Lesson: Stretch Beaded Jewelry
Learn how to make classic stretch beaded jewelry with a polished finish.
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The first tip for making Stretch Bracelets that won't break is to use high-quality stretch string. We recommend Stretch Magic brand, as it is strong, durable, and affordable! Stretch Magic comes in a few different gauges (thicknesses). You'll want to choose the thickest gauge that fits your beads. We recommend 0.5mm or 0.7mm for seed beads and other beads with small-ish holes.
To get started, cut your string about 3" longer than the diameter of your wrist. Note that the string will stretch out longer in this next step: Before stringing your beads, stretch out your length of string by tugging on it vigorously. This ensures that your bracelet won't stretch out later.
Next, create a stopper at the end of your string. You can use washi tape, a small binder clip, or bead stopper to secure the end of your string and prevent your beads from falling off while you string.
One thing we don't recommend doing is taping the end of your string to your work surface without a stopper. It is easy to accidentally pull on your string and send your beads flying everywhere. If you want to tape down your string, be sure to make a tape flag first to catch your beads, should that happen.
When it comes to stringing on your beads, you can work with or without a beading needle. Beading needles help you to pick up beads more easily, especially when using small beads. However, Stretch Magic and similar elastic strings won't fray as you bead, so a needle isn't necessary -- just helpful!
String your beads until you've reached your desired bracelet length. You can wrap your beaded string around your wrist to make sure the length is to your liking -- just be careful not to drop your beads while doing this!
Once all of your beads are strung on, it's time to knot your bracelet. Tying a strong knot is one of the key factors in making a stretch bracelet that won't break.
You can find Stretch Magic's recommended knot techniques on the back of their package. We like to use a variation on one of their recommended knots, which is a Double Surgeon's Knot.
To make a Double Surgeon's Knot, begin by crossing the ends of your strings left on top of right.
Bring the new right end behind the new left end and up through the center -- in other words: the first step of tying your shoes.
Repeat the last step: bring the right end through the center and up. You'll have two wraps total.
Now you'll do the reverse process to complete your knot. Cross the right end over the left end.
Bring the new left end behind the new right end and up through the center.
Repeat the last step: bring the left end through the center and up. Again, you'll have two wraps total.
Carefully pull your knot tight, making sure to pull all of the slack through before tightening completely.
Make sure to pull your knot nice and tight, then give your bracelet a firm tug -- first close to the knot, then stretch the entire bracelet -- to test that your knot is secure.
If all looks good, add a small dot of G-S Hypo Cement glue to reinforce it, then trim off the excess string. Warning: the glue comes out super quickly! Make sure to recap it quickly and wipe away excess glue so that the cap doesn't glue shut.
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