Monday, 6 August 2018

Silk cord and paper bead bracelet tutorial

Some time ago I wrote a tutorial for a bracelet kit I produced - then stopped selling the kits. I also stopped selling the small paper beads as they were too fiddly to work with but the instructions work really well with my longer beads too. So I thought I would share the tutorial here for anyone who has bought my paper beads or silk cords. If you are interested, I have another plain silk cord bracelet tutorial which you can find here. It doesn't use beads and makes a really nice stacking bracelet. I hope you will give them a shot.

These little bracelets evolved after I discovered how to make silk cord. I had been asked to make some tiny paper beads years ago and thought they would be ideal for making some simple jewellery. I hope you will enjoy using this tutorial and find it straightforward and fun.

Tools required:

Scissors (any scissors that can cut silk cord are fine)
Crimp pliers (also called crimping pliers or a crimp tool) and ordinary pliers for opening jump rings


1) Threader x 1,    2) Lobster clasp x 1,     3) 5mm jump ring x1,    4) 4mm jump ring x 1,

5) 3mm crimps x 2,   6) 4mm metal spacer beads x 2    7) 1 inch long paper bead x1    8) Silk cord x 1

All these items can be found in my Etsy store:

Silk cords in a variety of colours
Paper beads

Method for a 8 inch (20.5cm) long bracelet: Tips are included for making a longer/shorter one.

 1. Put the end of the silk cord with the knot between the two legs of the threader. You can also use a piece of sewing thread in the same way as I use the threader.

2. Thread a crimp onto both legs of the threader.

3. Pull the crimp onto the silk cord so that a small loop forms. Don't pull the crimp all the way up to the knot. You will be trimming the knot off later. Leave a 'tail' of roughly half an inch (1cm) between the crimp and the knot.

4. Use your crimp pliers to squeeze the crimp closed. Trim the knot off of the short end of the silk cord leaving a short tail. You don't want the tail to pull out of the crimp at any time so make sure there is enough left. Three eights of an inch (8mm) should be plenty.

5. Measure three inches (7.5cm) along the length of the cord from the end of the loop. Tie a knot. If you have a thicker or thinner wrist then make this measurement longer or shorter, e.g. 2.5 inches (6.5cm) for a 7.5 inch (19cm) bracelet or 3.5 inches (9cm) for a 8.5 inch (20.5cm) one. These measurements were worked out using a 1 inch long bead, two 4mm spacer beads, a 4mm jump ring, a 5mm jump ring and a small lobster clasp but if you use different size beads you will need to adjust the measurement accordingly.

6. Treat the un-knotted end of the silk cord with a stiffening agent to form a makeshift needle. I apply PVA glue to the last half inch (1cm) of the unused end, squeeze it firmly and roll it. Leave it to dry for 10-15 minutes then cut through the glued part at a 45 degree angle to get rid of the knotted end and make a point. You can also use nail varnish, Diamond Glaze or Glossy Accents to get the same effect. Then thread one metal spacer bead on the cord followed by the decorative paper bead and then the other metal spacer bead.

7. Tie another knot to secure all the beads on the cord.

8. Place the long end of the silk cord through the legs of the threader as you did in step one. Measure three inches from the second knot (next to the beads) and move the threader to that spot. (Remember: if you used a different measurement in step 5, make this measurement the same, e.g. 2.5 inches (6.5cm) for a 7.5 inch (19cm) bracelet or 3.5 inches (9cm) for a 8.5 inch (20.5cm) one.) Pull the crimp onto the cord leaving a small loop. Squeeze the crimp closed with the crimp pliers.

9. Add the 4mm jump ring to one of the end loops and the 5mm jump ring to the other. Attach the lobster claw to the 5mm jump ring and you have finished your bracelet. Wear it with pride.

Copyright © 2015 Gillian McMurray. Please do not reproduce any part of this document without the express permission of the copyright holder.

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