Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to Make Fabric Bead Bracelets...take a look

My mother always taught me to "take a closer look" which meant to read the fine print on contracts (even if it is to just go down a huge blow-up slide), to double check my homework (which back then meant re-typing the whole page if I misspelled one word), to check your receipt as you are walking out of the store (actually, that's what I do...but she stands right there in the aisle so if she has a dispute, she can fight it right then...it's a little embarrassing, but effective I guess). She taught me to check price tags before I even should think if I like something ("If it's not on sale, we can't buy it.")

This week, I needed a reminder to just "take a closer look." I'm blaming on the fact that I was a little sick...but here's what went down: it wasn't till around 4pm at work did I notice that my shirt was on backwards (luckily I had on a little jacket). Another day around 2pm my cousin pointed out that my shirt was on inside-out. And, yesterday I was putting something away in my sons room and wondered why the computer mouse was on his dresser. I picked it up only to realize it was his cup...his baseball athletic supporter/protector...(he's 9 by the way, so he won't even read this to be able to get embarrassed).

However, this week I did take a closer look and I was a little sneaky about it. I saw this lady in the mall and she was wearing the cutest bracelet and I wanted a closer look. I tried sidling up to her (ala Seinfeld) but that didn't work, so I glanced down and said to her, "Oh my goodness, that's the cutest bracelet, is that a designer bracelet?" Well she smiled wide and said No and that she bought it at a boutique and she held it up to me, and I touched it and the whole time I was trying to figure out how they made it. I got a close enough look that I came up with this instruction in my head...I later googled it and saw that there were some instructions online, but not like how I pictured it in my head. You can go ahead and figure out what works best for you. So, here's the result of taking a closer look!


 Here's what you'll need to make a fabric bead bracelet:

Strip of material of your choice (if you buy 1/8 of a yard you will have plenty)
wooden or plastic beads (you choose the size...you may want to use an old necklace or bracelet)
Clear plastic hair ties
Scissors or rotary cutter
Sewing Machine
Needle and thread
Optional: colored craft wire, beads

First you want to cut a strip of material 2.5-3x as long as the widest part on your hand if it was squished trying to put a bracelet on (imagine trying to put on a bracelet and sometimes it's around the knuckles) Or if you want to make a necklace, it should be about 8-10 inches longer than the length of your desired necklace.

Now to figure out the width. On the package of the beads it will tell you the size. To figure out the diameter of the bead, dig back to early geometry to know that Circumference=Pi times the diameter (which is usually the size they give you) So my beads said they were 20mm. So, C=3.14(20mm) which is 62.8mm which i converted to inches using this conversion calculator .  So the bead is about 2.5 inches around. I gave myself an extra .75 inch so I cut a piece of fabric 3.25 inches wide and about 18 inches long (I have a very large hand...like man hands really).

 Then put right sides together and sew a long tube leaving one end open.

 Then snip the one corner that's sewn...but be careful not to snip the stitch. This helps when you turn this right-side-out.

Then with a chopstick or a pencil, turn the tube right-side-out carefully poking in the corners to make the end square.

 Then tie the tube with the clear hair tie (rubberband) about 4 inches or so from the end that is sewn closed. This end will be used to tie the bracelet together, so make sure you have enough end to tie a knot. Then pop a bead in there and move on down to the bottom.

And then use another hair tie to enclose the bead.

Keep doing that till you have the right size (end beads should touch when wrapped around your wrist).

After the last bead is tied off, you will need to sew the end shut. Tuck the raw edges in and sew together. I don't even know what kind of stitch that is...and it's probably ugly...but it's sewn closed.


Now you can make a knot loose enough so that the fabric bead bracelet can be pulled on without untying it. And this is what the lady had on...thank goodness I took a closer look.

Unfortunately, the Filipino in me couldn't just stop at a regular fabric bead bracelet. I needed to add bling. So I had some leftover craft wire (you could even use floral wire left over from the coffee filter flowers) . I just wrapped the wire between the beads...

And then I put about 12 blingy beads on and wrapped the wire tight to secure. I used some pliers to push the wire ends in as far as I could so they wouldn't snag.

And there you have it. A fabric bead bracelet! With bling! Just a little reminder to take a closer look and pay attention to the small things....that is unless you come to my house and then PRETTY PLEASE DON'T take a closer look...all you'll see is a messy house!!! Just love me for who I am!


  1. I love this! And I love your "Sienfeldian" approach to see it! And I can relate....I paraded Mason around the grocery store the other day and then came home to realize he had his jeans on backwards! LOL! I just thought everyone was smiling at him because he was so cute!

  2. I love this! I think it might be the birthday gift for friends this year.

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