Waxed Irish Linen for Bracelet Making

Posted by in all posts

Lately, I am in LOVE with Waxed Irish Linen Thread, sometimes referred to as Waxed Irish Linen Cord, as a medium for bracelet making.  Waxed Irish Linen Thread has been used for  a long time in different fiber arts projects like macrame and basket making and also in it’s unwaxed form for book binding.  It is a great substitute for hemp when you want a cleaner more refined jewelry look for your bracelets.

Waxed Irish Linen Thread is available in a wide variety of exciting colors and it is easy to thread beads right on without the use of a needle.  It comes in different plys or thicknesses giving you lots of  creative options for layering and beading the thread. The coating of beeswax makes the cord a bit malleable almost like clay in your hands.  This quality really allows the thread to become a beautiful part of your design.   The wax also helps to hold a knot securely without any glue. Besides being friendly to work with, a Waxed Irish Linen bracelet feels comfortable around the wrist due to its flexible quality.  It generally comes in spools anywhere from 25 – 45 to almost 200 yards, unless you are buying from someone who supplies smaller hanks to try for the first time.

Here is a photo of a few Waxed Irish Linen bracelets I have made in a silver gray and black linen.  I wear these bracelets quite a bit when I am just hanging around in my workout clothes, taking yoga or running after my kids. I also like to layer them with other bracelets.  More on layering bracelets in another post! They are great casual, chic everyday bracelets.  I am working on making different colors and using a variety of beads and closures.

Waxed Linen Sparkly Bracelets

You are not supposed to get the Waxed Irish Linen wet to preserve it’s life – but I wear mine quite a bit even when I am washing my hands or washing a few dishes.  I would not submerse it in water like swimming or showering though…..  I will probably try to abuse mine a little more to see how much they can really take.

If you would like to receive weekly  inbox inspiration and tips on how to make beautiful bracelets, just enter your name and BEST email address to the right in the box that says “Free Bracelet Making Tips”.

Leave a comment below and let me know if you like the look of these bracelets or if you have used waxed linen in jewelry making before.  Feel free to ask me  any questions you have and I will do my best to answer them!

38 Comments

  1. Tracy -
    How are your Irish Linen Sparkly bracelets made?
    Do you use three strands and braid inbetween the beads? How
    long are your bracelets? They are great looking.
    Congratulations on being chosen for the “A Jewelry Accord” book.
    Good job. Can’t wait to see your work.
    Thanks.
    Kath

    • Thanks Kath.

      Yes they are three strands of waxed linen braided with the beads slipped on at regular intervals. I am going to do a little video tutorial on it in the new year. There are fun ways to make them look different. There is a teal one in the header picture on the blog too – a single wrap. They are one of my favorite kinds of bracelets to wear for everyday and being active. The multi wraps are about 19 1/2″ long and go around my wrist three times. Be sure to add your email address in the tips box so you can stay tuned for the video on this.

      Happy Holidays!
      Tracy

  2. I love those little sparkly bracelets! I’m wondering if you’re not supposed to get waxed linen wet because it degrades the wax on it? I guess the test would be to take a sample and immerse it in water for awhile and see what happens (hmmmm I’ve given myself an idea – now where is my waxed linen cord?)

    I’d love a tutorial on the sparkly bracelets – have signed up for your emails so I know when you post your video.

    Thanks for sharing so generously!
    Cindy

    • The sparkly bracelet will definitely be in the video. I don’t see your email (the one associated with your name in the comment) in the subscriptions – Try again to sign up. Thanks Cindy!

  3. hi! I was wondering where the video is that you mention. I Love these waxed Irish linen bracelets and am dying to know how to make one! Thanks!

    Jess

    • Hi Jess. It should be available this week. It is on my long list of projects to finish! I will post it as soon as it is finished. Make sure you enter your email at the top right of the blog so youa re able to get emails when the posts are made.
      -Tracy

  4. Hi. I have seen your “sparkly bracelets” on so many websites, but they charge so much to buy them. I am dying to know how to make them! I just love them to wear during the day, or like you said, to yoga class or just around town. Do you have a written set of instructions on how to make them? I’m sure it’s not too difficult, but would love to learn. I know you mentioned a video tutorial. I will keep checking. Thanks so much for sharing your jewelry making wisdom!
    -Nicole

  5. Tracy,

    Thanks so much for the video! I can’t wait to try making these bracelets with my daughter!

  6. Hi, I love these bracelets and was wondering if you could recommend
    a supplier that sells smaller quantities of waxed linen thread so I could try working with it for the first time?

  7. Please send me the instructions for making these lovely waxed linen bracelets.

    Thank you

  8. Hi I was wondering about how many of the beads do you use per braclet? And do you use real silver?

    • Hi Jesse.

      I have used both solid sterling and sterling plated rounds. The ones you see in the pics are plated. There are about 24 beads for a single and about 70 beads or so for a triple wrap bracelet. I have a small wrist. You may factor in a few more if you have more than a 7 ” bracelet size.

  9. Thank you! One more question if you’d indulge me. I ordered some 4 ply Irish Linen, but trying to figure out the hole opening diameter the 3mm beads should have, I’ve never used the Irish Linen & I don’t want to order a bunch of beads and have it not fit.

  10. I measured to the best of my ability and it seems like it has to be a 1 mm hole to make it go through easily. I like the silver plated rounds I get from Michaels. They seem to have the biggest holes and work well for the Irish Linen.

  11. Thank you so much for your time! :)

  12. Can you do or do you have a video on how to make the loop look like this one where the cord/linen is wrapped around the loop? (in the 4th picture)

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/69186511/new-box-bracelet-with-pure-silver-and

    • Hi jackie. I don’t yet. However, an attractive wat to make the loop stronger and more substantial (and pretty) than just the linen loop is to add seed beads like a 6/0 – maybe 8/0 so they will fit over the linen. It makes for a really neat looking loop! I will look into that wrap.

  13. So glad I found your blog, Tracy! I am awaiting the delivery of some waxed linen thread and then I’m going to start experimenting, with your help. These bracelets are great!

  14. Hi, I am making the Irish Linen Sparkly Wrap Bracelet and have 4mm beads. I need to order the wax linen and want to make sure I get the right size. What would you suggest and any particular vendor you can recommend? Thanks, Emily

    • Hi Emily. To be safe, I would use a 4 ply. Some 4mm beads will not fit a 7ply linen. I buy in wholesale bulk from Royalwood, Ltd. If you would like to try a few colors, I can destash and sell you some by sending you a Paypal link. I can send you an email with all the details.

  15. Hi Tracy,
    Yea, I stumbled upon your blog. Your jewelry is gorgeous. I like to wear my bracelets at work (nursing) and around the house, etc. and these are so comfortable. Please add me to your email list. Thank you sooo much for sharing your generous and creative talent.
    Jackie if Florida

  16. I was wondering what is the best waxed linen to use for beading. I have been using one that tends to get limp easily.
    Sheri /California

    • Hi Sheri. I usually use a 4 ply waxed linen and I get mine from Royalwood, inc. I am not sure what you mean by limp – because the thread is kind of limp. It is not going to be totally stiff. Hope that helps!

      Tracy

      • I have trouble getting the 4ply to go in a 3-4 mm rondelle- if i want to use small rondelles, i want the look fine– is 2 ply strong enough and will it go through a faceted gemstone rondelle?

        • The 2 ply will almost always go through even a faceted gemstone bead with a finer hole. It is strong enough for sure!

  17. Hi,
    I just finished my first waxed linen bracelet. I used marame knots between the beads. Could you give me some tips how I could finish the end of the threads? Do you use glue or lighter fire to fix the last knot? And what about the wax between the knots? Are they wearing off in time?
    Thanks,
    Edina

    • Hi Edina.

      The neat thing about waxed linen is that you don’t really need to anything to finish your knots. Glue won’t really work because it just wears off due to the wax. I would definitely not use a lighter. The wax will come off a bit over time. You are not supposed to get the waxed linen wet – that will make it age faster. I just finish my ends by tying several tight overhand knots. If you pull tight – those knots should not go anywhere because of that wax. Basket makers use it and never use anything other than knots to finish their ends.

      Hope that helps!

      Tracy

      • Thank you Tracy!
        I used square knots. I hope these knots hold properly because overhand knots won’t be looking good between the beads.

  18. Hi Tracy,

    Sorry to bug you with more questions! I am new to working with both waxed linen and 1.5 leather cord. I have purchased several 50 yard spools of 1.5 leather and find throughout the spool there are several weak spots in the cord. I am becoming discouraged with leather and thinking of using all waxed linen for my wrap bracelets. It seems to wear well, although my bracelets are only a couple months old. I was thinking of taking the plunge and ordering a couple spools of the 12 ply. How do you think the linen holds up long term? (I am selling them so want to make sure I choose good supplies.) I LOVE working with the waxed linen!! Thanks again for your help!! Michele

  19. Do you know if there are stores in the US that sell them? Is there another name for it, that I could look for it at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or Joann Fabrics? Im having a hard time finding some. Don’t want to order it and then not use much of it. Thanks.

    • Many craft stores don’t sell the waxed Irish Linen. If you google waxed irish linen or look on Etsy – there are many people who sell small quantities that you can try to see if you like working with it. Jewelry Accord is just one of the many store son Etsy that sell it.

      • Do you know of another material that I could use that is easier to find? I have emailed specialty jewelry making supply stores in the area and they don’t carry it either. Expecting a snowstorm this weekend, and was hoping to make one or two this weekend? Is there another waxed cord/thread that would work that is easy to find? Thank you

        • Try bookbinding stores! Hollander’s has a great supply of 4-ply waxed Irish linen, in a whole bunch of colors. And their prices aren’t too bad! You’d probably have to have it shipped (unless you live near Michigan), but I don’t think their shipping fees are too high. Other bookmaking stores might have it as well!

          http://www.hollanders.com/index.php/bookbinding-supplies/sewing-supplies/waxed-threads.html

        • What is the difference between waxed Irish linen and waxed linen cord (like Hobby Lobby carries)?

          • Hi Melissa. It is the same as waxed irish linen online. I don’t have their stores around me so I can’t speak to the store inventory. They call it two different things – Waxed linen and waxed linen cord. They don’t specify the thickness. I would guess it is a 2 or 3 ply. Anything bigger and you can’t string beads with an average hole size on it.

Leave a Reply