3: Center a bead on the long length thread and position the bead in between the two leather cords, against the button, with the thread resting across the front of the leather cord.
Step #4: Bring one side of the thread (black thread in picture) around the outside edge of the leather and up thru the center, between the two leather cords.
Step #5: Using the needle, feed the same thread thru the bead hole and crossing over the front of the leather on the opposite side of the bracelet.
Step #6: Repeat Step 4 & Step 5 with the other thread (purple thread in picture). Pull both threads to tighten the stitch.
Step #8: String a bead on the same thread and position the bead in the space between the two pieces of leather.
Step #9: Feed the opposite thread around the outside of the leather, thru the bead hole, and crossing over the front of the leather on the opposite side of the bracelet.
Step #10: Pull both threads to tighten the stitch.
Step #11: Continue securing beads in place by repeating Step 7-Step 10 until the bracelet wraps around your wrist two times. For an ideal fit make the bracelet long enough that the starting bead and the ending bead touch when wrapped snugly around your wrist.
Securing the Threads & Finishing the Clasp
The threads are secured in place by tying a surgeons knot with the two threads. If the bead hole is big enough the knot can be hidden inside the hole (a good reason to use large hole beads at the start and finish of the bracelet). Small hole beads require an alternate finishing technique, read on for more details.
Step #13: Wrap thread from the previous step around the needle of the other thread two or three times.
Step #14: Feed the needle thru the bead and slowly pull the thread through the bead. The “wraps” around the other thread will tighten into a knot that will be pulled inside the hole of the bead. If the bead hole is large enough repeat Step 13 & Step 14 again.
TIP: Beads with small holes will not accommodate multiple threads to be passed through with this technique. An alternative way to finish this bracelet is to simply knot the two threads together on the outside of the bead. The finishing knot will be exposed but can be worn on the inside of the bracelet. Most people prefer this method as it is super (duper) easy and for the most part the maker is the only one who notices the exposed thread.
Step #15: Glue the knot and allow it to dry. When the glue is dry (yes, wait for it to dry) cut the threads.
Step #17: Leaving enough room to accommodate the size of the button on the opposite end, tie a second overhand knot with the leather cords. Check to make certain the button fits into the loop before tightening the loop.
Step #18: Cut the ends of the leather approximate ½” from the knot. Or string a couple embellishment beads onto the individual leather cords and make an additional knot to keep them in place.
TIP: Light-duty flush cutters are an excellent way to easily cut through heavy cording materials while providing for a clean cut. These light-duty cutters are traditionally used to cut through the silk cord through between knotted pearls. The flat side of the cutter provides protection from damaging the bead while the blades cut cleanly through the fibers. They are also excellent for cutting soft wire up to 18 gauge.
Cutting Leather Cord for Additional Wraps: Additional wraps require using a longer length of leather cord, thread, and additional beads. A general guideline to cutting the appropriate leather length is as follows: 1 wrap: 24 inches, 2 wraps: 40 inches, each additional wrap will require an addition 12 inches of leather. Remember we all have different sized wrists; play it safe by using a bit more leather than required.
Using Small Hole Beads: Small hole beads are exciting and it can be hard to limit yourself to beads with large holes only. When selecting smaller hole beads a thinner thread is required. I like Superlon or Nymo Size D for their excellent color selection. You may also need to use a finer needle. We like to use a size #10 needle for Nymo and Superlon.
Adding a New Thread: When making bracelets with more than two wraps additional thread will be required to complete the project. If you are using large hole beads simply knot off the old threads, glue & cut. Add the new thread by feeding one end through the last bead stitched, centering the thread, and resume beading like nothing happened.