Last summer I got on a bit of a bracelet binge. I made wrapped ones with leather and bead-ball-chain. I made some macrame ones. And I made a bunch of beaded braided ones. I even made a bracelet keyring.
But then I sputtered out. I’d planned to give bead bracelets as Christmas gifts but I ran out of beading energy.
Maybe summer and short-sleeves makes me want to craft and wear bracelets, because once again, I’m beading.
This time, I’m trying the Chan Luu style wrapped bracelet. I’ve been seeing variations of these bracelets all over with plenty of how-to videos and DIY blogs. I read and watched enough to feel like I could give it a try. Now that I’ve made two, I’m no expert, by any means, but I feel like I might be able to walk you through making one with enough detail so you aren’t lost and not so much as to confuse the matter.
There are different ways to create the bracelet, including a double-needle method that just looked too complicated to me. You can make a bracelet that wraps just once around your wrist or one that wraps multiple times. I’m going to show you a bracelet that wraps twice but you can use the same technique to make a longer bracelet.
Here is what you will need for one bracelet.
Wrapped Leather and Bead Bracelet
5 feet of 1.5 MM leather cord (you can also use faux leather or cotton cord)
4 mm beads – I used 14 inches (I found them on strands and got enough to go around my wrist twice – this is a little tricky because it depends on the size and shape of the bead*, the size of your wrist and how many times you are going to wrap the bracelet)
Nymo bead thread – (I used size D) in a color that matches your leather cord
A flexible beading needle
glue – I used E6000
tape (not shown)
Optional: two smaller beads for the start and end of the bracelet
* Bead Shape: If the beads you choose are round, it won’t make a difference, but if you buy a strand of oval beads, they would be strung the long way, or end-to-end. In this project the beads get strung between the two leather cords side-to-side. Allow a little extra for oval beads.
From what I can tell, the classic Chan Luu bracelet ends with a series of knots and loops in the leather to allow for some size variation. I prefer to start my bracelet with a single loop and knot. If you want your bracelet to be more like a real Chan Luu bracelet, you will start with your button and end with the knots and loops.
This is the Chan Luu style (the part to the left of the button would be the beaded bracelet, so you’ll have to use your imagination:
This is what I did:
Fold the length of leather cord in half and tie an overhand knot, leaving a loop just large enough for your button to go through.
Thread the beading needle with a length of Nymo, doubled with a knot at the end. I make it about arms length and than double that.
Push the needle through the knot in the leather, than bring the thread down under the knot in the cord and tie another knot in the Nymo.
Don’t trim the end of the thread just yet.
Weave the Nymo in a figure-8 pattern a few times over and under the leather cord, keeping it snug up to the knot at the end of the cord.
String on your first bead. If using the smaller beads for the start and the finish, now is the time to use one of those beads.
Tape the leather cord to the table to keep it in place while you work.
Do the same figure-8 pattern, only now the bead will be between the two leather cords. The Nymo cord will go under on the right, through the bead in the center, over the leather on the left.
Now back under the leather on the left, through the bead in the center again and back over the leather on the right.
Now continue with the 4mm beads.
Continue adding beads, keeping the thread snug and the beads aligned.
Once you have a few beads in place, you can go back up to where you knotted the thread and put a little dot of glue on it. Let the glue dry and trim the ends.
Eventually, your thread will get shorter and you will need to end it and start another.
After completing a figure-8 pattern in a bead, tie a knot in the thread on the back of the leather cord.
Now push the needle back through that same bead and tie a second knot on the left side of the bead.
Put a little glue on each of the knots and let them dry before trimming off the ends of the thread.
Thread your bead needle again with a length of doubled Nymo thread, and knot the end.
Go back to the previous bead, the one before the one with the knots you just tied. Pull your thread through the thread that is on the back of the leather cord and knot it on that side, than go back through that same bead and knot it on the other side, again, making the knots in the thread on the back of your leather cord.
Put a tiny dab of glue on the knots and when the glue has dried, trim the end of the thread.
Now put the threaded needle under the knot of the next bead, and continue with a new bead after that, once again using the figure-8 pattern over and under the leather cord, going through the bead each way.
I like to always start my pattern on the right side, so to get back to the right, I go back through that bead one extra time, continue the over/under pattern.
Now just continue adding beads until you reach the length you desire.
Check the length around your wrist, allowing for the button.
Finish with the last bead, using a smaller one if you choose. Wrap your thread snugly a few times in a figure-8 around the leather cord.
Tie an overhand knot in the two pieces of cord together.
Add your button. (If you started with a button, this is where you would leave a space of cord sufficient for the button to fit through and tie another knot and even a second space and third knot if you want).
For this bracelet, I used a button with a shank, so I could pull one piece of the leather through the shank.
For this button I didn’t need the beading thread, so I knotted it after the last figure-8’s and glued the knot, let it dry and trimmed the ends of the thread.
You can use a button with two or four holes if you prefer and use the bead needle and Nymo thread to stitch the button onto the cord.
Knot the thread and, as before glue the knot, let dry, and trim thread ends.
Once you have attached your button, tie a second overhand knot. Trim the ends.
That is it!
Worn by itself it is simple and pretty.
You can turn the button so it is more on top too.
It also looks great layered with more bracelets.
I love how it looks with this gorgeous, old silver and turquoise bracelet that I got from my grandparents for my 18th birthday.
My dad’s dad made it and gave it to my dad’s mom, so it is not only a lovely piece, it has a history. My dad was a rock-hound and amateur jeweler, like his dad. I have crafting genes on both sides of my family!
The other wrap bracelet I made, of green glass beads, was made using a different type of beading cord that comes with a needle already attached.
I liked the idea of the green thread being a part of the design, but after struggling with that one and comparing the two finished bracelets, I prefer the look of the coral bracelet, where the thread matches the leather. If you like the look of the colored thread, Nymo comes in different colors, though it is thinner than the green cord pictured here.
One of the biggest challenges was the length of it. I finally cut it shorter but than had to find another needle. I’m not happy with how visible the knots are with this cord and it was much slower going because it got twisted and tangled easily.
I don’t recommend using this cord for this project. Get Nymo! It was so much easier to work with. The right supplies really make a big difference.
Thank you for the visit.