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Topic: Beaded nickname bracelets *Tutorial added!*  (Read 32754 times)
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« on: November 16, 2008 08:05:00 AM »

I work at a summer camp where all the counselors have nicknames (mine is Jinx, hence my Craftster username).  I'm making beaded bracelets for my counselor friends for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Atheist Children Get Presents Day, with each person's nickname and a design based on that name or an aspect of their personality.  Here's what I've done so far:

Pirate, with skull & crossbones (sideways, so they would actually fit)
Panda, with little panda bear faces (the name is written in white.  I showed this one to my mom and she couldn't figure out what it said because she was trying to read the blue bits.   Roll Eyes )
Flower, with flowers
Jingles, with rainbow designs (she really likes rainbows)

I also need to make bracelets for Ike, Radar, and Bilby.  And Sprinkles, Tumbles, Echo, and me, if I decide to get ambitious.

------Long-winded and picture-heavy tutorial!------

You will need:
*Glass seed beads
*Embroidery floss (hereafter referred to as "string"), cut into lengths of at least 12 inches
*Thread (Make sure it's thin enough to pass through your beads, but strong enough that it won't snap with a sharp tug)
*A needle that can go through your beads - I recommend against using those hair-thin beading needles, they break really easily, and it's not hard to find regular sewing needles that are thin enough
*A smallish (mine is 7.5 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 2 inches high) cardboard box with no top (you can also use a shallow styrofoam tray, the kind that cookies sometimes come in; this actually works better than the box, but I didn't have one  Sad )

Step one: come up with a design for your bracelet.  (This is always the hardest part for me.)  Graph paper can help with this.  All my bracelets are 5 rows wide, because that's the minimum width you can use for letters that are all legible.  If you're just doing a pattern you can use 4 or 6 rows.

This bracelet is for Radar, who's studying marine biology.  It will have her name in between the two picture panels (the second of which will be flipped so the fish are facing left).

All my designs are between 60 and 71 rows long, which makes the beaded portion between 5.5 and 6.5 inches long.  This will vary a bit based on the width of your beads, but that makes for a good estimate.

Step two: set up your loom.  Cut slits in opposite sides of your box or styrofoam tray.  The distance between the slits should be no more than 1/8 of an inch.  Wedge your lengths of string into the slits - you'll need one more string than the number of rows in your design.  In my case, that's six.

Step three: tie on your thread.  I cut my thread about 2.5 yards long, which will probably turn out to be too much, but I hate running out in the middle of a project.  Double-knot one end of the thread to the string closest to you, about 1/4 of an inch from the edge of the box.  This will be the bottom left corner of your design.  Leave a "tail" of a few inches on your thread, so you can hide the end when you're finished.

Step four: beading!  Thread the first row of your pattern onto your needle, starting with the bottom.  I'm doing the octopus panel, so I pick up two yellow-orange beads and three blue beads.

Push your beads down the thread until they reach the string, then pass your needle (and the rest of the thread) under all six strings.

Arrange your beads so they poke up in between your strings.  The thread should be under the strings.  Hold the beads where they are with your non-dominant hand.

Thread your needle back down through the row of beads.  The needle should pass over the strings.  (Try not to snag the string with the needle as you go back down through each row.  That way you can wiggle the beads closer to their neighbors if there's a gap.)

Pull the thread snug.  Repeat step four for every row in your design.

Step five: finishing.  When your design is complete, tie off the thread the same way you did at the beginning - a double knot around the bottom string.  Try to get the knot as close as possible to the beads.

Run the needle back up through the last row, going under the strings (you might have to take the bracelet off the loom for this).

You can go ahead and clip the thread here if you want, but I like to put all my "bad" bits (knots and ends of the thread) at the same edge, so I ran the needle down through the penultimate (that means last-but-one, but it makes you sound smart) row in front of the strings.  Cut off the thread as close to the beads as you can (fingernail clippers can be helpful here).

Tie an overhand knot with the strings at each end of the beadwork, making the knot snug with the edge of the design.

Trim the strings so they're all the same length, and you're finished!

It shouldn't take more than a few hours to make one of these.  I finished nearly all of Jingles' (Jingles's?) while watching Entrapment.  I would've finished earlier if I hadn't been ogling Sean Connery the whole time.  (That man was all kinds of hot for over forty years, then he lost all his hair and turned into an old man.  Tragic.)

I hope everything makes sense.  If something isn't clear, let me know and I'll try to explain it better.  If you end up using this tutorial, post what you've made here!  I want to see.   Smiley
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017 01:02:04 PM by kittykill - Reason: Photobucket access change » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2008 09:01:06 AM »

those are so awesome!

I would love to make some. Is it possible to make this kind of bracelet without a loom?

also, what size/where do you get your beads?

maybe im just asking for a tut?

ahaha im such a noob.


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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2008 09:30:17 AM »

I was wondering the same ^ thing! No loom, right? E beads, yarn, embroidery floss, or am I off? They look GREAT and the designs being small look good.

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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2008 09:33:20 AM »

I love these, they're so cute!  I've been making bracelets recently on a loom but these look like they were probably made without one?  I love the different colours of embroidery floss, and the little skull & crossbones Smiley

« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2008 10:49:44 AM »

I want to touch them
I think Hobbit is going to be my favorite, it looks great so far.
how long is the string originally?

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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2008 10:53:30 AM »

Too cute! I wrked at two different summer camps this year, and came home with TONS of nicknames! Haha, glad to see it's not just me and my crazy friends! I think the Panda one is my favorite, although I do love the skull and cross bones design!

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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2008 11:26:35 AM »

I've seen similar bead weaving but I think you are doing something different from what I'm used to seeing. Could you give us more details? Everything looks really great so far.

Edit: Take a look at some counted cross stitch books. A lot of them use a 5 high typeface, bookmarks  and maybe a book of borders....
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« Last Edit: November 16, 2008 11:36:43 AM by sactownsue » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2008 12:13:41 PM »

cute!  they look so professional.  i had a counselor named flower for a few summers.. 

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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2008 12:35:29 PM »

These are great!  I do beaded jewelry but nothing like this.  And I made the same mistake with the Panda one, glad I wasn't the only one.

« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2008 01:07:45 PM »

Thanks for all the comments!  Since there seems to be some interest, I'm working on a tutorial right now.  Cheesy  To answer some of the questions - I did use a "loom," but I made it out of a cardboard box.  The beads I used are regular glass seed beads, you can find them at any craft shop.  The thicker threads are embroidery floss and the beads are strung using...um...this waxed thread I found somewhere.  Also a really really thin needle.  Oh, except Pirate's and Hobbit's were strung with silver thread from JoAnn's.  I cut the embroidery floss long enough to tie around my own wrist, plus some inches.  Since I tend to be paranoid about making them too short they ended up about a foot and a half long.   Roll Eyes

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