Tutorials

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How-To: Easiest Bracelet Ever

Published February 21, 2012 by kurolace

Whether you are new to making jewelry, or an old-timer who just wants to whip up something fast, these stretchy bracelets are the easiest beading project I know of.

A nice & short supply list

One thing that makes them easy is the fact that you don’t need any pliers or wire cutters or crimps, etc. You just need:

  • Some beads (I’m using black 6mm matte glass beads & flat diamond-shaped red glass beads)
  • Stretchy Beading Cord – This comes in different colors and diameters, so make sure you get the right diameter for the beads you are using.
  • Hypo-Cement
  • Scissors and a measuring tape or ruler

You should be able to find every thing you need at your local hobby / craft store, but if not, you can certainly find it online.

One of the most important things about making a stretchy bracelet is to make sure you make it the right length. It needs to be long enough to fit around your wrist comfortably, but short enough that it doesn’t fall off your hand. If you are making the bracelet for yourself, you can measure your own wrist to get an idea of how long to cut the cord. If you are making the bracelet as a gift, or to sell, then you can usually go by the guideline of about 7-7.5″ for most adults. (7.5″ is usually a bit too long for these stretchy bracelets though) Cut the cord to at least 8.5 inches just to be safe – this way you’ll have enough for when you make the finishing knot.

If you are using really big beads, you’ll need to make the bracelet longer. If you use really small beads, you’ll make the bracelet shorter. So as

I actually only cut the cord to 7.5", which was almost too short. I barely could tie the knot!

you string the beads,  keep checking the length of the bracelet by wrapping it around your wrist.

Once you’ve got it to the proper length, you’ll need to tie a knot. I use a basic square knot (right over left, left over right).

Now the awkward part… Before you pull the square knot tight, you need to put a dab of hypo-cement in the middle of the knot. Then pull the knot tight, and hold it for a few minutes as the glue sets. Try not to get any glue on the beads next to the knot.

Let the knot dry completely – say, about 10 minutes to be sure. Then try the bracelet on. Take it off, put it on, pull on the cord a little bit to make sure the glue & knot hold.

Finished!

If you used a small enough (diameter) cord, with beads that have larger holes, you might be able to stick the cord ends back through the beads. Otherwise, trim the cord down so that there is only about 2 mm on each side of the knot.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a bracelet. You can wear just one, or make a few to mix & match.

A few extra notes:

  • If you are planning to sell the bracelet or to give it as a gift, please take if for a “test drive” : Wear it for at least a few hours or a full day, to make sure the knot holds.
  • You can use a crimp bead & cover on the larger diameters of cord if you want. This way you cover the knot up.
  • Clean the tip of the hypo-cement off before trying to put glue on the knot. Having old, semi-dried globs at the end can make the knot look messy.
  • You can string a lot of bracelets and then knot and glue them all at once (This way you only have to uncap & use the hypo cement once). I use those clamp-paper clips (the ones with the black clamp) at each end of the bracelet in order to hold the beads on the cord.

Some of the many stretchy bracelets I've made.

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How To: Straighten Ribbons

Published February 14, 2012 by kurolace

I use a lot of ribbons to make hair accessories and jewelry… and sometimes I buy those “grab bag” deals at my local craft store. Inevitably, some of the ribbons are crumpled up… to the point of being unusable. But ribbons are expensive… so I don’t want to throw those crinkled ribbons away. Fortunately, there is a very easy, and fast, way to straighten ribbons.

Hair straightener & wrinkled up ribbon

All you need is the crinkled ribbon and a hair straightener. I think a large curling iron would also work, because large, loose curls in a ribbon aren’t obvious in most projects.

The process is simple and probably obvious to most people, but here’s a quick step-by-step:

Plug in the straightener and turn dial to lowest setting. Remember most ribbons are made from synthetic materials, which can melt if you use too high of a setting.

Slowly and firmly start to straight iron the ribbon. Start ironing just above the wrinkled part, moving slowly along the length of the ribbon to the end. Repeat this over and over until you notice the ribbon looking much better.

Depending on the type of ribbon you are working with, some creases might still be visible. The red ribbon pictured has a more paper-y feel to it, and still has creases… but it’s now much more workable than when it was all wrinkled up.  Straightening works very well on satin ribbons, although I sadly don’t have any pictures to show you that.

Yes, still creased, but much better than before!

So, there you have it… No reason to buy a fancy “ribbon straightener”… (yes, they do make these).