I made a bracelet! A while back I found a couple of cute little stone bunny beads. Since the hare is my Chinese zodiac animal, I thought it’d be fun to make a piece of jewelry where the bunny was front and center. I further thought I’d make the bunny surrounded by my Chinese element, wood. Although I found some delightful green nut-beads, they didn’t quite work with the stone bunny bead. Instead, I used glass leafy beads (which I thought were simultaneously representative of fire+earth), stone beads cut to look like stars, and blue beads to represent little dots of water, nourishing the leaves. I tried to use coral beads to represent the water element—and pearls and shells—but nothing really fit like the blue beads did. Stringing it all together, copper wire (metal). Actually, the copper also forms a totally ghetto clasp. I couldn’t find a “real” one at the time and I was all geeked to finish it; I didn’t want to wait.
So here’s what I did. I’ve never done bead work or jewelry work, so I’m not using official names of things. I’m not really sure what they are. I’m making just this up as I go. 🙂
First, I gathered together enough beads for this pattern, repeated until it got around my wrist, about seven inches. That was also 7 repeats (one of which was special. I’ll get to that).
I made up and followed this pattern of beads:
Filler section: two green seed beads
a star bead
three green seed beads.
Feature section: leaf bead
-or- the bunny bead instead of the leaves and seeds.
1) Ok, beads assembled, cut a length of copper wire. I used 32 gauge (very thin. Maybe even too thin, but oh well). I think I probably cut about 30 inches of wire. Cut more than you think you’ll need.
2) I strung one seed bead onto the wire, and looped the wire through it, like figure one, below. I’ve called this a “foundation bead” because it’ll keep the whole string of beads from falling off the wire while I work.
3) Once that was on, I started following the pattern: one fill section (2 green, 1 star, 2 green) and one feature section (green, leaf, green, leaf, blue, leaf).
4) Then the fun part: making the leaf wreath. Loop the wire back through the first green bead of the feature section, through the first leaf, and through the second green bead. That’s figure 2, if you’re a visual person.
Pull this loop snug. You might have to shimmy a bit of the wire to keep the leaf wreath flush with the filler section beads. That is, work the beads and wire so you don’t get gaps!
For reference, here’s what it looks like, one repeat looped and a section repeat pre-loop.
To put it another way, you’ll string on all your beads for one repeat (11 beads), then make the loop, then string another 11 beads of the repeat pattern, loop, and so on.
5) Repeat this pattern until you get halfway through the total length you want your bracelet. I did 3 full sections with leaf loops, then a filler set, then added my bunny bead. That is, instead of making a leaf loop, I strung on a bunny. That section of beads looked like 2 seed beads, 1 star, 2 seed beads, then the bunny. I kept on going for another 3 full section repeats after the bunny bead.
6) To finish, normally you’d add on a clasp or something. Yeah, I didn’t so much have one. So instead I folded the copper wire so that the raw end fed back into the last bead. I squished this fold into a T shape. Another figure to illustrate!
At that point, I just clipped some of the excess copper wire (I’d cut a lot!) and tucked one end into the end bead, then started wrapping the loose wire around my T shape. I wrapped until that wire ran out. Meanwhile, back on the other end of the bracelet (where I’d put the foundation bead), I formed another loop (like the wire above before it became a T shape) and wrapped a loose length of copper around that, just like I’d done on the T-side. You can see in the finished photo that at one end of the bracelet is a circle, at one end is a T. They make clasps like this at the store, but if you’re anxious to finish up or have extra wire, why not?