This is my method for creating simple, elegant beaded bracelets, using beading wire, crimp beads, and either Czech glass or Swarovski pearl beads. I often create them as gifts for friends and family to mark special occasions, and as fun extras in swap packages.
I have provided pictures of each item in the table below, for those who are new to jewelry making.
Beading Wire, such as Beadalon 7-strand .015 inch
2 - 2mm Crimp Beads
2 - 4mm Crimp Bead Covers
18 to 24 - 8mm Czech Glass or Swarovski Pearl Beads, depending on wrist size
17 to 23 - 6mm x 2mm Metal Spacer Beads
1 Lobster Clasp & 1 Large (10-12mm) Jump Ring
2 - Wire Guards
2 - 6mm x 4mm Bead Caps
1 - 6mm Jump Ring
1 - Charm
Needle Nosed Pliers
Crimp Bead Pliers
Supplies & Tools Guide
Measure your wrist, and write the number down. In general, you want a bracelet to be 3/4”-1.5” longer than your wrist measurement. If it is the same length as your wrist it will be skin tight, and highly uncomfortable. Smaller wrists need less slack, so a 5 1/2" wrist could use 3/4" slack, creating a 6 1/4" bracelet. Larger wrists need more, so an 7 1/2" wrist would need 1 1/2" slack, making a 9" bracelet.
Lay out your supplies in small bowls or bead trays. I like these triangular silver ones that nest together on your work surface. Glass beads in one, spacer beads in a second, and findings in a third. (Findings are all the other metal bits and bobs!)
Cut a length of beading wire about 3-4 inches longer than your finished design. For an 8” bracelet, 11-12" should be good.
String a crimp bead, and one side of a horseshoe shaped wire guard onto one end of your beading wire. Carry the wire around the end of the wire guard, and back through the second side of the horseshoe.
Thread your clasp onto the free (short) end of the wire, and onto the wire guard. Gently pinch the wire guard ends towards one another. (Going from a U shape to a Teardrop shape.) The wire guard prevents the clasp from wearing into the wire, and creates a stronger bracelet.
Thread the short end of the wire back through the crimp bead. Pull the wire so that it sits snugly inside the wire guard.
Place the crimp bead close to the wire guard, leaving a gap of about a millimeter. Separate the two ends of the beading wire so they lay side by side, not crossing one another. (This will make for a stronger crimped connection when the crimp bead is compressed.)
Place the crimp bead (with the wires separated) in the notch closest to the handles of the crimping pliers. Squeeze the handles of the pliers until you feel the crimp bead collapse.
Remove the crimp from the pliers, and tug on the wire to make sure the crimp is secure. Using the cutters, trim the shorter end of the wire to about a centimeter.
Take one of your crimp covers, and place it around the flat crimped bead. Using the front notch of the crimping pliers, gently close the crimp cover into a round bead.
Open the clasp and clip it to the large jump ring. (This will allow you to better gauge overall length later on.)
Now it’s time for stringing. Start by threading a bead cap onto the beading wire, with the cup end pointing away from the clasp. Make sure you go over the long wire and the short end as well.
String on a glass bead, followed by a metal spacer bead. Repeat until you have about ¼”-⅓” less length than you desire. Perfectionists will now note that they might not be able to get the exact measurement they were aiming for, with the addition of a single bead making it longer, or removing one making it too short. The difference of 1/4" will not matter, just use your best judgement.
Finish your stringing with the second bead cap.
String your second crimp bead onto the wire, followed by your second wire guard. Take your large jump ring off the clasp, and thread it onto the string, nestled in the wire guard. Gently pinch the wire guard ends towards one another. (Again going from a U shape to a Teardrop shape.)
Thread the short end of the wire back through the crimp bead, and through the first 1 or 2 glass beads. Pull the wire so that it sits snugly inside the wire guard, and the crimp bead is close to it.
Important: Before crimping, twist the bracelet into a circle. This adds in a little wiggle room. If you don’t leave that room, the bracelet will not only be stiff while wearing, but it can also pinch your skin or arm hairs between the beads!
Again, separate the two ends of the beading wire so they lay side by side, not crossing one another. Crimp closed. Cover the crimp with the second crimp cover. Trim away excess beading wire, as close to flush with the beads as possible.
Attaching the charm:
Take your 6mm jump ring. Using both pairs the pliers, pivot the two sides of the jump ring away from one another. Do not pull them apart; just push one backwards while pulling the other slightly forwards.
Loop the 6mm jump ring around the large jump ring. Slide your charm onto the ring. Pivot both sides of the ring back towards one another to close.
You’re all done! You have a beautiful new accessory, or a thoughtful gift for a friend. And most of all, you have a new craft skill. You can use bead wire and crimp beads to create countless projects like necklaces, earrings, and decor items like sun catchers. Go forth and decorate your world!