Stretch Bracelets: Not Just for Kids & Plastic Beads Anymore!
Almost every fashion jewelry designer out there seems to be offering a line of sophisticated, layered stretch bracelets. Stretch bracelets have grown up and can be found sporting all kinds of gemstones, fancy beads and pearls. They are fun and simple to make and much less fussy to construct than other types of bracelets. However, there are some secrets to creating chic and stylish stretch bracelets that won’t fall apart. I am going to share some of my tips on how to make stretch bracelets that will stay together and last a long time.
1. Stretch Cord Some of the common brands include Stretch Magic, Powercord and Opelon. Many of the Jewelry and beading supply companies seem to have their own brand name and at least one brand can be found at your local craft store. As with all stringing materials they come in different mm thicknesses. For most of my stretch bracelets I like to use a .5mm or a 1 mm thickness. They knot easily and fit through most of the holes in the beads I like to use. If you are using particularly heavy beads you can use a thicker cord because the holes usually get a little more generous in bigger beads. Keep in mind, the thicker the cord, the more it it will cost you.
2. Beads Yes – obviously you need beads. The great thing about stretch bracelets is that you can be more random in your pattern or make multiples of them to layer together and they always look great so it is a nice way to use up odds and end beads you have from other projects. I don’t recommend using rough beads like lava beads, maybe some coral or crystals on thinner stretch cord as they can cut their way into the cord and weaken it over time.
3. GS Hypo Cement I use GS Hypo to put a little dab of glue on my knot in my bracelet to add extra strength. It is intended to glue non-porous materials and the tiny precision applicator makes it easy to get the cement right where you need it.
To Crimp or Not to Crimp Your Stretch Bracelet?
Oh yes – my thoughts on crimping stretch cord…. Some people like to use crimps to finish their stretch bracelets. NOT ME! If you have purchased a nice quality stretch bracelet from a boutique or department store recently I am pretty sure it doesn’t have a crimp in it. Plain and simple, I don’t like the look. I think it can cheapen your bracelet and interupt the continuous flow of beads that makes a stretch bracelet look and feel so nice. If you are not using high quality crimp beads, they often have jagged edges and can weaken the stretch cord. If you insist on crimping then at least use attractive, quality crimps like a tornado or use a crimp cover to make it stand out less.
Steps for Making a Stretch Bracelet
1. Choose your beads. Decide if you will arrange randomly or use a pattern.
2. Take the measurement of your wrist or the person you are making the bracelet for. Cut the stretch cord adding an extra 2 ” on each side so you have enough extra cord to comfortably tie your knot when you are finished.
3. Place your bead stopper, paperclip or binder clip on one end of your cord and get stringing!
4. Once you have added enough beads to complete a loop around your wrist, I recommend you test fit your bracelet around your wrist or use a bracelet sizer (see my video or post about this) to be sure you have the right fit. Once you are sure you have the right amount of beads, you are ready to finish your bracelet.
5. Take each side of the stretch cord and tie one overhand knot and pull it tightly – as hard as you can. Tie a second overhand knot and pull it tightly. Or tie a surgeons knot once.
Thanks to Bead FX for the knot pictures.
6. Snip the ends of the stretch cord close to the knot and apply a tiny dot of GS Hypo to the knot. Then, slip the knot into the closest bead hole or affix it to the nearest bead if it will not fit inside the hole.
7. Now the hardest part! Be patient and let the glue dry for a few hours before wearing your bracelet.
If you have additional questions about how to make stretch bracelets or another bracelet making questions, go ahead and ask in the comments below. Now Go MAKE BRACELETS!