I love wrap bracelets! They are comfortable, stylish, and so versatile. There are endless possibilities in terms of color, texture, and shape of beads to use inside them. This tutorial is for the Chan Luu style wrap bracelets. They are really pretty simple to make once you have a good set up, just requiring some time and patience. I find that they take me about an hour per wrap, so it’s a good time to listen to an audio book or a favorite movie!
Choosing a button that you really like which compliments the piece is an important part of the design process. I like to use TierraCast buttons the most. The kind with the two holes (like this one) works as well as those with a shank on the back (this kind might actually even work better, I just really like this leaf button! (So use what you like best).
This bracelet is made with 6mm 2-Hole Flat Squares and 3mm Round Beads. If you are just starting out and learning how to make these, I would recommend keeping it simple and just use 4mm Round Beads or a bead that is consistent in size, until you get familiar with the process.
Another option is using 4mm Firepolish Beads, or Swarovski Crystals, these don’t always lay as flat, although it gives you a lot more options in terms of beautiful colors to choose from. They also definitely sparkle much more, if that’s important in the look you’re going for.
My favorite materials to use as a base are 1.5mm or 2mm Leather Round Cord and KO Thread. The KO Thread makes it possible to make these without the use of needles as the thread does not fray or come apart at all. If you want to use a needle C-Lon Thread will work fine too as well as One-G.
You will need to set up your foundation for working on the wrap bracelet. My preference is a sturdy, rectangular box with thin edges (pictured above). If you don’t have something similar, many people use a standard clip board. Although the challenge with a clip board is that you don’t have as much work space underneath, so you will need to lift it a bit as you work. You could also just look around your house and get creative!
My wrist measures six inches, so all measurements are based on that. You will need to adjust based on your wrist size.
- About 43 inches 2mm Round Leather Cord – Metallic Brown (sold by the yard, so I used two yards). Measure your wrist multiply it by how many wraps you want and then double that. Give yourself at least 14 extra inches for the button and the knots. I like to give myself a bit extra so that I have plenty of room to make my knots at the end. You will have quite a bit left over which you can use to make something else or you can keep going and make a third wrap!
- 3.5 – 4 yards of KO Thread – Dark Chocolate
- 1 strand 6mm 2-Hole Flat Squares – Halo Linen
- 1 strand 6mm 2-Hole Flat Squares – Halo Burnt Umber
- 1 strand 6mm 2-Hole Flat Squares – Metallic Suede Gold
- 1 strand 3mm Round Metallic Suede Gold
- 1 Button – Leaf Brass Oxide
- G-S Hypo Cement Adhesive
- Some sort of string to attach the top of your bracelet to the clamp (here I used C-Lon thread)
- Sharp scissors or end cutter and a leather cutter
- Two binder clips
- Fabric Scraps
- Measuring tool
- Rectangular box or clipboard
Measure and cut your leather as described above.
Place the button in the middle of the leather and tie a simple overhand knot.
Carefully tighten the knot so that it is up close to the button.
Tie a piece of C-Lon (or other thread) just above the knot, and below the button.
Hold the thread over the edge of your box (or attach it to the top of your clipboard).
Secure the thread with a binder clip. You can just cut this thread off when you are done making the bracelet.
To secure the other end… place a fabric scrap on the edge of the box, pull your leather taught (creating a little bit of space between the two strands) over the fabric.
Put another piece of fabric over the top of the leather.
And secure with the second binder clip.
Your set up should look something like this…
Tie your KO Thread around the leather with an overhand knot, towards the top (do this carefully to try and get your thread centered, so that each side is of about equal length). Then tighten the thread knot, just under the leather knot.
Then tie three or four forward knots on each side.
If you don’t know how, you can watch a quick demo here.
Then pull your thread under the leather through the center and out to each side so that it looks like this…
This is what you want to do, and how you want it to look, every time… after you add a bead and before you add another. Then take your thread from the right side and pass it through the bead, so it comes out to the left. Take your thread from the left side and pass it through the bead, so it comes out to the right.
Then hold the each piece of thread with each hand and pull it tight, placing the bead securely between the leather.
Again, pull your thread under the leather through the center and out to each side.
Repeat the same process… take your thread from the right side and pass it through the bead, so it comes out to the left. Take your thread from the left side and pass it through the bead, so it comes out to the right.
Pull it tight, placing the bead securely between the leather.
Remember to pull your thread under the leather through the center and out to each side. Since this is a two holed bead, repeat the process for the second hole.
Continue in this way to add another bead.
Since the two hole flat squares are a wider bead, you can add two of the smaller beads in between to mix up the pattern and make it more interesting.
Continue in this manner, either using a pattern or not, in a way that is pleasing to you. Here, in this double wrap bracelet, I did one wrap using the smaller round beads and one wrap without (again to add variety and interest). You can take the bracelet off the binder clip and measure it on your wrist as you go, or use a measuring tape to get it the length you want it.
If you are going to do three, four or five wraps you will need to move your bracelet up on the box to continue to have room to work. In which case, you will just add two more scraps of fabric (one above and one below, to protect the bracelet as you very carefully clip it to the box using the binder clip).
When you get to the end, do the same thing you did at the top… one small, round bead and then three or four forward knots on each side.
Unclip the end, and tie it using an overhand knot.
Carefully pull it tight, up close the last bead.
Cut the thread using whatever you have handy. My favorite tool to do this with are the precision scissors (although at the time I was making this tutorial I couldn’t find them 🙂 ).
Use your button as a sizing gauge while making the second knot.
If you are making this for someone else and are uncertain of their wrist size it is best to make a third knot so that they have two options of sizes to choose from (you can always cut off the third knot if they don’t need it). Cut the leather on the bias with your leather cutter or some sharp scissors (these from Tim Holtz work really well).
I like to add just a tiny bit of G-S Hypo Cement adhesive to the forward knots to secure them.
Enjoy your fabulous new bracelet!