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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's a Wrap!

When I did my internship back in 2004, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work at a designer jewelry showroom in New York City.  I worked for the designer Chan Luu, she's made jewelry that was featured on the shows Charmed, Friends, and more recently, Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  All of her jewelry was beautiful and handmade with real gemstones.  One particular style really caught my eye, and I went home and played with my jewelry and string until I mastered how to make....

The Wrap Bracelet

Getting Started
You'll need
*Leather cord (Twice the length of your desired finished piece, plus 12 inches).
Cut the cord to twice the length of the desired bracelet size PLUS 12 inches. For example, a 7.5-inch bracelet will require 27 inches of cord. - See more at:
Cut the cord to twice the length of the desired bracelet size PLUS 12 inches. For example, a 7.5-inch bracelet will require 27 inches of cord. - See more at:
*A whole bunch of beads, similar in style (if this is your first piece, it's easier to use all the same size bead.  Once you get more advanced you can experiment with different sizes together)
*Nylon thread (or nylon coated thread) Non stretch **Craftmeister tip** I always use nylon thread, or nylon coated thread because over time natural fibers break down.  Items made with silk or cotton thread are very delicate and can fall apart if worn every day.  
*A needle thin enough to fit through your beads
*A button (optional, you may use one of the beads from your selection as a button if it's big enough)
*A clipboard for easy holding **Craftmeister tip** I don't have a clipboard at home, so I used a piece of cardboard and a hair clip.  Totally worked!
*An afternoon free

Fold your leather in half and make a slipknot at the top. Make it sized so you could fit your button through it tight.  This will eventually be your clasp.  For my example I'm going to use one of the beads from my project as the button. I'm also using contrasting thread and leather colors so it cold be seen easier on the tutorial.

Cut about 8 feet of the nylon thread for your project.  If you're not comfortable with working with longer pieces of string, you can use shorter lengths, but you'll need to attach it when you run out.  **Craftmeister tip** Your arm span should be about your height (unless you're Michael Phelps) so I always hold my arms apart as far as they could go and I know it will give me a string a little over 5 feet long.  Much easier than measuring.

Tie the nylon thread in a knot on the left strand of the leather, just under the leather knot.  Slide the knot up to the leather knot to hide it, and clip the knot to the clipboard for easy holding. Slide one bead onto the thread and place it in between the two leather strands.  The bead should be situated so both holes are horizontal. Wrap the thread around the right leather strand once, back to front.  Then thread back through the bead.  Wrap around the left leather strand, back to front.  Thread through the bead again.  This first bead has an extra stitch in it to hold it in place. 

The placement of the first few beads are tougher than the rest of the bracelet because you're setting it up and training the leather how to bend. 

 The thread should now be on the right side under the right leather strand.  Wrap the thread over the leather, strand a bead onto the thread.  Bring the thread under the left leather strand and wrap it over and through the bead. The thread should end up under the right leather strand. 

Wrap the thread over the right strand, thread one bead.  Wrap the thread from back to front over the left leather strand.   Thread back through the bead, pull the thread from under the leather and wrap over.  Repeat until it is the desired length. 

 Try not to lay the beads too tight next to each other, you want there to be room for movement.
You can do it all in one step!

Keep the under-over pattern going. If you switch to over-under your beads will pop and not stay in place.  Try your best to keep the leather straight.  If you stitch with the leater twisted, your finished project will also be twisted.

Continue threading the beads onto the leather until it's at a lenth that you like and that can fit around your wrist as many times as you'd like.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!  I'll be sure to help you with any problems you have.

Feeling lazy? 
 You could order the bracelet seen in this tutorial from me for $60, or you could buy the "real thing" from Chan Luu here.
Please leave a comment if you're interested or if you've tried the tutorial yourself!  I'd love to see what you made out there! 

Happy Crafting!
~The Craftmeister